The Canberra Liberals should have focused on influencing "soft Green voters" during the 2020 election, an internal review of the election campaign has claimed.
The review said the party's chances could have been boosted if it had adequately identified Greens voters who were "attracted on environmental issues but deterred by the radical side of the Greens' agenda".
The radical side was the Greens "anti-small business bent" and "soft law and order policies".
As well, the review claimed Liberals' campaign material with the party's pledge to plant one million trees were mistaken by voters as being a Greens policy.
The Liberals suffered a 3.1 per cent swing against them across the ACT and lost two seats to the Greens at the 2020 election.
An internal review of the election loss was published this week. It was conducted by former Liberal MLA Vicki Dunne, lobbyist Grahame Morris and 2016 campaign manager Daniel Clode.
Among the recommendations was that important campaigning roles be outsourced and not be members from the party.
The key recommendation was that the party appoint a campaign director before June who was independent of the party room.
"Everything stems from this move," the report said.
As well, it said consultants should be employed to "help improve the skills of MLAs and their senior staff on policy development".
More work also needed to be done outside of election years, with those close to the campaign saying work had not been done in the three years prior and work that had been done was inadequate.
"Without all the burdens of governing and with one of the lightest parliamentary calendars in the country, the ACT opposition always has a luxury of time to prepare its election pitch," the report said.
The review also recommended that policy costing exercises needed to be overhauled. The Liberals came under fierce criticism for not revealing how much key promises, such as freezing rates, would cost.
"Past failures in this area have cost voter support, crippled campaign momentum and weakened the leader," it said.
The review did not focus on the campaign stunts employed by former ACT opposition leader Alistair Coe in the final weeks of the campaign, including putting a novelty rates bill in a freezer and baking a pie to represent their promise to grow the ACT's "revenue pie".
However, the review did say that campaign tactics needed to be earlier on in the campaign due to a shift towards early voting.
"A final week blitz may well miss almost half of the voters."
But the review also said the loss was due to ACT's political leaning and that events such as the pandemic and bushfires made it more difficult for the Canberra Liberals to win.
"The ingrained leftward political leaning in the territory, coupled with the COVID-19 virus and the bushfires at the start of the year provided an artificial buffer favourable to the incumbent Labor-Greens government and meant the task of trying to oust the government in 2020 became even more difficult than normal," the report said.
ACT Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said the review provided good feedback and would form a "big part of the roadmap moving forward".
"The Canberra Liberals will be working hard this term to put our best foot forward as a strong alternate government for the ACT in 2024," she said.
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