Six months after the Australian Labor Party lost what was widely regarded as an unlosable election, the party released its internal review of the defeat. The document refuses to face the real reasons for the catastrophe, while proposing a potentially disastrous shift to the right.
In answering the question “why did Labor lose?,” Craig Emerson and Jay Weatherill’s election reviewpoints to three main failings: weak strategy, poor adaptability, and an unpopular leader.
No one will dispute Bill Shorten’s relentless unpopularity. It’s also true that widespread confidence in a Labor victory lulled the party into complacency, partly explaining the failure to develop a united strategy or basic infrastructure, like campaign committees, that can sustain flexibility.
Yet while superficially true, these findings prioritize conflict avoidance over reality. Worse, by endorsing the Australian Labor Party (ALP) leadership’s tilt to the right, their proposals threaten to accelerate the party’s decades-long war against its social base.