Oct 17, 2020









I pay my respects to the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and acknowledge their elders past, present and emerging.


I’d like to acknowledge

·    Party President Mark Lennon;

·    General Secretary Bob Nanva;

·    Assistant secretaries George Simon and Dom Ofner;

·    Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey;

·    And of course NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay.


I’d also like to acknowledge my federal colleagues Meryl Swanson, our illustrious MC today, and Linda Burney. Thank you for the acknowledgement of country, Linda.


And a big shout out to all State and Federal MPs who are online with us today.


We’ve all had a lot to absorb this year. And when it comes to delivering surprises, 2020 is the year that just won’t quit.


I don’t think anyone would have dreamed we’d be having the mighty NSW Labor Convention online.


I certainly don’t think anyone had this week’s ICAC revelations on their bingo card.


But in this time of upheaval, we at least have the Liberal Party to provide a bit of predictability.


In the federal Budget they handed down last week, they reminded us of their complete lack of vision when it comes to the future of this country.


Australia is in the midst of a damaging and painful recession – the Morrison Recession.


We needed a Budget that maintained support for those who needed it most while setting up our nation for an economic recovery.


Instead, Scott Morrison withdrew support for unemployed Australians and offered us an incoherent grab bag of disconnected ideas largely focused on creating photo opportunities for himself.


They rolled out nearly $100 billion in new spending.


They racked up a trillion dollars of debt.


But we have nothing to show for it.


Nothing for aged care.


Nothing for childcare.


Nothing for public housing.


Nothing to boost female participation in the workforce.


JobSeeker and JobKeeper cut in favour of hiring subsidies that leave behind Australians aged over 35 years.


Women left behind.


Not a single big ticket infrastructure project to boost productivity and provide jobs.


Scott Morrison had an opportunity to build a brighter future.


Instead, his Budget threw money around like confetti. Even the Nats had to blush.


The Liberals always revert to type.


They think the economy will somehow fix itself. They think that if everyone just stands back out of the way, the market will fix everything.


We in Labor know that just entrenches privilege and inequality.


We know from our own experience that in tough times, there is a clear role for government intervention to deliver better outcomes in the public interest.


That’s why in my Budget response on behalf of Labor I outlined real plans for a better Australia.


We proposed policies that will change lives while also transforming the economy so it is stronger, more productive and more resilient.


Firstly, we’ll remove disincentives for female participation in the workforce by making childcare cheaper and boosting workforce participation.


We also outlined out Rewiring the Nation plan – a blueprint to modernise our electricity transmission system so it is fit for the 21st century and can distribute electricity with the greatest efficiency and lower power prices.


We also offered a plan for a Future Built in Australia, where we support local manufacturing and industry using the power of government purchasing.


Labor wants to build things in this country. Like trains.


We think that when government is spending public money on rolling stock, or defence acquisitions, we source them locally where possible.


And we want to work with states and industry to ensure that in the process, we train young Australians in the trades as part of the process.


We want Australia to have a manufacturing future.


All Scott Morrison wants to manufacture is photo opportunities for himself.


A Labor Government will also invest in public housing maintenance and construction. If we did that right now we could get thousands of tradies back to work within weeks.


I’m a proud Houso – and I know that a roof over your head gives you security.


And we would create an Australian Centre for Disease Control, so our nation is better planned for future pandemics.


These changes fit with Labor’s heritage of delivering change in the national interest.


Scott Morrison can’t deliver anything, not even himself to a planned National Cabinet meeting yesterday.


Labor is the party of change.


Universal health care. Affordable education. The National Disability Insurance Scheme.


The National Broadband Network which Scott Morrison and his colleagues trashed and replaced with 19th century copper-based technology that was obsolete before it was even completed.


Now, after seven years of waste, they have admitted that our fibre-to-the-premises model was the right model in the first place.


And they will spend $4.5 billion in public money cleaning up their stupid mistake.


This mob don’t understand vision. Only division.


That’s the difference between us and them.


They seek Government to preserve the status quo in the interests of themselves and their friends.


We seek it to build a better future; to make provide our children with better opportunities than we enjoyed.


In Parliament last week I spoke during the condolence motion for Susan Ryan.


I said that what made her truly great was not just what she did – and she did so much, especially to improve the lives of women and girls – but the fact that what she did has lasted.


Susan’s life proved that Labor governments seize opportunities for change.


The power of real change is within the reach of every Government. But our opponents would prefer to sit on their hands.,


The key problem is Scott Morrison and his intolerable complacency.


This year Scott Morrison has emerged as the ultimate marketing guy with no substance.


He makes plenty of promises, but nothing ever happens.


For example, two years ago he announced $18 million to provide business grants to help women start businesses. Two years later not a dollar has been spent. Not a dollar.


Just as he promised the world to bushfire victims but delivered little.


Scott Morrison is always there for the photo-op, but never there for the follow up.


He loves his high vis, but when it comes to delivering his promises, he is the invisible man.


Last week’s Budget was so fully of shonky, inflated dollar figures, I thought at first I was looking at a Badgerys Creek land deal.


Or maybe at one of Angus Taylor’s computer downloads. What a benchmark of this Government’s quality Angus is.


Just when you thought Tony Abbott had devalued the Rhodes scholarship as much as possible, along comes Angus.


Just one of a front bench that should be known as Dud’s Army.



It’s not easy being the Opposition in a time of national crisis.


When things are bad, Australians want their governments to succeed. They don’t want too much politics.


So this year we’ve been constructive. In fact, many of the measures the Government has used to deal with the pandemic, like wage subsidies for example, started out as suggestions from Labor and the great trade union movement.


It was the same with paid pandemic leave.


But as we move forward, Labor now shifts into a higher gear.


We are now producing policies and plans that address my three great priorities.






And jobs.


Labor values of caring for others and government intervention have taken this nation through this dreadful year of 2020.


The same values are the best ones to take us out of it.


My colleagues and I will continue to work hard to holding this dodgy government to account.


But we will also continue to craft solutions to the problems that have become so apparent during the Coronavirus pandemic.


Problems like insecure work.


The casualisation of the workforce.


The lack of respect shown to older Australians, too many of whom are the lonely prisoners of an underfunded aged care sector.


We want to draw strength from the great legacies of earlier Labor governments, which not only held Australia together during crises, but made sure we came out the other end better and stronger than we went in.


That is the Labor way. Not a dream of snapping back to how things were – but always aiming higher.


We see a future that is brighter and fairer.


We see a future made in Australia, a future where we build prosperity and share the benefits.


We see a better future that starts for our youngest Australians – and their families – in childcare.


We see a future of skills and knowledge, renewable energy and social housing.


We see a future with a transmission grid that belongs to this century, not the last.


Action on climate change.


An effective NBN.


The path to this better future is paved with jobs.


We see a future in which all of these elements come together to strengthen the economy and spread the opportunity that is the foundation of equality.


A future in which no-one is held back, and no-one is left behind.


And we dare to dream because more than any other political party in Australian history, we can walk the road from dream to reality.