Former Labor leader Bill Shorten says "fear campaigns" about the party's approach to jobs in Northern Tasmania may have played a role in their election defeat in Bass and Braddon, but conceded Labor under his leadership largely had itself to blame.
Mr Shorten, now Labor's disability spokesperson, was in Launceston on Tuesday to hold National Disability Insurance Scheme forums with participants, service providers and workers in the sector.
He said he wanted to get on with "fair dinkum" work to improve the lives of ordinary Australians, but conceded questions about the election loss were likely to continue following him around the country.
In Bass, Labor suffered some of its strongest negative swings in some of the most traditional working class and lower socio-economic areas, including Rocerhlea, Ravenswood and George Town.
MORE ON THE FALLOUT FROM LABOR'S DEFEAT IN BASS:
Mr Shorten told The Examiner that while the election result was close, it was clear that Labor had to rethink its approach.
"There was a problem that some people got scared into not voting for us, or that there was a perception that we were insufficiently for jobs. We're going to have to deal with that," he said.
"The government was able to con people into voting against their own economic interest.
"But having said that, you can't just put all that down to fear, a fear campaign.
"We've got to accept some responsibility."
Labor is carrying out a review into its election defeat - a result that went against polls at the time.
Mr Shorten said the defeat in Northern Tasmania particularly "pains" him given his involvement following the Beaconsfield mine disaster as national secretary of the Australian Workers Union.
He said there appeared to be a clash between Labor's focus on clean energy, and protecting manufacturing jobs.
"On one hand Labor's the party of the environment. On the other hand we're also the party of blue collar jobs and jobs generally," Mr Shorten said.
"And I think that it's true that some people got sufficiently nervous that they somehow thought the Labor was more interested in not pushing people's jobs first and foremost.
"Tasmania is a renewable energy superpower really but the problem is that ... people were concerned that having policies on climate was somehow in competition."
Looking ahead to another election in three years' time, Mr Shorten said Labor would be a chance in Bass and Braddon because the party was "best in touch with Northern Tassie".
But its messaging could need reconsidering.
"Maybe we had too many messages," he said.
"In the main we had good policies, but I accept that for a proportion of the population, either they didn't hear the message or they were worried, or they felt that our message wasn't aimed at them."
Shedding working class voters an issue for the left
Mr Shorten's former deputy, Labor health spokesperson Chris Bowen, was also in Launceston a few weeks ago where he addressed the party's defeat in Northern Tasmania.
Mr Bowen agreed that the election results showed blue collar voters were turning away from Labor, and it was something the party needed to address.
"We had swings against us in traditional Labor areas, and swings to us in non-traditional Labor areas, so we need to have a think about that," he said.
"Parties of the left need to deal with that around the world, that's happening around the world."
Labor did not commit to raising Newstart by a specific amount, but instead announced a review that would report within 18 months.
When asked if this policy was confusing to voters, Mr Bowen said "perhaps".
The party has since put its support behind raising Newstart.
"We've said that Newstart should increase, but we think Newstart should increase because we think Newstart should increase - not for any political reasons, but because it is too low and it hasn't increased in 25 years," Mr Bowen said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already visited Bass multiple times since his election victory in May, including earlier this month when he went to Sporties Hotel, the Harvest Market and NTFA grand final, as well as opening Macquarie House.
Liberal Bass MHR Bridget Archer has been able to draw other high ranking coalition ministers - including Nationals leader Michael McCormack - to the electorate, with Health Minister Greg Hunt expected to visit in the coming months.
Mr Bowen said Labor needed to content with a prime minister who continued campaigning beyond the election period.
"Scott Morrison, the marketing man, is on a constant campaign," he said.
"He's a constant campaigner, that's what he does."
Tax fears played into Labor defeat: Liberals
Upon hearing that Mr Shorten was visiting Launceston for the first time since the election defeat, Tasmanian Liberal senators were keen to raise his tax plan as a reason for Labor's defeat.
Senator Jonathon Duniam said aspects of Labor's tax policies had caused concern in Northern Tasmania.
"Mr Shorten's tax grab put untold stress on thousands of Tasmanians, especially retirees, mum and dad investors, and small business owners," he said.
Senator Wendy Askew, who filled the casual vacancy of her retiring brother, David Bushby, said Shorten should apologise for the concern he caused to retirees.
"Countless Tasmanians told me their worries of what a Shorten Government would mean for them and their families," she said.