The reason Labor is keeping secret a report revealing why it lost last year's election

Mark Riley

The Labor Party is trying to keep secret a damaging report that delves into its performance at the last federal election.

But 7 News has exclusively uncovered the key findings that show Labor would've won government if its leader had not been so unpopular.

The ALP tried to run a campaign of “100 positive policies” against the brimming personality of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

ALP insiders say the party is keeping its report into last year's election under wraps for one reason: Bill Shorten. Source: AAP

The Coalition released its campaign review in April, but the ALP has kept its findings under tight and extraordinary secrecy, angering senior party figures.

Labor reviews are normally widely distributed among the party, but this time shadow ministers and members of the national executive – including some who authored parts of the report – are only being allowed to read selected sections of numbered copies at the party's national secretariat.

But even they are being kept form viewing Labor's campaign research on the party – including that regarding its leader Bill Shorten.

Matched against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Labor leader loses. Source: AAP

The reason, according to several senior Labor figures who've spoke to 7 News, is the clear subtext of that research.

According to the findings, Labor did well to win 14 seats but would have won government if it had a more popular leader.

Labor finished up a point behind the coalition.

Labor insiders say party polling mirrored the public polls, which showed them starting the campaign two points ahead and ending half a point behind the coalition.

They also found Mr Shorten's preferred prime minister rating remained low throughout the election.

The PM was always preferred.

The insiders say that, aware of Mr Shorten's unpopularity, strategists ran heavily on policy to keep the focus off the two leaders’ not personalities.

Labor MPs say the secrecy surrounding the review only raises unnecessary suspicion, underlining Mr Shorten's sensitivity about his unpopularity and the popularity of his one-time leadership rival, Anthony Albanese.

Although, with Labor strongly ahead in the polls no-one's suggesting his leadership is under threat – for now.