Bill Shorten admits Labor’s mistakes on tax cuts, franking credits


“In 2018 I presided over a bigger tax cut plan than the Liberals for ten million working Australians but I concede, with hindsight, when they matched ours we should have gone bigger again.”

“Our great party must focus on addressing the structural and base issues that parties of labour around the world are facing so we can win the next election.”

“I’m personally committed to continue contributing in public life, serving my constituents, the people of Australia – including people with disabilities and the vulnerable – for the next 20 years.”

The statement about the next 20 years answers those who questioned whether Mr Shorten would stay in Parliament after he relinquished the leadership and was replaced by Anthony Albanese, who gained the leadership uncontested.

The statement about the next 20 years answers those who questioned whether Mr Shorten would stay in Parliament after he relinquished the leadership and was replaced by Anthony Albanese, who gained the leadership uncontested.

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The election review, led by former South Australian premier Jay Weatherill and former federal cabinet minister Craig Emerson, is said to blame Mr Shorten for some of the election loss while also warning about wider problems with tactics, strategy and policy.

Mr Shorten did not say how he would have adjusted the franking credits policy but his comments are another sign the proposal to raise $56 billion in tax revenue over ten years will be heavily amended or dropped.

Former Labor treasury spokesman Chris Bowen, who now holds the health portfolio, also acknowledged the need to review the franking credits policy in an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“I had a view that it was ripe for reform, but I also have the view that you fight the 2022 election not the 2019 election, so that’s something that will need to be dealt with. There are all sorts of options available,” Mr Bowen said.

The scale of the criticism of Mr Shorten is a source of division within the Labor caucus, with his supporters warning against any attempt to “scapegoat” him while his critics argue he should accept significant responsibility for the failure.

There were also divisions in the Victorian Right on Wednesday night over the way the review is being released, with Mr Weatherill and Dr Emerson handing it to the party’s national executive for a relatively short period on Thursday morning before releasing the document to the public hours later.

Mr Shorten noted the review considered the “relentless and unprecedented” politics attacks he incurred from mining magnate Clive Palmer and the United Australia Party.

“There are many players on a team but as captain of that team I accept responsibility for the policies taken to the election,” Mr Shorten said.

“But we must learn the lessons of defeat. And while the review has not considered or reviewed the merit of those policies it is important that the party does.”

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