Labor leader Bill Shorten has heaped praise on his new deputy Tanya Plibersek, describing her as a "remarkable Australian" who has achieved many reforms as an MP and former minister.

Ms Plibersek was elected deputy Labor leader at a caucus meeting in Canberra on Monday, a day after Mr Shorten won the party's historic rank and file and caucus vote for the leader.

"She is a remarkable Australian," Mr Shorten told reporters.

"Not only is she a respected member of caucus, not only does she have a distinguished record as of public service as the member for Sydney, but also most recently as the minister for health.

"But she reflects the Australian story. She's the daughter of Slovenian migrants. Her father helped build the iconic Snowy Hydro scheme, along with thousands of others."

Ms Plibersek had "spoken up on many issues", he said.

"And achieved many reforms for people around Australia."

Ms Plibersek vowed to defend the legacy of the Rudd and Gillard governments, explain Labor's vision for the future and continue to help rebuild the party.

"I'll endeavour to do my best by my colleagues," she told reporters.

Mr Shorten said the shadow ministry would include six new frontbenchers: Andrew Leigh, Shayne Neumann, Michelle Rowland, Doug Cameron, Claire Moore and David Feeney.

There will be 11 women shadow ministers.

When asked what standards he expected of his team, Mr Shorten said he would have "zero tolerance for disunity".

"But beyond that we have a great team and I'm very excited by the diversity and excited about the depth of talent," he said.

"It is a big rebuilding job for Labor to rebuild the confidence of people who've stopped voting for us."

Asked about those who missed out on a frontbench position, he said: "I also believe we have more talented people than 30".

"So of course there is always disappointment.

"But I am encouraged by the absence of rancour, but the spirit of unity."