STATEMENT ON ELECTION RESULT

 On behalf of the Australian Labor Party I would like to thank all our Party members and supporters for their hard work and dedication during the election campaign.

The result is deeply disappointing and our Party has a responsibility to analyse the result and to respond maturely.

Attributing blame or fault to any particular individual or policy is not the way ahead.

Every political party which suffers a defeat learns one lesson and that is to listen even more carefully.

In light of this result we need to examine our policy framework and our campaign strategies.

Having a respectful and intelligent conversation with the Australian people has in the past shown Australia the best of Labor.  We need to make sure we do that,  reconnect where we’ve lost touch and cement the bonds that are the foundation of our great Party.

This result also has implications for the future of our democracy. A $60 million spend by a conservative-aligned billionaire in a preference recycling scheme for the Liberal and National Party cannot be allowed to stand.

We can’t allow our country to become a cheque-book democracy.

The characterisation of the Labor policy agenda as radical says more about the state of conservative politics in Australia than it does about Labor.  There is no world in which Labor won’t stand for fair wages, a fair go, enhancing equality of opportunity and tackling dangerous climate change. 

This policy framework was demonised by our political opponents, and yet these are all issues Australia will have to confront, and soon. 

We owe it to our supporters and future generations of Australians to find a politics that connects the people with these urgent challenges. 

Despair for those who love our country and are committed to a fairer society is not an option.  Millions of Australians depend on Labor to be an effective political force as we were poignantly reminded through the death of Bob Hawke.  He taught us that Australia is at its best when we don’t fear the future. The biggest risks to this country’s future today are growing inequality and climate change denial.

We acknowledge the extraordinary service to our Party of Bill Shorten over six deeply challenging years.  We are all proud of the role he has played in reuniting our Party and refreshing our policy agenda, and I am pleased he will continue to serve in the Parliament.

The Party has got to dust itself off, rethink and reorganise.  

SUNDAY, 19 MAY 2019