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Sunday, 3rd April 2022

The Better Future Australia Deserves

Child care, Medicare, aged care – because Labor cares.

Acknowledgements omitted.

On the morning after the election, I believe that we can begin a better future.
The better future all Australians deserve after a tough few years – for some, the hardest years of their lives.
It is a future that Australians can choose.

The power is in your hands.
It is a future that only Labor can deliver.
And Labor will deliver it in the same way that Labor always has.
With vision. Courage. Imagination. Ambition. Determination. But importantly, heart.
They are qualities well understood here in Queensland, the state where Labor was born.
A couple of weeks ago, I came to Brisbane to talk with locals whose lives have been turned upside down by the floods.
I came to this very Services Club that was being used as an evacuation centre.

I spoke with people who had lost everything and those workers who were helping them through the toughest of times.
I visited other communities to see first-hand the devastation and talk with those who had been impacted.
Among the people I met were Phil and Indy, a couple I was introduced to in Deagon by their local Member, Anika Wells, and Senator Murray Watt.
When Phil and Indy’s street was flooded, their second floor balcony became a refuge for the night for a dozen of their neighbours – including three kids and the dog.
Some more Deagon legends are John and Dave and the other northsiders, who got Gloria and Beryl – two of our great older Australians – out of their homes and rescued them in their boat. 
That’s the spirit we’ve seen so much of during these past few years of drought, fire, pandemic and flood.

In the worst of times, we see the best of Australians.
Australians who have given so much. We’ve stood with each other through the challenges.
We’ve stepped up for each other. Neighbour helping neighbour. Stranger helping stranger.
Australians get through tough times because we work together, selflessly and generously.
One of the great things about Australians is that when disaster strikes, we see the true essence of our national character on full display.

And it is something we can be truly proud of.
But Australians shouldn’t always have to fend for themselves.
Government can make a difference.

Not at a time like this when the challenges just never seem to stop coming.
You know it because you’re living it.
The cost of everything is going up – but your pay isn’t.
Petrol, groceries, rent, child care, health care – the costs keep piling up, and they’ve been piling up for a long while now.
And whether you were huddled on Phil and Indi’s balcony or in one of a thousand other locations….
….. or even just yesterday I saw first hand the flooding at Avoca Beach in New South Wales ,and something I have never seen before, flooding at Bondi Beach…
… know only too well that climate change is here and its consequences are devastating.
Then there’s the pandemic, which has ripped through hospitality and tourism, our universities and the entertainment industry.
Australians are ready for a change for the better. Australians deserve a better future.
My Labor team is ready to deliver it.
An economy with stronger wages and more secure work.
Protecting and strengthening Medicare.
Building more affordable housing.
Building an economy that works for people, not the other way around.
Establishing a Disaster Ready Fund, because Australians deserve a plan to mitigate the ever-intensifying impact of natural disasters.
We will deliver our Powering Australia plan to drive investment in cheap, renewable energy. We will reduce our emissions by 43 per cent by 2030, 604,000 new jobs and lower household power bills by $275 a year by 2025.
We also have plans for a Future Made in Australia – making more things here, diversifying the economy and revitalising our regions.
The making of trains in Maryborough has a massive multiplier effect which is driving growth throughout Wide Bay region.
We’ll invest in infrastructure, because roads, rail, ports, and high-speed broadband are the building blocks of a stronger, more connected, more efficient economy. 
We’ve announced a comprehensive plan for secure work and more opportunities for training, including 20,000 new university places and 465,000 fee-free TAFE places.
And of course, one of the first big policies I announced two years ago: our plan for cheaper child care.
Cheaper child care is a direct, meaningful and lasting way to help families manage cost of living pressures.
It’s not a one-off, pre-election handout with all the sincerity and staying power of a fake tan – which is all this Government seems to be able to offer these days.
Cheaper childcare is good for productivity, workforce participation, and economic growth. And it’s good for children.
Education is the biggest and most powerful weapon we have against disadvantage.

And Labor will always invest in it.

