Former Labor leader Bill Shorten has declared he takes responsibility for the party’s shock election loss, and that he holds no resentment about the result.
In his first broadcast interview since the May 18 federal election result, Mr Shorten said the ALP needed to heed the lessons from voters, and he accepted his responsibility for the outcome.
“It was very disappointing. Just plainly, very disappointing, and disappointing for me, and I think disappointing for a lot of people, but nonetheless it has happened. That’s the democracy,” he told ABC TV.
“As I said on the night, the people have expressed their view, so we need to move on and be the best possible opposition. It’s a privilege to serve in Parliament. I understand that and I have still got the fire for Parliament and making sure that we work as a united team.
“The party is going to have a review and we will see what comes out of that. But, in the meantime, I am very grateful to the united team who supported me for the success and the millions of people who voted for Labor. We will learn the lessons and be a very diligent and united opposition.”
In his first speech to the ALP caucus after the defeat, the former opposition leader blamed “corporate leviathans” for their role in the loss – a reference interpreted as referring to Clive Palmer and News Corp publications.
Asked what sort of grieving process he had undergone after expecting to become prime minister after six years in opposition, Mr Shorten claimed it was done.
“It’s happened. What I have been able to do is reconnect with my family, and that is a silver lining,” he said.
“To the millions of Australians who voted Labor: Labor will still be a very determined opposition and we will still keep advocating our values that plenty of people wanted to vote for us. And we will have to learn our lessons, which is why the party is engaging in a very extensive review.”
Mr Shorten would not be drawn on what advice his wife, Chloe, had offered.
“She can speak for herself, as people know. She is a very capable lady … She put up with six years of being with me as opposition leader. I think she has got the right to speak for herself,” he said.
Asked if he took any personal responsibility, Mr Shorten said he did.
“That’s why I stood down, absolutely. You have to take some responsibility,” he said.
“I love being in politics. It’s a chance to make a difference. Part of a united team – I am very grateful to the voters in my electorate for giving me another term.
“The party is reviewing the whole election and what I am going to do is give time for that process to happen.”