NEWS2019ELECTION 23/4/2019. DAY 13 Opposition Leader Bill Shorten holding a press conference at Smit Lamnalco with Local labor candidate Zac Beers visiting Gladstone Port in Gladstone, QLD. Picture Kym Smith
NEWS2019ELECTION 23/4/2019. DAY 13 Opposition Leader Bill Shorten holding a press conference at Smit Lamnalco with Local labor candidate Zac Beers visiting Gladstone Port in Gladstone, QLD. Picture Kym Smith

Revealed: What went wrong for Labor in Flynn

PAULINE Hanson, an anti-industry sentiment and Bill Shorten's high-profile run-in with a Gladstone Ports Corporation contractor all played a part in Labor's defeat in Flynn, the election post-mortem found.

Labor's scathing review released yesterday blamed its federal election loss on having an "unpopular leader" in Bill Shorten and a "cluttered" policy agenda.

In Flynn, a must-win seat for the May 18 election, the party's second-time candidate Zac Beers suffered a 7.6 per cent swing against him as voters sent a clear message about coal, industry and franking credits.

Similar swings were seen in other regional Queensland seats, with Labor winning just 20 per cent of seats in the sunshine state.

The review identified Mr Shorten's response to a Gladstone Ports Corporation contractor who asked for tax relief for high-income earners as one of the key election moments.

Labor had already outlined a policy to restore the two per cent deficit levy for incomes over $180,000, but Mr Shorten replied to the worker "we're going to look at that".

It said the slip-up further fuelled the "shifty Shorten" narrative.

NEWS2019ELECTION 23/4/2019. DAY 13 Opposition Leader Bill Shorten talking to workers at GPC with Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Minter for Immigration, Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Trade, Investment, Resources and Northern Australia, Jason Clare and Labor candidate for Flynn, Zac Beers at Gladstone Port in QLD. Picture Kym Smith
NEWS2019ELECTION 23/4/2019. DAY 13 Opposition Leader Bill Shorten talking to workers at GPC with Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Minter for Immigration, Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Trade, Investment, Resources and Northern Australia, Jason Clare and Labor candidate for Flynn, Zac Beers at Gladstone Port in QLD. Picture Kym Smith

Flynn voters showed the biggest support for Pauline Hanson's One Nation in Queensland, with candidate Sharon Lohse bagging 19.6 per cent of first preferences.

The review, conducted by Craig Emerson and Jay Weatherill, found the swings against Labor were exacerbated by One Nation preferences in Flynn, Capricornia and Dawson. It found losses at the three seats were also caused by blue-collar workers rejecting the party. "Labor's position on Adani sent a message to workers and their families in central and north Queensland that Labor did not value them or the work they do," it said.

Among the 26 recommendations was for Labor to drop its "divisive" rhetoric, including references to the "big end of town".

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Labor's policies went against the "working class".

Mr Butcher said Mr Beers, who relocated to Brisbane after the election for a position with Queensland Labor, "could not have run a better campaign".

 

State Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher helping out at the booth with ALP candidate for Flynn Zac Beers
State Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher helping out at the booth with ALP candidate for Flynn Zac Beers

 

"Zac knocked on that many doors, he was everywhere and he was very articulate," he said.

Ahead of the October 2020 state election, Mr Butcher said there were lessons to be learnt. "People want a simple message," he said. "People didn't understand what Federal Labor's policies were and once you get to that point you're in trouble."

Yesterday Mr Shorten said he accepted responsibility for the policies taken to the election.

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



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