Wednesday, 18th May 2022
Labor Governments have always changed the country for the better. They build for the future, they shape the economy in the best interests of people.
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and pay my respects to their elders, past, present and emerging.
And I proudly reiterate Labor’s commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in full.
If an Australian Government can take up the invitation First Nations people have extended to us – an invitation so generous it stands as an act of grace – it will help define our future as a more reconciled and more equal country.
I thank all my colleagues who are here today.
And I want to express my deep gratitude to all the other Members and Senators and candidates, and our volunteers and supporters, who are out there right now walking the talk – making calls, knocking on doors and handing-out on pre-poll.
Our democracy is a vital and precious institution and, as events around the world keep reminding us, not something we should ever take for granted.
I can promise you this: my team will be working hard for every single vote right up until the polls close.
Our democracy draws its health and strength from people putting up their hand, engaging with their community, participating in the contest of ideas.
I’m here at the National Press Club today to outline Labor’s plan for a better future.
I’m seeking the honour of serving as Prime Minister of the best country in the world.
And I want to lead a government worthy of this great nation.
A government that honours the values of the Australian people: that repays hard work, nourishes aspiration, and creates opportunity.
A government driven by strong and simple principles – no-one held back, no-one left behind.
I began this campaign outlining Labor’s plans to build a better future.
As we near the end of this campaign, these promises remain central to Labor’s vision for Australia.
Scott Morrison started his campaign saying you didn’t have to like him, but you knew who he was.
Five weeks later, he’s saying he can pretend to be someone else, if it will make you like him.
Labor is offering Australians a chance to change the country for the better.
He’s promising to change his personality.
He’s been the devil you know.
He’s been a bulldozer.
He’s told us he’s a car – just not an electric one, obviously.
And now Scott Morrison, who’s been in this Government for nearly 10 years, is telling Australia that’s not enough.
He wants another term as Prime Minister – not because it’s a great deal for you – but because he says, to quote him, he’s “just warming up.”
Seriously. After four years as Prime Minister.
What a concise concession of failure.
But it’s been like that all along.
Labor’s campaign is about the Australian people – your values, your aspirations, the difference a good government can make in your life.
The Liberals’ campaign is about them – their obsessions, their vendettas, their excuses, their political survival.
But of course, elections aren’t just an assessment of our campaigns.
Australians are giving their verdict on the last three years and the last three terms.
And, more importantly, making a judgment about who is best to lead our country into the future.
In 2022, that means looking at how we got through a once-in-a-century pandemic – and asking what we are going to learn from it.
Amid all the tragedy and uncertainty of COVID, Australians have been simply magnificent.
Caring, brave, patient beyond measure. But it hasn’t been easy. Many people have done it tough.
The crisis we came through showcased the strength of our community, the worst of times once again bringing out the very best in Australians.
But it also exposed the vulnerabilities in our economy.
These problems are not new.
Most are the inevitable end result of a decade of cuts, mismanagement and neglect.
With the real-world consequences felt by hard working Australians – like today’s news that real wages have gone backwards yet again. A fall of 2.7 per cent.
This delivers the biggest cuts to real wages in more than 20 years.
Under Scott Morrison real wages are plummeting while the costs of living are skyrocketing.
Australian workers are paying the price for a decade of bad policy and economic failures, while Scott Morrison says he should be rewarded with another three years.
The choice Australia has to make this Saturday is which party can be trusted to solve these problems.
The Liberal Government that created them, a Prime Minister who denied them and then blamed them on someone else.
Or a Labor Party driven by a determination to learn the lessons of the pandemic, to face-up to the big challenges confronting our country…
…and to bring people together to build a better future.
If you needed any more proof that Scott Morrison is determined to learn nothing from the last three years, you only need to look at what he said last week.
He started the week by arguing that the workers who carried our economy through the pandemic…
…and went out to work, risking their health to serve others for just $20.33 an hour…
…didn’t deserve an additional $1.
He believes they should get a real wage cut.
And remember this Government said that low wages were a key feature of their economic architecture.
The Prime Minister finished the week by saying working people should raid their super to fix Australia’s housing crisis.
The Liberals believe you should lose one key asset in order to get another.
With Labor and our plans, you keep both.
The Prime Minister’s most remarkable statement though was that his biggest flaw is that he is “too quick” to solve problems.
The bloke who said:
“I don’t hold a hose, mate” on bushfires.
“It’s not a race” to get vaccines.
“That’s not my job” on every issue he was confronted with.
The only thing Scott Morrison does quickly in a crisis is blame someone else.
The Liberals won’t change.
The Prime Minister can’t change.
