Liberals’ election review lays out urgent action needed to rebuild from ‘historic’ loss

A post-election review from the Liberal Party has blamed Covid-19, Scott Morrison’s unpopularity, poor perceptions among women and the Teal independents for the Coalition’s electoral defeat.

Authored by former federal director Brian Loughnane and senator Jane Hume, the report describes the election results as the “most serious loss for the Party in its history”.

“Put simply, by the time of the election, the Coalition had lost control of its brand, with the parties and their leaders being defined in the public’s mind by our opponents,” the pair wrote.

“The Prime Minister and the Party were seen as ‘out of touch’”.

Chiefly, the review notes “particularly” poor performance among women voters, who flocked away from the Party to Labor and the Teals more than any other demographic.

Voters, they said, felt the Party was failing to represent the “values and priorities” of modern women.

A raft of suggestions was put forward to address this, including a target for equal representation in the next 10 years and improving gender diversity in leadership.

But they stopped short of saying these targets should be mandated.

Despite internal polling improving by 3-4 per cent during the campaign, the reviewers found the Party was weighed down by a “lack of a clear forward agenda”.

This was blamed on Covid sapping the attention of Party leadership, leaving them slow to appreciate political developments and respond accordingly.

The reviewers claimed the introduction of the national cabinet “corroded” the political standing of Mr Morrison and the Government.

“The leadership choice between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese became the most influential driver of voting intention,” they wrote.

Mr Loughnane and Senator Hume said the “so-called” Teal independents had left the party fighting on two fronts.

“The Teals are not a collection of independent entities,” they said.

“This naturally also compromised the Party’s ability to campaign with a single national message.”

Concluding the report, released on Thursday, were 49 “major and urgent” recommendations needed to “quickly rebuild” the party.

“The Liberal Party must therefore be in the strongest possible position, as quickly as possible, to present a clear alternative at the next election,” they wrote.

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