Labor Party president Wayne Swan continues to stand by the policies his party took to the failed election in May, blaming insecurity and alienation among voters and Bill Shorten's leadership as factors in the party's loss.
"Leadership standing remains paramount," he said. "In this election campaign, it would be fair to say that Prime Minister [Scott] Morrison, after a shaky start, did very well in getting the Australian public to warm to him, in a way in which Bill Shorten was unsuccessful in getting the Australian public to warm to his leadership."
Mr Swan, speaking at the Crawford leadership forum at the Australian National University on Tuesday, said middle income earners had been comfortable with Labor's tax and climate change policies and "hung in" with the party - with no evidence of swings against Labor in seats where voters owned shares or negatively geared properties in big numbers.
The swing away from Labor was in low-income households, especially in the outer suburban and regional areas, where people were most insecure and alienated from the political system.
"The Bill you can't afford" message had hit hard in those areas, where voters believed Labor's agenda too risky.
Labor was losing votes - as were centre-right parties - to people vulnerable to identity politics.
"When people are feeling insecure ... those insecurities are being fanned in social media and by under-the-radar campaigns in ways which override the economic concerns of those people.
"And in the end, because they are so deeply sceptical about what governments can do for them, they are then attracted to more out-there personalities, and off they go, because they don't think the system's got any real integrity.
"... Much of the language of climate change. Much of the language even when we get into gender equity sets off visceral reactions amongst many of these groups which leads them to be attracted to authoritarian populist alternatives."
While he stood by Labor's policies, he conceded the campaign against franking credits had been used to devastating effect and hurt Labor, and he said the party had had "too many policies running round and bumping into each other".
We should not jump to immediate conclusions that the whole policy platform that Labor had was too progressive and therefore out the window it should go, that is not the case in my view," he said. "Some of the retrospective about the election is that somehow Labor had alienated the middle ground because we'd had some radical lurch to the left. Not so."
Mr Swan said the pattern was not greatly different from the last Trump election and from elections in Europe, where the rise of the populist right had hollowed out votes from the centre left and centre right.
Andrew Charlton, the director of Alpha Beta Advisors, said the only correct predictor of Labor's primary vote had been the naive linear trend of Labor's primary vote over the past 10 elections. Labor had lost an average of 1.3 points each election, and 1.4 points this election. "There is something structural going on in our politics that speaks to this lack of trust," he said, pointing also to the fact that more than 25 per cent of Australians had not voted for a major party, a proportion only reached three times in Australia's history.
A senior fellow in politics at the ANU, Mark Kenny, said the election was not about the ousting of Malcom Turnbull, despite the chaos and policy gridlock it had created. Nor was it about climate change, despite people claiming climate change as an important issue. Nor had it been about flat wages in itself - although that had translated into voter insecurity which made people reluctant to change governments. Health and education did not feature in the election, he said.
Mr Shorten's leadership was an issue. He was considered uninspiring and did not connect well with voters, whereas Mr Morrison's "daggy dad" persona had resonated well.
And Labor had miscalculated on franking credits, a demonstration that elections were better run on values, with reform coming once in government.
The Grattan Institute chief John Daley questioned whether franking credits and negative gearing had had any impact in the election result, saying seats with higher incomes had swung to Labor, and in older seats there had been no swing towards the Coalition, with an impact "almost completely exactly zero".