The only way to change Australia for the better – is to change the government.
Learning the lessons of the pandemic runs right through Labor’s plans for the future.
All of this is important.
And more than that, it is urgent.
The challenges facing our country are here now.
Our economic competitors are re-skilling and modernising, now.
There is a cost-of-living crisis, now.
Fair work and fair wages are under attack, now.
The security dynamic in our region is changing, now.
There is a crisis in aged care, now.
Climate change is happening, now.
Australia cannot risk or afford three more years of more of the same.
More of the same waste and rorts, drift and failure.
We need to change the government, now.
Not just because of the irreversible damage that will be done by three more years of neglect in aged care, or cuts to Medicare.
Not just because families can’t afford three more years of everything going up except their wages.
But because there are opportunities we have to grasp, now.
Labor’s plans for a better future are designed to fix the urgent problems facing our country and our policies are about seizing the once-in-a-generation opportunities we have before us.
Take our Powering Australia plan.
Making Australia a renewable energy superpower is the fastest way to cut pollution and the most effective way to act on climate change.
But it is also the best way to cut power bills for families and businesses – saving families $275 a year.
Powering Australia will help protect Australia’s precious natural environment for the next generation – and it will create new jobs and industries.
Our plan to embrace clean energy will deliver 604,000 new jobs by 2030 – five out of six of those in the regions.
It will attract $52 billion of private investment, and ensure renewables are 82 per cent of the National Energy Market by 2030.
We will end the climate wars.
Because this plan is about bringing people together – finding common ground to advance common interests.
That’s why it’s supported by the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group, the National Farmers’ Federation, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the ACTU.
I mention that diverse collection of supporters because I view our approach on Powering Australia as a template for tackling the big challenges facing our country.
On my first day as Labor Leader I said Australians have conflict fatigue.
And on climate – rather than rally the same troops to dig a deeper trench in the same spot, I wanted us to find new allies.
I wanted us to look for solutions, not arguments.
Because I believe the best way to achieve progress is to bring people together.
That’s the approach I took as Infrastructure Minister, creating Infrastructure Australia so that projects were assessed according to their merits and their economic value to productivity, not their political location.
And that’s the approach I want to take if I am elected as Prime Minister: I want look for solutions, not arguments.
I want to work with all the Premiers and Chief Ministers on how we can make the Federation more functional and more co-operative.
I want to rebuild faith in the capacity of politics to find answers not just start fights.
Of course, rebuilding trust in politics also means demonstrating genuine accountability.
Which is why a Labor Government I lead will put forward legislation for a National Anti-Corruption Commission before this year is over.
And one of the first things I will do if I’m elected Prime Minister is bring business, employer groups and trade unions together in an Employment Summit to collaborate on secure work and ensure enterprise bargaining is working effectively.
Because bringing business and unions together at the enterprise bargaining table, with productivity gains as a focal point, is how we increase both profits and wages without adding inflationary pressure.
This is the fundamental economic challenge right now, and we must view government, business, unions and employees as partners in tackling it.
A Labor Government would have a unique opportunity to restore momentum to work already underway between the ACTU and COSBOA, making workplace relations for small businesses simpler and more accessible.
In that spirit, a Labor Government will consult with small business and unions in the lead up to our Employment Summit to identify and implement practical ways that the Fair Work system can be made simpler, fairer and easier for all parties.
Small businesses are the engines of our economy and were some of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
They need a government that supports them as they recover and grow.
Promoting smooth workplace relations is one way we can work together to enhance efficiency and productivity.
We will aim to deliver outcomes through co-operation – acknowledging that the best answers usually come from the people directly involved.
Working with small business, bringing people together is how a Labor Government I lead will build an economy that is more resilient, more diversified and, importantly, more productive.
And one of the key reforms we will deliver – one that is low-inflation, high productivity and provides real cost-of-living relief - is cheaper child care.
Our plan for cheaper child care will deliver meaningful, ongoing relief for families struggling with the cost-of-living.
But as important and urgent as that saving for families is, the benefits of our cheaper child care plan reach far beyond that.
Reforming the child care system is economic reform.
The child care system currently acts as a disincentive for parents, especially mothers, to return to full time work.
Our plan will boost workforce participation and productivity.
It’s a clear-cut way to grow the economy without adding to inflation.
And it will break down one of the biggest barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the economy.
Through a decade of Liberal Government, Australia has fallen to 70th in the world for women’s economic participation and opportunity.
And we have gone from being the 24th most equal country in the world for women and men, to the 50th.
Across the country, too many working women are under-appreciated, under-paid and disrespected.
