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Shorten failed to market a complex and top-heavy reform program

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Let’s not dissemble. This is a terrible result for the Australian Labor Party. It rivals its worst electoral defeats historically.


This includes the 1966 Vietnam election drubbing in which the party ended up with 41 seats in the 124-seat parliament.

It recalls the 1975 rejection of the Gough Whitlam experiment.

It reminds us of Ben Chifley’s loss to Robert Menzies in 1949 on the bank nationalisation issue. This heralded 23 years of uninterrupted conservative rule.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and wife Jenny speak to the media as they arrive at the Horizon Church in Sutherland, Sydney, on Sunday.Credit:Joel Carrett/AAP

In some ways, this election defeat is worse for Labor than the others.

On this occasion, Labor expected to prevail. The opinion polls and betting markets forecast a Labor win. The media had, overwhelmingly, predicted Labor success.

Political journalists began tiptoeing, and, in some cases, rushing un-edifyingly, to embrace those whom they believed would be occupying the great offices of state in articles that praised their sagacity.

Then on election night a flimsy Labor edifice built on shifting and shifty foundations of an unpopular leader marketing a big-target set of tax policies came crashing down.


This was, and is, a debacle. Why?

In the post-mortems that Labor will conduct into this catastrophe two questions will be........

© The Age