All of the plans I’ve talked about are built on the lessons we learned during the pandemic.
And they have their foundation in Australian values.
Labor values.

Fairness, decency, supporting aspiration, looking out for each other, rewarding hard work.

You know, and I know, that it is only ever Labor that does the big reforms.
That has the vision for the kind of country we can be – and has the guts and the backbone to do the hard work to make it happen.
This election you’ll get to vote for that once more.
The choice is clear: a Government with nothing short-term, one-off payments that end once people have cast their ballots.

Or Labor focused on a better future:

  • Creating secure, well-paid jobs
  • Making our future here
  • Strengthening Medicare
  • Making child care cheaper
  • And, as I announced this week, fixing the crisis in aged care.

Friends, I used my Budget Reply speech on Thursday to announce Labor’s plan to put security, dignity, quality and humanity back into aged care.
Put simply, putting the care back into aged care.
After a decade of shameful neglect by the LNP, a Government I lead will support older Australians and their families and those who care for them.

Many facilities do a magnificent job.
I know aged care workers – like the ones here today - show up every day and do their absolute best with what they have, showing love and respect for those in their care.
Thank you for everything you do, every single day.

But the system is at breaking point, and carers will be the first to tell you that.
That is why Labor has a real, concrete, comprehensive plan to fix the crisis in aged care.
It revolves around five key measures.
First, we will make sure that every aged care facility has a registered, qualified nurse on site, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Labor is going to put nurses back into nursing homes.
Because every Australian living in aged care should get the medical attention they need, the moment they need it.
To be honest, lots of Australians I’ve spoken to have a hard time believing that we don’t already have nurses in every nursing home.
It’s just common sense.

And it’s also common decency.
Second, we are going to make sure there are more people employed to care, and they have more time each day to care for residents.
To help with showering, feeding, maybe getting some fresh air and time outside. But also, just to have a chance to talk.
Because no older Australia should ever feel like they are just a number. Or a burden.
Older Australians built this county. They deserve dignity and respect.
So, we will make absolutely sure there is more care for every resident, every day, in accordance with the recommendation of the Royal Commission
Third, we will back a real pay rise for aged care workers, and we’ll back it at the Fair Work Commission.
Aged care is hard work – physically and emotionally.

Sometimes it’s heartbreaking.
For aged care workers these aren’t just resident. They are friends.
Aged care workers deserve more than just our thanks. They deserve better pay.
The Prime Minister said on Friday they would have to back a decision of the Fair Work Commission.
The Royal Commission tells us that if we don’t pay our aged care work force properly, we won’t have an aged care work force when we have an ageing population.
Labor will not let that happen. We will make sure that they are paid properly.
Fourth, we will push for good, nutritious food for aged care residents.
We’ve all heard the stories of the kind of food that gets served up in some facilities.
We’ve also heard about food that wasn’t finished being pureed and then given to residents the next day.
We learned in the devastating interim Royal Commission report that half of aged care residents are not getting the nutrition they need.

They are literally starving
It’s just wrong.
It goes against who we are as Australians.
Lastly, but importantly, we will ensure integrity and accountability throughout the system.
Because when Labor delivers new funding, more staff and better support, I am determined to see that every single dollar of that investment goes to better care.
Today, I’m announcing new tougher measures to crack down on dodgy aged care providers who have neglected people in their care.
I know the vast majority of providers are working hard and doing the best with what they’ve got. Under Labor, they’ll have more back up and support to do this vital work.
But for too long, the Morrison Government has turned a blind eye to dodgy aged care providers who put their own profits ahead of the needs of people in their care.
Residents should not be left starving and soiled in their beds while some CEOs of these facilities are raking in massive profits.
Labor will establish a General Duty of Care for aged care – which will set minimum standards to protect residents and workers.
And we will introduce criminal penalties – including jail time - for aged care providers who seriously and repeatedly facilitate or cover up abuse and neglect.
Since we announced our aged care plan on Thursday night, we’ve received support from across the sector – and from commentators
Here are a just a couple of comments.
“It gives us an ability to send very strong messages and the message is: this work is going to be paying a fair wage.
This is just the sort of boost that I think can help. And it could make a real difference.”
And a second comment:
“I think Albo hit the mark. If you don't actually do something about the salaries and the wages that we pay in this sector, you're not going to attract the people in the first place.
I think Albo hit it on the mark because he was specific about what his two and a half billion dollars was going to do and that he would back the Fair Work Commission.
I think that’s why Albo got it right. I liked his tone, his delivery.“
Who were those quotes from?

