LABOR erred when it walked from its legacy after losing the 1996 election and should not make the same mistake again, Anthony Albanese says.
Mr Albanese and Bill Shorten emerged yesterday as the frontrunners to replace Kevin Rudd as Labor leader, although they remained undecided whether they would stand.
Both men agreed that regardless of who led the ALP the internal fighting of the past three years had to end.
Speaking on Meet The Press Mr Albanese said he would consider his position, but vowed to take the fight up to the Coalition.
"My ambition has never been for myself, it's been for the country," Mr Albanese said.
"I didn't think about post scenarios, there's time to do that now."
He said Labor had a "mandate" to defend its legacy on issues like the National Broadband Network, National Disability Insurance Scheme and carbon pricing.
"That's what I do. I'll argue Labor's cause in a passionate way," Mr Albanese said.
"I was elected after 1996. One of the mistakes I think we made was to walk away from some of Labor's legacy in terms of the Hawke/Keating government," he said.
"I believe history will judge the Rudd and Gillard periods very favourably, particularly our economic record."
He said Mr Shorten would make a "a good Labor leader", adding he would be loyal to whoever the caucus elected.
It was a sentiment Mr Shorten reciprocated, describing Mr Albanese as a "remarkable politician".
Mr Shorten , the former workplace relations minister, said he had not "resolved" whether he would put his name forward for the leadership.
"I am genuinely undecided and I've got a couple of criteria," Mr Shorten said on Insiders.
"One is my family - I've been away from them a great deal. So a decision of this importance I have to talk to them.
"In addition, the party is bigger than an individual. I know that there's a lot of very good people who are interested in getting this rebuilding process right from day one."
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.