Anthony Albanese to try and turn page on election loss amid unrest from Shorten camp

Katharine Murphy Political editor
Photograph: Richard Wainwright/AAP

Anthony Albanese will attempt to draw a line over Labor’s internal post-mortems and recriminations about the May election loss with a speech to the National Press Club responding to the key findings of Labor’s campaign review.

The Labor leader will appear before the press club on Friday as the Shorten camp remains unhappy with Jay Weatherill and Craig Emerson’s decision to foreground the former leader’s lack of popularity as one of the factors behind the election defeat.

While the campaign review was generally well received within Labor ranks as a solid and constructive bit of analysis, there was some push back at Thursday’s national executive meeting, and internally, about invoking popularity as a measure of the success or failure of leadership.

Related: Labor election review blames strategy, adaptability and Bill Shorten for defeat

As one Labor source put it: “They’ve jammed Albo now by saying only a popular leader can win an election – so if he is less popular than Morrison before the next election, do they dump him?”

The official campaign review, released on Thursday, found that Labor lost the federal election because of three overriding reasons: weak strategy, poor adaptability and an unpopular leader.

“Labor lost the election because of a weak strategy that could not adapt to the change in Liberal leadership, a cluttered policy agenda that looked risky and an unpopular leader,” the review says. “No one of these shortcomings was decisive but in combination they explain the result.”

The review flagged significant problems with the organisation of the campaign, with advertising and polling, with the digital strategy, and with internal culture. It says the campaign “lacked a culture and structure that encouraged dialogue and challenge, which led to the dismissal of warnings from within the party about the campaign’s direction”.

It says Labor lost votes among low-income workers, Christians and in the coal regions in New South Wales and Queensland, but gained votes among high-income voters in the cities concerned about the Coalition’s lack of action on climate change.

Weatherill, who briefed Shorten on the findings before the review went to the national executive, told reporters he could not ignore the former leader’s longstanding unpopularity with voters. “We arrived at a conscientious view based on the evidence that Bill’s leadership made a contribution to the loss, not the only contribution, but part of the story.”

Related: Chris Bowen says Labor must counter 'identity politics' and be angry on behalf of working people

“We arrived at that view based on evidence, and obviously there are lots of different perspectives that have been put to us, but we have remained steadfast in that view,” the former South Australian premier said.

“We think it would have been wrong for us to place all of the blame on Bill Shorten’s leadership. We think that would have been a wrong analysis and not based on the evidence. We think it would also have been wrong to say he played no role, his leadership played no role”.

Albanese will use a speech to the press club to respond to the key findings and recommendations, which include a call for Labor to pursue legislation capping individual political donations, and legislation for truth in political advertising – both in response to Clive Palmer’s impact on the contest.

The Labor leader will pledge to hold a national conference next December, and to create structures for collaborative policy-making. The speech will acknowledge that Labor has heard the rebuke from part of its base in May, and it will send a message to colleagues that the time for seminars is over.

Shorten declared in advance of the review’s release on Thursday that he was staying in public life for another 20 years, and said if the universe was “to grant re-runs, I would campaign with fewer messages, more greatly emphasise the jobs opportunities in renewable energies, and take a different position on franking credits”.