Sep 1, 2013

Speech at Labor Campaign Launch, Brisbane

Good morning and welcome to the Australian Labor Party 2013 Federal Campaign Launch.

I would like to welcome Lara Watson to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land.

[Lara Watson Acknowledgement of Country]

Thank you Lara.

Please welcome Jessica O’Bryan, who will sing the National Anthem.

[Jessica O’Bryan sings the National Anthem]


Thank you Jessika and it’s great to be here.

Today is father’s day.

So I begin with a big shout out to all the fathers in the audience and at home.

And a special shout out to my son and mate Nathan, and of course his wonderful mum Carmel who are here.

Thank you for your support today and everyday.

It’s certainly a father’s day to remember.

One of the motivations of the labour movement has always been to provide the next generation with a greater quality of life than the current one.

It’s why Labor seeks to both create and anticipate the long term future, whilst dealing with more immediate issues.

It is great to be part of a modern Labor Government that is building the jobs, the schools, the infrastructure and the hospitals of the future.

I’ve come a long way from Camperdown.

I never imagined when I was Nathan’s age that I would one day be standing here as the Deputy Labor Leader and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

Labor seeks to govern because we understand that government can enhance opportunity and improve people’s lives.

Our opponents seek government because they believe it is what they are entitled to.

For Labor, government is never the end in itself. We govern so that we can build for the future. It’s the Labor way.

We built the age pension.

We built the trans-continental railway.

We built the snowy mountains scheme.

We opened up Universities.

We built Medicare and now we’re building Disability Care.

Over the last six years, both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have lead good nation building governments that saw us through tough global economic times.

We created almost one million jobs.

We have low inflation

We have low interest rates

We have higher workforce participation

We have lower industrial disputes,

And we’ve achieved this all with a triple A credit rating.

We returned fairness to the workplace.

We are increasing the superannuation guarantee from nine to twelve percent.

We introduced the largest pension increase in Australia’s history.

We took a million of the poorest paid Australian workers out of the tax system by tripling the tax free threshold, something that I know my good friend and passionate advocate for the disadvantaged Wayne Swan is particularly proud of.

We’ve taken action on climate change.

We’ve supported the development of renewable energy – and to give you just one example, over one million solar panels have been installed on roofs across Australia on our watch.

We are delivering sustainability for the Murray Darling Basin, talked about for decades, delivered by Labor.

In Infrastructure, we’ve doubled the roads budget, rebuilt one third of the interstate rail freight network and something I’m particularly proud of, invested more in urban public transport since 2007 than all previous governments combined since federation.

The Howard Government spent not a single cent, the same amount that Mr Abbot has promised to spend.

And of course our most important visionary infrastructure project is the National Broadband Network. The NBN will transform the way we work and the way we live.

If any single issue defines the failure of the Coalition to build for the future, it is their support for the out-dated, unreliable copper network of last century.

On Broadband we will do it once, do it right and do it with fibre.

All these gains are at risk on September 7.

Remember Medibank – introduced by Whitlam, removed by the conservatives.

It took the great Bob Hawke to deliver and entrench Medicare, along with other social and economic reforms through the Accord.

I pay tribute today to Australia’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister, Bob Hawke.

And I welcome Bob and Blanch here today.

Bob worked with this nation’s greatest Treasurer, who went on to become Australia’s 24th Prime Minister.

Paul Keating transformed our economy, laying the foundation for 22 years of economic growth.

He delivered the best superannuation system in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like you to welcome Paul Keating.

I say to Bob Hawke and Paul Keating that John Howard may have become Prime Minister in 1996 but much of your tremendous legacy is intact today because you gave us long term Labor government.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve had a bit to do with John Howard.

Whatever you say about John Howard, he was a man of intellect, who had a vision for his country.

But let there be no doubt: Tony Abbott is no John Howard.

Mr Abbott is a man mired in negativity and stuck in the past.

