Mr Marles admitted his own failings in the coal debate, where he called a potential collapse of global coal markets “a good thing,” saying the Adani debate left “rock solid Labor voters as collateral damage”.
“We agonised over every word during press conferences on what at its heart was the business case of a private mining venture,” he will say.
Recalling an interaction with a regional Queensland voter during the campaign, Mr Marles says in the speech “we made him and other Labor voters like him feel that our party looked down on him.”
But he will say the election loss can’t be blamed on the “barbed fence of a mining project”.
“They simply didn’t feel we went to the election offering them the tools to move forward, but instead we wanted them to settle for a range of subsidies,” he will say.
“That I believe speaks to where we sought to quarantine parts of our traditional base and offer handouts rather than hope.”
He said Labor would win the next election if it could build “the strongest possible consensus” and “the broadest possible constituency for our policies”.
“Labor wins when we stake out the political centre for ourselves, on our terms with conviction and purpose – and with policies that create opportunity, build social mobility, share prosperity, care for the vulnerable and deliver reward for effort. “
His comments come amid a fresh new divide within the party, as colleagues distanced themselves on Wednesday from resources spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon’s urging Labor to lockstep its position on climate change to a “sensible settlement” with the Morrison government.
Mr Fitzgibbon advocated for his party to wind back its 45 per cent carbon emissions reduction target to match the Coalition’s policy for a 26 per cent to 28 per cent fall by 2030.
Labor’s climate change and energy spokesman Mark Butler said on Wednesday the party was “unshakeably committed” to the Paris climate agreement ambitions to keep global warming “well below 2 degrees and pursuing policies to limit warming to 1.5 degrees”.
“The government’s targets, announced by Tony Abbott, are fundamentally inconsistent with the principles of the Paris agreement and would lead to global warming of more than 3 degrees,” Mr Butler said.
“For that reason, Labor has consistently opposed Tony Abbott’s inadequate targets.”
Mr Fitzgibbon’s move infuriated caucus colleagues who said there was no need for a public split on climate targets years before a final policy had to be decided for the next election.
One Labor MP said he was “furious” with Mr Fitzgibbon for launching a solo campaign on the climate target when there was no sign of any other caucus members supporting his call to back the Coalition.
“No matter where we land, we must be better than the government,” the MP said.
Countering Mr Fitzgibbon’s call for a retreat, Mr Albanese tweeted on Wednesday that he backed “strong action” on climate.
“Am proud that Australian Labor has consistently supported strong action on Climate Change based upon the science – and that action will not only protect our environment but is also good for our economy,” he said.
Labor went to the last election with a policy to cut emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels but will have to update the target by the time of the next federal election, due in 2022.
With only eight years between the next election and the 2030 climate deadline, Labor could set a target for a later date or focus on a longer-term goal of net zero emissions in 2050.
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra
David Crowe is chief political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
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