Labor ‘ignored Shorten’s plea for help’
FORMER Labor leader Bill Shorten urged the ALP to help him soften his image during the election campaign but was turned down, in one of several disagreements between the leader and the party that have emerged ahead of the release of a review into the election defeat.
The Weekend Australian reports that the review will say that Labor's campaign was poorly organised, contained confusing messages and unpopular policies, as well as an unconvincing advertising campaign.
Mr Shorten's personal unpopularity will also be highlighted as a key reason for Labor's shock defeat to Scott Morisson in May.
The post-election review will say the ALP should have worked harder to shield Mr Shorten against attacks from the Coalition on his character - even though Mr Shorten raised this as a campaign priority.
Mr Shorten wanted the ALP campaign to counter his low personal popularity with direct-to-camera advertising, but this was not supported.
Personal attacks against the then Opposition leader by Scott Morrison concerned Mr Shorten to the extent that he asked Labor national secretary Noah Carroll to respond with a negative advertising blitz on the Prime Minister. But the answer was no, The Weekend Australian reports.
Labor's six-person review team will meet in Canberra on Sunday to begin finalising the report.
According to The Weekend Australian, the review team will find that voters were confused by Labor's excessive campaign messages and they disliked the party's policies on taxation and climate change.
Labor's social media and advertising response to attacks on policies was ineffective and the campaign was poorly organised, with staff unclear about who was responsible for what during the campaign.
The review was ordered in the wake of Labor's disastrous result in May when it received a primary vote of just 33.3 per cent nationally, with especially poor outcomes in Queensland and Western Australia.
Labor's six-person review team will meet in Canberra on Sunday to begin finalising the report as the party debates what its policy agenda should look like under new leader Anthony Albanese - especially on climate change and emissions targets, an issue dividing the party.
Although the party ran a limited "soft" advertising campaign featuring Mr Shorten, his wife Chloe and their family, the former leader thought there should be more of this.
But the campaign team pushed on with highlighting Labor's positive policy agenda rather than tackling Mr Shorten's electoral unpopularity head on.
Yet the situation was dire: despite a mild popularity increase during the campaign, analysis of Newspoll results shows Mr Shorten had a negative net satisfaction rating for more than four years - worse than any other opposition leader.
A senior campaign source told The Weekend Australian that Mr Shorten's popularity was not the main reason the party lost; it was because it had too many policies and failed to defend them against a scare campaign.
This article is based on a report published in The Weekend Australian.