A Labor Government I lead will do everything in our power to change that, including implementing every recommendation from the Respect@Work report and making pay equity an objective of the Fair Work Act.
We will create Expert Panels for the care and community sector workforce – vital, female-dominated industries that have endured decades of low pay and poor conditions.
Labor welcomes the decision by the Fair Work Commission that will grant millions of Australians access to 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave.
A Labor Government will introduce legislation in the next parliament to make ten days paid domestic and family violence leave the law of the land.
If Labor is successful this Sunday, we will inherit the worst set of books of any incoming government.
One trillion dollars of debt.
This Government has borrowed more, taxed more and spent more than Labor, and delivered so much less.
To build a better future, we need a better Budget.
Labor is committed to being responsible economic managers.
We believe the quality of our investments matter.
It’s why the Budget Strategy Jim Chalmers and Katy Gallagher released earlier in the campaign is so important.
The Morrison Government is the most wasteful since federation.
It’s Budget is absolutely riddled with rorts and weighed down with waste.
Tens of billions of dollars in waste have been uncovered on
That’s why they don’t have anywhere near enough to show for a trillion dollars in debt – a debt they had doubled before the pandemic.
And it’s why we’ll target the waste and rorts in the Morrison Government’s Budget.
I’ve said for some time that Labor’s focus will be on quality investments.
Our targeted and responsible investments - which are a fraction of what the Government has wasted - will be all about strengthening the economy, increasing productivity and supporting families.
And I announce today that Labor will reduce the uncommitted funding in the Community Development Grants Program by $350 million and return the $400 million Regionalisation Fund back to the Budget.
These two decisions alone will repair the Budget by three quarters of a billion dollars.
Jim and Katy will have more to say on this tomorrow.
But I want to be clear right here today.
If I have the honour of serving as Prime Minister, it will be my mission – and my responsibility - to ensure that every dollar spent in the Budget is used to drive the productivity growth we need to pay down Liberal debt, and to deliver meaningful quality of life improvements for all Australians.
This announcement today is the start of repairing the Budget and cleaning up the mess we stand to inherit.
I believe that Labor Governments have always changed the country for the better.
They build for the future, they shape the economy in the best interests of people.
We celebrate the legacy of Medicare, universal superannuation and the NDIS.
They are worthy of protection not just because they are great Labor achievements, but because they belong to our Australian identity now.
They speak for our character and our values as a nation.
I want to write our agenda for child care and aged care into this great national story.
Because reliable, affordable and universal services arm people with the confidence to pursue their aspirations, to fulfil their potential, to strive for the best.
Better care makes us a stronger country – because it means Australians can live better lives.
I know the difference a good government can make to people’s aspirations.
Good government changed my life.
A good government helps people put a roof over their head.
It supports young people who want to learn a trade, or get a degree.
A good government ensures older Australians can live out their later years with dignity and respect.
A good government creates opportunities for families to get ahead and stay ahead, and makes sure they can get the health care and child care they need, when they need it.
A good government gets wages rising.
A good government backs businesses who are innovating and growing.
A good government makes it possible for Australia to make things here again.
A good government protects and defends our national security, and strengthens our relationships with our allies.
A good government protects the natural wonders of our environment, treasures we hold in trust for our grandchildren.
And it invests and cherishes our universities and our artists and sport and music, and the multicultural miracle of modern Australia, celebrating the diversity that gives us strength.
A good government will grasp the opportunity for healing and truth and reconciliation offered by the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Celebrating the fact that we share a continent with the world’s oldest continuous civilisation.
This is the Labor Government I want to lead.
This is the positive campaign I have run.
Honest, real, focused on the lives and values of the Australian people.
That’s how I started, it’s how I intend to finish.
Focusing on solutions, not arguments.
Treating people with respect.
And that’s what the job of being Prime Minister is all about.
If the Australian people do me the honour of making it my job, I will do that job every single day.
And the job will not be about me, but about the Australian people and how I serve them.
Leading a Labor Government that includes and empowers people to reach their potential.
A Labor Government that invests in Australia’s skills, jobs, security and care.
A Labor Government that holds no-one back – and leaves no-one behind.
A Labor Government, that builds a better future.
334a Marrickville Rd
Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: 02 9564 3588
Parliament House Office
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: 02 6277 7700
334a Marrickville Rd
Marrickville NSW 2204
Phone: 02 9564 3588
Parliament House Office
Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: 02 6277 7700
Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which our offices stand and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the sorrow of the Stolen Generations and the impacts of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We also recognise the resilience, strength and pride of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Authorised by Anthony Albanese. 334a Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204.