Australian voters never liked or trusted Bill Shorten as Labor leader, his predecessor Kevin Rudd has said in a brutally frank assessment of what went wrong for the party at the federal election.
Labor's election post-mortem will be released on Thursday with party elders hoping it will enable Labor to move on.
Mr Rudd, speaking at the Cambridge Union debating society in England last month, said the reasons for the loss were simple.
"Number one, the Australian public neither liked nor trusted our leader, as demonstrated in five years of opinion polling," he told university students in previously unreported comments.
"Two, you shouldn't redesign tax and retirement income systems from opposition; it creates an opportunity for a fear campaign on the part of your conservative opponents.
"Three, the Murdoch media ... hate us and they want to destroy us, they want to rip us limb from limb and then leave us in a bloodied heap on the carpet. Apart from that, they've been fair."
Mr Shorten was instrumental in removing Mr Rudd as prime minister in 2010 but then aided his brief return to power in 2013.
The current Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, was Mr Rudd's deputy prime minister in 2013.
One Labor insider said it was a bit rich for Mr Rudd to come out with his analysis now.
"Kevin told everyone Labor was going to win - that's why he was so desperate to be front and centre at the national conference and at the campaign launch," they told AAP.
"All of a sudden he was back on the scene, sucking up because he thought Bill was going to win."
Mr Rudd described Mr Albanese as a no-nonsense person who would instinctively want to get at the truth of what transpired in the shock election loss.
"I just know his temperament well enough and his intellectual habits well enough to know that he's just not into the bull***t," he said.
Similarly, former minister Craig Emerson and South Australian premier Jay Weatherill, who have done the review, weren't the types who would "apply a coat of lacquer to this".
Their report has been tightly held, with senior Labor figures saying no one outside of the review team would see it ahead of the national executive meeting on Thursday.
Most are expecting it to be a full and frank assessment.
Former deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, who remains on the frontbench, says it's important the party learns from its mistakes.
She said people were probably over hearing Labor talk about itself and "doing its therapy in public".
"All of the other minutiae that we will look through in this report, that important for us to learn from, but it's not the top concern of the people that I talk to every day," she told Sky News on Wednesday.
Chris Bowen, who as shadow treasurer was instrumental in forming Labor's tax policies including the wildly unpopular franking credits crackdown, said the loss was complicated and it wouldn't be right to attribute it to a single explanation.
"What's very clear is that we lost support in areas which had traditionally been Labor supporters and we actually had swings to us in areas where perhaps we hadn't done so well in the past," he told ABC radio.
Australian Associated Press