Bill Shorten has taken responsibility for Labor’s election loss. Picture: AAP/James Ross
Bill Shorten has taken responsibility for Labor’s election loss. Picture: AAP/James Ross

Two words that came back to bite Bill

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten today accepted captain's responsibility for election campaign mistakes in advance of the public release of an internal report into the failed ALP election bid.

But he pledged he would not leave Parliament and hoped to serve another two decades as an MP.

"There are many players on a team but as captain of that team I accept responsibility for the policies taken to the election," he tweeted today.

He said the review had not considered "the merit of those policies it is important the party does".



Mr Shorten in part regretted policy overload for the unexpected loss on May 18 and defended his own performance, as the report is expected to do.

"I note the review considered the relentless and unprecedented multimillion-dollar political attacks on me by (businessman Clive) Palmer and the Liberals successfully tarnished my public standing," Mr Shorten said.

"This is an important lesson for any future Labor leader to confront."

But there were two words in his tweet that were most telling: "franking credits".

Mr Shorten identified Labor's key policy of abolishing the controversial cash refunds for shareholders who don't pay tax as a key mistake.

"Were the universe to grant re-runs, I would campaign with fewer messages, more greatly emphasis on jobs opportunities in renewable energies, and take a different position on franking credits," Mr Shorten tweeted.

The argument that measures limiting climate change would have an employment dividend has been taken up by Mr Shorten's successor, Anthony Albanese.

Mr Shorten today said Labor should have entered a tax relief auction with the Coalition when the Morrison Government matched his.

But he urged the party not to relent on structural overhaul of the tax system.

"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."

And of his own future, Mr Shorten made clear he wanted to stay in Parliament and on the front bench.

"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," he said.

While declaring he was staying put, Mr Shorten used the statement to highlight his legacy as leader.

"It was my honour for six years to lead a driven Labor Party determined to make this great country even better, fairer and richer," he tweeted.

"I was proud to unite the party and lead the rebuilding efforts following the 2013 election where Labor won only 55 seats.

"In that time we saw off two Liberal prime ministers in Mr (Tony) Abbott and Mr (Malcolm) Turnbull, nearly snatched victory in 2016, and won a series of by-elections."

He said the May 18 result was a shock and a surprise but that Prime Minister Scott Morrison was vulnerable.

Why do you think Labor lost the election? Comment below

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