Anthony Albanese is back in the winner's room. He doesn't want to leave

Anthony Albanese addressed his colleagues inside the Labor caucus room on Tuesday morning. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Anthony Albanese addressed his colleagues inside the Labor caucus room on Tuesday morning. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Just 165 metres separates the near identical rooms where opposition and government MPs gather inside Parliament House.

But there's a world of difference between them, particularly after an election and even more so when there's been a change of government.

Just ask the Coalition MPs - like Scott Morrison - who on Monday morning traipsed into the opposition's room after a near decade at the other end of the hallway.

Anthony Albanese has been in the Federal Parliament for nearly 26 years.

For about 20 of those he's sat in the room reserved for election losers, part of an opposition fighting for relevance or just fighting itself.

The new prime minister returned triumphantly to the winner's chambers just after 11am on Tuesday morning, declaring he had no intention of returning to the other side of the corridor.

"You've really struck gold," Albanese joked to his large band of newly-elected MPs, who haven't had to endure the struggle of opposition before becoming part of a government.

A triumphant Anthony Albanese enters the Labor caucus on Tuesday morning. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

A triumphant Anthony Albanese enters the Labor caucus on Tuesday morning. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

"Opposition is not fun at all, so enjoy being part of the government that can make a difference."

The sense of jubilation was palpable inside the Labor caucus room. These scenes are rare in politics; a burst of unbridled joy and optimism before the responsibility and grind of governing truly begins.

Labor caucus chair Sharon Claydon played the role of MC, introducing the new MPs one-by-one to the continuous, rapturous applause of their colleagues.

The loudest cheers and hoots were reserved for those who had captured Liberal seats, including Sally Sitou in Reid, Jerome Laxale in Bennelong and Michelle Ananda-Rajah in Higgins.

Albanese beamed like a proud father as he stood alongside his "newbies" as they signed their names into the Labor caucus book.

This was the Labor family at its happiest and most united.

Of course, it hasn't always been thus.

Labor welcomed a host of new MPs - including Sam Lim (far right) - to its caucus on Tuesday morning. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

Labor welcomed a host of new MPs - including Sam Lim (far right) - to its caucus on Tuesday morning. Picture: Elesa Kurtz

The last time Labor was in power it tore itself to pieces, knifing two prime ministers before it was brutally turfed from office in 2013.

Albanese and many of his senior frontbench colleagues had a front row seat to the chaos of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. There is no appetite for a sequel.

In a pointed message to his colleagues old and new on Tuesday morning, Albanese said the discipline which Labor maintained in the wilderness of opposition was among the reasons its caucus is now sitting on this side of the hallway.

"Getting from opposition is hard," he said.

"Sometimes the Labor Party looks at ourselves, rather than looks outwards. We looked outward for the [past] three years."

The avid South Sydney Rabbitohs fan is already speaking about winning "back-to-back premierships" and governing beyond the middle of this decade.

To entrench reforms and change the country, Albanese says, Labor needs more than three years.

Likely to govern with only slim majority and facing stiff economic headwinds, Albanese is preaching unity.

He knows that without it, Labor might find itself back at the other end of the hallway.

This story 'You've struck gold': Labor is back in the winner's rooms first appeared on The Canberra Times.