Labor frontbencher Mark Butler has endorsed a “ruthless” review of the ALP platform after the party’s defeat by Scott Morrison’s self-described “Muppet Show” of a government.
Describing the election as like having your “backside handed to you by Fozzie the Bear and Kermit the Frog,” Mr Butler said now was the time for a tough an uncensored debate on the election result.
His speech is being widely interpreted as a slapdown of the ALP President Wayne Swan’s call for the party to not resile from the tax policies of negative gearing and franking credit reform it took to the election.
“When you get your backside handed to you by Fozzie Bear and Kermit the Frog, it’s time for some serious reflection,” Mr Butler said.
“Every federal election is monumentally tough for Labor and 2022 will be no different. That’s why our policy and campaign review must be ruthless and unsparing.”
Mr Butler delivered his speech in Canberra at the launch on a new book, Story of our Country by Labor historian Adrian Pabst.
On Friday night, Mr Swan launched the same book in Sydney arguing Labor should not rush to junk the agenda.
“This is an agenda to be proud of, not resile from, after a narrow loss,” Mr Swan said. “There is an old saying that has never lost its good sense: pay tax, buy civilisation,” Mr Swan said.
“Sometimes you’ve got to take one for history and maybe, in a sense, we did that in May.”
Mr Butler is regarded as one of Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s closest confidantes in politics and a good indication of where his thinking may lie.
“Nothing should be excluded or treated as sacrosanct,” Mr Butler said.
“The area I had responsibility for — climate change and energy — must be part of that thorough examination.
“As should all of our taxation policies and the spending commitments they were directed at funding.”
Mr Butler said the time had arrived for tough discussions
“If we can’t have a full-throated discussion about our direction now,
when on earth would we,” Mr Butler asked.
“We just lost our third election in a row. The only majority we’ve won in the past 25 years was the majority of 8 seats in 2007. And let’s not sugar coat the result in May.”