SENATOR THE HON KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
FRIDAY, 8 NOVEMBER 2019
SUBJECT: ALP campaign review.
DAVID KOCH, HOST: It was the unlosable election that Labor lost. Now the ALP has released a soul-searching review into its embarrassing defeat. Now the Party’s listed Bill Shorten's unpopularity as one reasons for the shock result but the review also blames an unclear message and a weak strategy. It recommends Labor stick to its core values, focus on job creation and engage more with working class people and faith groups. So has the Party learnt from its mistakes? Joining me now is the ALP's Deputy Leader in the Senate Kristina Keneally. Kristina, good to see you.
KRISTINA KENEALLY, DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE: Good to be here.
KOCH: The thing I took out of this review is you got too cocky in the lead up to the election. Overcomplicated it.
KENEALLY: Well the review – can I say Jay Weatherill and Craig Emerson did a great job with this review – it is searing, it is honest, it’s difficult reading for Labor members and supporters but it needs to be read and understood. It does make the point that a lot of people, both within the Party and outside, quote, “banked and the win” and therefore didn't campaign to win. To me that is the great take-out of this. The election campaign was something we had to win and we simply failed to do it and the review lays bare the reasons why.
KOCH: There are times when it got so complicated; all the things you wanted to do – negative gearing, franking credits, la da da. And I remember one moment when, and I think it was on Sunrise, and we put that to Chris Bowen and he goes if you don't like our policies, don't vote for us. Which I thought was a really unusual response and voters said “okay we won’t”.
KENEALLY: You know one of the candidates said to me they were struggling at times for themselves to keep all the policies straight and it occurred to them, “if I can’t do it as a candidate, how are the public actually receiving all of this information?” And I think the review does make that clear; it was a complex set of messages, a lack of strategy that really drove the outcome on the 18th May. Look, going forward, and I think you'll see from Anthony Albanese today at the National Press Club and over the coming weeks and months, him laying out a way forward to be clear about how we are going to learn from this review, refine our policy offering, and prepare ourselves for the next election.
KOCH: So what does Labor stand for? That seemed to be the message that was lost. You alienated the traditional almost working class Australians, and then also the richer Australians as well.
KENEALLY: Well the review weirdly makes the observation, and I say weird because it's kind of contrary to what you would have thought, that higher income groups actually moved to the Labor Party. Labor though always has been and always will be the Party that is about secure jobs, good wages and a fair opportunity for Australians. Unfortunately in this last campaign we allowed ourselves to be portrayed as the opponent of those things, not the champion of them. When Anthony talks about how our values do not change, that’s what he means. What this review tells us is that our messaging, our policy offering, and our failure to campaign in the digital space, really did allow our policy offering to be weaponised against us and we didn't campaign effectively, explaining what we wanted to do.
KOCH: It's a good, as you say, line in the sand, put the election behind you and move on as a Party.
KENEALLY: And that’s what you’ll see today from Anthony today going forward.
KOCH: Good. Good to see you.