Labor still confused as hell about why it lost

Via The Australian:

A confidential submission to the party’s post-election review from the Labor Environment ­Action Network, obtained by The Australian, expresses “anger and disappointment”, and also “grief”, over the party’s failure to win what was expected to be an unlosable election. The submission is brutal about policy, political and leadership failures.

“Labor was unable to put a price on its climate change action plan,” a LEAN member says in the submission. “It couldn’t say how much it would cost, where the money was coming from or what economic dividend it would deliver or save. It is basic Australian politics — how much, who pays, what does it save. We had no answers.”

…LEAN has called for Labor to reconsider its “specific climate change policies” and how they are communicated, but warns “the party cannot ignore and must ­address the issue of expanding fossil fuel export industries”.

Labor’s franking credits policy, its wishy-washy stance over the Adani coalmine and its failure to “listen to the workers” are ­identified as additional reasons for its loss.

…“LEAN members … felt we had many, many good and great ­policies but our narrative around them was problematic,” says the submission drafted by co-conveners David Tierney and Felicity Wade.

“Creating a narrative that connects with voters was ­identified as most important to win an election.”

Given Labor lost the election in QLD, does this explanation stack up? Was it the failure to articulate numbers around climate change that pushed QLDers towards the nationalist parties that handed ScoMo victory?

Perhaps at the margin, in so far as central QLDers may have uncertain about coal’s future, but I can’t see it as the defining issue. It barely rated in the election debates. Besides, the QLDers that didn’t vote Labor, didn’t vote Coalition, either, and it had a very clear climate change forever platform.

Fundamentally we have to come back to what QLDers voted for to understand what Labor lacked and that was:

  • economic nationalism;
  • less progressive globalism;
  • less immigration.

These things may not be in the natural wheelhouse of today’s Labor latte-sippers, but they do not need to be viewed as disastrous for the left. Indeed, the left can claim strong traditions in each, celebrating local industry, working class culture and ending the class war on weaker wages, higher asset prices and declining public services embedded in the mass immigration economic model.

The problem is not history or ideology, it is that Labor does not seem to have anybody that can see it.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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