That first quote was from former New South Wales Liberal Premier Mike Baird.
The second was from former National Party Deputy Premier, John Barilaro.

Pretty good endorsements. 
This plan is vital. It is necessary. It is common sense.
A Labor Government will solve the crisis in aged care.

Child Care. Medicare. Aged Care. Because Labor cares.
Australia is the greatest country in the world. But we can be a better country with a better government.
My message to Australians is simple - Labor is ready to form Government.
We are ready to start building back stronger. We are ready to improve lives and solve problems.
The most experienced incoming Labor Government in our history.
A Government I lead will be worthy of you.
As Prime Minister, I will always step up for you.
I won’t disappear when the going gets tough.
I won’t mistake a photo opportunity for action.
And I will always be straight with you.
I count myself lucky to have been born Australian. However lean things got when I was young, I had somewhere to call home, and a sense of possibility.
That is the Australia I believe in.
An Australia that leaves no one behind and holds no one back.
An Australia where we shape the best possible future for ourselves – and there is such a great future within our reach.
A Labor Government I lead will get us there.
After all the challenges and sacrifices made during the pandemic, floods and bushfires, Australians deserve a better future.
In the coming weeks, as we enter into our all-important conversation with the Australian people, we look at Labor’s extraordinary and lasting legacy.

Universal superannuation.


Paid parental leave.

We will protect them all, we will strengthen them all.
Not because they are proud Labor creations, but because they are great Australian achievements.
They have changed lives for the better.
They have changed our nation for the better.
But, in the Labor Party, we do not rest on our record.

It inspires us to even greater heights.
To reach for our best days, which I know are ahead of us.
Because Labor knows how to get Australia there.

Because Labor is the Party that delivers.

I can pledge to you this: 

Labor will ease the costs of living.

Labor will strengthen Medicare.

Labor will deliver cleaner and cheaper energy.

Labor will deliver a better NBN.

Labor will put the nurses back into nursing homes.

Labor will make child care cheaper.

Labor will tackle the skills crisis with fee-free TAFE.

Labor will create a Future Made in Australia.

We will do all of that, and more.

But in the wake of last week’s desperate, irresponsible Budget, with no plan beyond getting through an election, Australians are asking themselves this - Is this really as good as it gets?

I believe we can aim so much higher.

I believe Australians deserve a better future.

I believe in hope and optimism, not fear and division.

I know we need a better government.

And I know we need Queensland to help deliver it.

Anika Wells tells me that Queensland is the greatest nation on earth.

That’s why you hear such confidence and such a sense of identity in the declaration, 'I’m a Queenslander.'

Somewhere as great as Queensland deserves great representatives.

Like your history-making premier Annastacia Palaszcuk, who has led Queensland so well through these tough times.

Labor is offering Queensland such great candidates.

Candidates like Madonna Jarrett, Ali France and Rebecca Fanning who are here today.

I hope that every one of them, and more, will soon be a voice for Queensland in a Federal Labor Government.

Friends, I have unlimited faith in our country’s potential.

And if I have the great honour of serving as your Prime Minister, I can promise you I will work as hard as I can every day to see that potential realised.

And that is why I want to be your Prime Minister.

A Prime Minister for all Australians.

A Labor Prime Minister for a better Australia.

An Australia that has a better future.

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Electorate Office

334a Marrickville Rd
Marrickville NSW 2204

Phone: 02 9564 3588

Parliament House Office

Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: 02 6277 7700

Phone: (02) 9564 3588
Fax: (02) 9564 1734

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