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ALP Releases 2013 Election Campaign Review

The ALP has released a review of the party’s losing 2013 federal election campaign.

The 25-page review was conducted by Brisbane City Councillor Milton Dick and Victorian Labor MP Jane Garrett.

The report confirms that the ALP’s internal research in May 2013 “indicated possible swings against us of 18 per cent in many seats which would have seen us hold just 40 seats, not the 55 we retained”. Following the return of Rudd, the party’s two-party-preferred vote “crept from the mid-40s to the high 40s, breaking even at the start of July, although sustaining this vote proved hard”.

The reports says that the change of leadership from Julia Gillard to Kevin Rudd profoundly impacted the campaign strategy and infrastructure. “We know the single biggest reason voters turned away from Labor was internal Party disunity,” they say. Half of the campaign team in Campaign Headquarters left after Gillard was deposed and some sitting members chose not to run. “The infrastructure of the campaign had to be rebuilt in a matter of weeks.”

The review recommends early selection of candidates in marginal seats and the training and establishment of field operations. It calls for a new candidate selection panel to work with local communities to assist with identifying new candidates.

The review is critical of the use of overseas consultants which it says “did not add significant value and in some cases was disruptive”. In recommending that “responsibility for final decision-making must lie with the Campaign Director”, the review seems to be critical of the role played by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his campaign strategist, Bruce Hawker.

The report says the pre-selection of Geoff Lake as the candidate for Hotham should be referred to the Victorian branch for “investigation and action”. The preselection of Lake, a Monash City Councillor, was terminated following media reports of his altercations with another councillor ten years earlier.

Text of an ALP Media release.

Review of the 2013 Election

Federal ALP Vice-President, Jane Garrett MP and Brisbane City Council Opposition Leader, Cr Milton Dick today released their review of the 2013 Federal Election.

The review received more than 550 submissions from across Australia and held forums and interviews in every state and territory.

“The 2013 election was one of the toughest in the history of the Labor Party,” Cr Dick said.

“There’s been extensive commentary about why we lost. There are lessons to be learned and improvements we can make – and that’s what this review sought to achieve.

“Branch Members, MPs & Senators, and campaigners from across the country told us they want Labor to be unified, connected and engaged.

“We need policies that reflect Labor values and modern Australia and they’re being developed through national policy forum process.

“The direct election of the Federal Labor Leader for the first time has created a renewed sense of purpose and excitement in the Party.

“For members of the Labor Party, it’s incredibly tough watching Tony Abbott tear at the things that make Australia so great – universal health care, decent funding for hospitals and schools, support for people on low incomes and decent working conditions.

“We found the members we spoke to are determined to put Labor in the best possible electoral position to win the 2016 election.

“No one underestimates the monumental size of this task.”

“We have delivered recommendations to help build an army of campaign volunteers and new community candidates to help us win the 2016 election,” said Ms Garrett.

“One of the consistent messages throughout the Review from ALP Branch members was the need to find people that are connected in their local area who we can identify early on as potential candidates, especially in marginal seats.

“We recommend that a Candidate Selection Panel to work with local communities be established to help find potential new candidates across Australia who might not normally be engaged in the pre-selection process.

“Identifying and selecting candidates and setting them up with a comprehensive field team as soon as possible will be crucial to winning in 2016,” said Ms Garrett.

Key recommendations from the Review include:

  • The selection of Marginal Candidates to be undertaken as soon as possible.
  • The training and establishment of field operations be established as soon as possible across Australia.
  • A new Candidate selection panel be established to work with local communities to assist with identifying new candidates.
  • A new Pre-poll Campaign be developed.

“We believe these recommendations together with the leadership and drive of Bill Shorten, the Labor Party can win the next Federal election and reach our goal of 100,000 party members,” said Ms Garrett.

The review was released after being presented to the ALP’s National Executive today.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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