He’s sharp when it comes to three-word slogans, but dull when it comes to new ideas.

He’s energetic when it comes to running around Lake Burley Griffin, but he’s lazy when it comes to policy development.

Mr Abbott is a true blue conservative in every single sense of the word.

He finds comfort in the status quo. He struggles with change and because of that he offers no progress.

In today’s fast moving world, if you are standing still, the world goes straight past you.

He’ll tell you what he thinks you want to hear, but he won’t tell you what you need to know.

What you need to know is whose jobs will be destroyed by Mr Abbott’s cuts if he wins next Saturday.

While we build for the future, Mr Abbott lives in the past. He talks down our economy and he talks down our nation.

He doesn’t have a plan for next week, let alone a plan for next month, next year or a decade from now.

Where is Tony Abbott’s vision? What are his priorities?

During the debate about action on climate change, Mr Abbott described the science around the issue as “absolute crap’’.

His policy response is to plant trees – a laudable aim on its own but no answer to a problem so profound that it requires the sophistication of a market-based solution in the form of an emissions trading scheme.

It is one thing to be a climate sceptic but it is another thing altogether to be a market sceptic.

Mr Abbott is both.

When Labor asked Parliament to consider what has been recognised as the world’s best targeted economic stimulus package to save the jobs of Australians during the global financial crisis – where was Mr Abbott?

He was snoozing in his office.

When Labor moved to wire Australia to the world via the National Broadband Network, an economic game-changer that will create jobs and revolutionise communication, Mr Abbott said he had appointed Malcolm Turnbull to “destroy’’ the project.

His words, not mine.

At least it shows Mr Abbott have does a perverse sense of humour. We know Mr Turnbull believes in his fraudband policy of fibre to 40,000 fridge type cabinets about as much as he does in direct action – which he called “a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale”.

This week the Shadow Regional Communications Minister Luke Hartsuyker described those who would receive the NBN rather than fraudband as lucky.

Today Australia took over the presidency of the United Nations’ Security Council in New York. This puts the nation at the centre of global power at a critical time.

When Mr Abbott heard Australia was seeking this role in 2011 – what was his response?

He said: “I don’t think we should be spending money we don’t have to promote a cause which is unlikely to come to anything.’’

No issue is too big for Tony Abbott to show exactly how small he is.

He’s got something to offer if want someone to join you on your morning run.

But running the country? He’s not just up to it.

His ideas are too narrow, his world view is too restricted and his ambition is just too small.

The problem isn’t that Mr Abbott is stuck in the past. The problem is that he wants everyone in Australia to stay back there to keep him company.

He doesn’t like public transport.

He doesn’t like public schools.

He doesn’t like public health.

He doesn’t like public delivery of broadband.

Mr Abbott just doesn’t like the public.

Ladies and gentlemen, elections are about choices and in this election, the choice could not be more stark.

I’ve worked with Kevin Rudd for 15 years.

I have never met anyone more focused on his vision for his country.

His ambition for Australia is as big as this great country itself.

His enthusiasm for serious, ground-breaking reform in the grand Labor tradition is extraordinary.

Kevin has had his critics but one thing we know about him is that he cares about his country and he really is here to help.

Is Kevin Rudd a bit of a nerd?

You bet.

Would I pick him in a rugby team or in a boxing match ahead of Tony Abbott – no way.

But he is the right man to lead this country:

  • He’s the right man to develop the policies that will build the schools and hospitals of the future.
  • He’s the right man to build the NBN.
  • He’s the right man to continue to deliver economic growth, jobs and prosperity.
  • He’s right man to deliver the better schools plan.
  • He’s the right man to take action on climate change for this and future generations.

Kevin Rudd cares about your job, your family and your future and when he says that we all know he means it.

Kevin is going to come on stage soon and tell you about his plans.

But to introduce him, let’s hear from someone who knows him better than anyone.

Please welcome Therese Rein.