Shorten blames loss on 'vested interests'

Bill Shorten blames 'corporate leviathans' and the media for Labor's election loss, saying hundreds of millions of dollars was spent spreading lies and fear.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten

Former leader Bill Shorten Source: AAP

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten has blamed "powerful vested interests" and the media for the opposition's federal election loss, saying they got what they wanted.

While new leader Anthony Albanese told Labor's first post-election caucus meeting that he accepts his share of responsibility for the loss, Mr Shorten pointed the blame at others.

"It is important that we take our time to reflect," Mr Shorten told the meeting on Thursday as the leadership was handed over to Mr Albanese.

"But obviously we were up against corporate leviathans, a financial behemoth, spending unprecedented hundreds of millions of dollars advertising, telling lies, spreading fear.

"They got what they wanted.

"Powerful vested interests campaigned against us through sections of the media itself, and they got what they wanted."

Mr Shorten, who will remain on Labor's front bench, said the party would continue to face this challenge leading up to the next election.

"It is important we face them with courage and honesty, with principle and unity."

Clive Palmer is understood to have spent at least $60 million on what the billionaire described as the "Shifty Shorten" campaign.

"Scott Morrison has been returned as prime minister and he's only done so because of the 3.5 per cent vote of United Australia Party," Mr Palmer said on election night, having failed to win any seats for his party.

Mr Albanese was also critical of the Palmer campaign.

"There's no doubt that if you spend tens of millions of dollars on a campaign, part of which is full pages (in newspapers) that are negative about Labor, that will have an impact," Mr Albanese told reporters in Canberra.

The News Corp stable of papers, as well as Nine's Australian Financial Review, editorialised in favour of a coalition government return, while The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Guardian backed Labor.

Mr Shorten declined to do interviews with a number of radio presenters including 3AW's Neil Mitchell and 2GB's Alan Jones, who in April described the former opposition leader as "toxic".

Mr Albanese has already appeared on Jones's program.

2 min read
Published 30 May 2019 at 4:30pm
Source: AAP