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"Vested interests" helped sink Labor victory: Albanese


New Labor leader Anthony Albanese agrees with his predecessor that “vested interests” had a hand in the party’s shock federal election defeat.

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“There is no doubt that vested interests did play a role,” he told Nine’s Today program on Friday.

“But we also have to accept our responsibility that some of the policies that we put forward clearly didn’t connect with enough people.”

When ex-leader Bill Shorten fronted caucus in Canberra on Thursday to tell MPs why the campaign he led had failed, he pointed to opponents telling lies about his policies.

“Obviously we were up against corporate leviathans, a financial behemoth, spending unprecedented hundreds of millions of dollars advertising, telling lies, spreading fear,” he said.

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

Liberal frontbencher Simon Birmingham said Shorten was “delusional” and cautioned Albanese against adding the ex-leader to his shadow cabinet.

“You might forgive a bit of bitterness but he doesn’t seem to understand or have heard any of the messages … that there were policy failures at the heart of why the Labor Party lost the election,” the South Australian senator told Today.

Birmingham then pointed to the Liberal Party’s own negative experience in having former leaders – like Tony Abbott – in the parliament, saying “things are smoother, perhaps when you don’t have some of those former leaders”.

Albanese is preparing to allocate portfolios for his shadow ministry, which is expected to be announced over the weekend, after caucus approved the MPs who will make up the new frontbench.

The shadow cabinet and outer shadow ministry has 16 members from the Right, and 14 from the Left.

Factional deals and personal sacrifices have been made, with NSW MP Ed Husic and SA senator Don Farrell making way for NSW senator Kristina Keneally.

The former NSW premier will become Penny Wong’s deputy in the Senate after Farrell stepped aside for her. She will also be on the frontbench after Husic withdrew.

Shorten and his former deputy Tanya Plibersek will remain on the frontbench, while non-aligned MP and former finance spokesman Andrew Leigh has been dumped.

Albanese’s deputy will be Victorian MP Richard Marles, who will be tasked with ensuring Labor can broaden the appeal of its policies.


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