Bill Shorten addressed the Labor caucus this afternoon as the outgoing Labor leader. The Labor caucus was meeting for the first time in Canberra since their election defeat and was their first meeting under new leader Anthony Albanese and new Deputy Richard Marles.
There hasn’t been much indication that Labor has learned any lessons from their defeat or accepted that the voters rejected their signature policies such as the franking credit reductions, ending negative gearing, supporting a 50% renewable energy target and being ambivalent on the Adani coal mine in Queensland.
Labor frontbenches, when asked about coal and climate change, have regurgitated Bill Shorten’s line “that coal will continue to play an important part of Australia’s energy mix”.
Shorten in his outgoing address appeared to demonstrate he had learned nothing from the defeat blaming “powerful vested interests [that] campaigned against us. Through sections of the media itself, and they got what they wanted” claiming that “We were up against corporate leviathans, financial behemoths, spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling lies, spreading fear”.
Obviously Shorten has forgotten that Labor had their own vested interests at their disposal with the resources of the trade union movement, GetUp, and renewable energy investment industry. Shorten also forgot that in 2016 Labor ran their own fear campaign on the Mediscare lie.
Outgoing Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek the day after the election on ABC Insiders blamed the election loss on voters not understanding their policies and how they were beneficial. Even though they had been released months before the election. Plibersek also claimed the election was “probably the dirtiest and the most negative in my 20 years of politics”.
Anthony Albanese has the new leader has promised to go on a listening to tour around Australia, as if they didn’t hear the message from the Australia people about their policies on election night. Liberal MP and new Parliamentary Secretary Ben Morton has said that Labor only goes on a listening tour with “earmuffs” on.
Albanese is still yet to finalize his shadow ministry which has seen internal Labor factional infighting resume and despite its boasting of a 50% female MP quota has found it difficult to accommodate women in their senior positions.
Labor’s main problem is its grassroots has gone so far to the left that any move to the centre risks alienating their new member base. Plus the Greens have already threatened that any watering down of Labor’s climate policies they will launch a more aggressive assault on Labor’s inner city seats.
While Albanese is correct in understanding that if Labor goes to the next election with the same policies it will get the same election result. Whether the Labor party lets Albanese take different policies to the next election or will continue to blame outside forces for their loss, or the public not understanding their great policies are the questions going forward.