Albanese concedes: ‘We got our messaging wrong’

Mr Albanese in Launceston on Monday, with Labor's defeated candidate for Bass, Ross Hart.

Mr Albanese in Launceston on Monday, with Labor's defeated candidate for Bass, Ross Hart. Photo: AAP

Anthony Albanese has blamed the “retirees tax” scare campaign for being a big factor in Labor’s election loss, laying the groundwork to scrap the policy.

As he continued his national “listening tour” in Tasmania on Monday, talking to voters about what went wrong during the election campaign, the new Opposition Leader has repeatedly raised the backlash from seniors to Labor’s policies.

“Quite clearly, the dividend imputation issue hurt us here,” Mr Albanese said.

“From people both who were affected but, importantly also, from people who weren’t but who thought they might be.

“I think, frankly, we got some of our messaging wrong and we have to concede that. There’s no point looking at the scoreboard after the match and blaming the umpire or blaming the conditions on the ground. You have to actually accept the outcome and talk with people and ensure that we can do better.”

Labor has made no announcements yet about whether it will scrap the franking credits policy entirely, or cap or grandfather the scheme.

If it won government, Labor had planned to save the budget $60 billion in the next decade from dividend imputation changes – or about $6 billion a year. It argued that 94 per cent of seniors were unaffected by its policy and pensioners were exempt, unless they have an self managed super fund.

The amount is double the 10-year projection from scrapping negative gearing, which would have saved the budget about $30 billion.

Any decision to cap the refunds would dramatically reduce the value of the reforms to budget repair and leave the ALP vulnerable to a “thin edge of the wedge” argument.”

Labor lost two seats in Tasmania at the election: The Liberals’ Bridget Archer claimed Bass from Labor’s Ross Hart, and Gavin Pearce won Braddon from Labor incumbent Justine Keay.

Asked if the party’s climate change policy was now “dead and buried” or if negative gearing was off the table, Mr Albanese said Labor’s values remained the same.

“Specific policies are up for debate but values aren’t. And one of the values is that we do have to listen to science on climate change,” he said.

“We can’t just pretend that it’s not happening and we can’t pretend that we don’t have a responsibility to act.”

Labor’s new treasury spokesman, Jim Chalmers, backed Mr Albanese’s comments.

“Obviously, we need to listen and learn from the election result 16 days ago. We’d be mad not to,” he said.

“We need to work out which ones we’ll keep, which ones we’ll ditch and which ones we can improve upon. That’s entirely normal.

“When you think that the election was only 16 days ago and we might have 1000 days or so, give or take until the next election, I think it’s fair enough that we take our time to do all of that.”

“I think that there’s an issue in the budget, in that we do have a range of tax concessions that cost the budget a lot of money, and that comes at the expense of investment in other areas.”

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