ADDRESS TO VICTORIAN LABOR FINAL WEEK CAMPAIGN RALLY
MOONEE PONDS, MELBOURNE
What a brilliant gathering of remarkable Labor women, shadow ministers, hardworking local members and senators and outstanding candidates like Fiona McLeod in the marginal seat of Higgins.
Wouldn't it be great? Wouldn’t it be great to see these faces in the federal Parliament, part of the first government in Commonwealth history, in the nation's history, nationally, to have 50 per cent women?
Let's give them all another round of applause.
We're down to the last six days now.
After six years of cuts to schools and hospitals, six years of delay and denial and dysfunction on climate change, six years of chaos and paralysis and infighting and instability in government ranks.
There are now six days to win this election, to end the chaos and change the country for the better.
Australians are tuning in.
People are making up their minds and in the final sprint to the finish line, the choice becomes clearer every day.
On one hand, three more years like the last six.
Or on the other hand real change for the better with a new Labor government on May 18th.
This is the message that all of us need to drive home to people every chance we get between now and 6pm on May 18th.
You know the message.
Vote for change, vote Labor.
End the chaos, vote Labor.
I, too, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of this land. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.
And I also today want to wish a very happy Mother's Day to the mums here who are with us today and indeed to all our mums who will always be with us.
And can I say a special thank you to Chloe.
A wonderful mother and an amazing wife.
And if you'll forgive me, too, I'd like to give a shout out to my twin brother, Robert.
Happy birthday too, Robert.
I'm genuinely happy to be here in Victoria.
And after a long campaign, back home in Moonee Ponds where I live.
I'm so proud to be joined by this all-star Labor line-up.
We've got so many smart and passionate people running for Labor,determined to make this a better country.
But in particular, can I acknowledge Tanya Plibersek.
You know right across the board the choice between our united Labor team, our talented Labor team and our opponents is a study in contrasts.
But I cannot think of a more straightforward choice that highlights the difference than Labor is offering Tanya Plibersek as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia - or Michael McCormack?
And to our Premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews.
Dan, I am so pleased that you and me and Albo, that we've worked together in a once in a generation infrastructure plan for Victoria.
This includes our new roads package in the South-East.
A better deal for Endeavour Hills and Cranbourne and Packenham and Berwick.
We’ll upgrade the Calder Freeway and build the North-East link to complete the ring road between the Eastern Freeway and the M80.
We'll have new park and ride facilities for commuters right across the suburbs so people can use the railway system.
We'll upgrade Bendigo and Ballarat Airport.
We'll have Commonwealth dollars for the Metro Tunnel.
And on Mother's Day, we will have the mother of all infrastructure projects, our new commitment to Suburban Rail Loop - a game changer for Melbourne and Victoria.
Some of you might know that I grew up in Hughesdale, Murrumbeena.
I went to Monash University.
I remember catching the bus from Huntingdale railway station, and people were always saying, the government were going to put a train in here for university.
It's still not there.
But in fact, what's even more interesting is that where we live, just down the road, there was some open park land that extended in a ring all the way from Oakleigh railway station right around to Camberwell.
And this open land had actually once been a railway line for three years in the 1890s.
A circular rail, a suburban rail loop. It shut in 1893 and every government has spoken about it in Victoria and nationally, even from before federation, right up to the modern day.
But at long last, with a genuine partnership between a Labor Government in Victoria and a Labor government nationally, we are going to deliver the Suburban Rail Loop.
It will stretch right around our city.
We will finally defeat the proposition that to get anywhere else in Melbourne you have to go into the middle.
Now as Dan has said before, we might not be the governments when this project finishes, but we will be the governments that make a start on this state building exercise and that's what Labor governments do.
Labor governments get on with the work.
We build for the future. We'd rather swing the shovel than cut the ribbon.
So Dan, if I’m elected Prime Minister, I am looking forward to working together to make sure that Victoria gets a fair go from Canberra after six long years.
And a fair go is not just better roads and better public transport.
It is better schools and better hospitals, because no hospital in Australia, no hardworking staff, the patients of these hospitals, cannot afford another three years of Liberal cuts.
Now friends as you know, our modest gathering is not the only gathering in town.
I understand that the Liberal Party launch is in town today.
Now, I am reliably informed that tens of thousands of Melburnians were too scared to go out to dinner last night in Melbourne in case they ran into Peter Dutton.
Now earlier this week my opponent made a big song and dance about saying that the Liberal Party launch won't be about the Liberal Party.
But unlike a lot of what he says that actually did make a kind of sense.
I mean, first of all there are lots of people in the Liberal Party who can't stand to be in the same city let alone the same room as each other.
I want to say a cheerio to Julie Bishop - I hope you're enjoying doing something else.
But there is a second group, of course.
There's the remaining Liberals. They haven’t already left Parliament - that's the ones who haven't left Parliament of course. The ones who haven't left the party - hello Julia Banks.
These ones are too dodgy, too toxic, too incompetent, to be let out in public.
Now, seriously, with six days to go, there is more chance of the Tassie tiger holding a press conference than the current Minister for the Environment.
And third we all know that today's event will be like every other minute of every other day of my opponent's campaign.
It won't be about the Liberal Party - it will be about the Labor Party.
It will be about us.
Because Scott Morrison has nothing positive to say.
He has got no policies for families. No plan for wages. There's no vision for our nation.
And he has no faith in the Australian people.
No respect for peoples’ intelligence.
There is no trust in peoples’ capacity to make a judgement about the future of the country by presenting competing visions.
More importantly, his whole case for re-election, his entire argument for three more years, the sole basis for which he justifies voting for the government - it all boils down to one basic idea.
He expects our fellow Australians to believe that everything is fine as it is.
No need to change, he would say.
In fact, he wants to tell you that you have never had it so good.
In the debate he remarkably said that your child care is getting cheaper.
He said that your cancer treatment is free.
He says young people have never found it easier to buy their first home.
He says that schools and TAFE and teachers and hospitals and nurses, they have got money to burn.
And he says there is no need to act on climate change, he has got that all under control.
In fact he believes that the only thing that this country actually needs, the only thing missing in his picture of perfection, is a $77 billion give away to the highest income earners.
Oh yes, and he probably does think, because he said it 250 times, that an $80 billion handout to big business and the big banks is a pretty good idea, too.
So, essentially, after six years, this is all that the Liberals have to say for themselves.
Tax cuts for the top end of town and everything else and everyone else can move along, nothing to see here, ladies and gentlemen of Australia.
Move along, we just want to keep doing our deals behind the scenes, representing the vested interests - not working on behalf of the people of Australia.
Move along - that's what he’d say.
Well, on behalf of millions of Australians who are counting upon a Labor plan, a Labor vision, who are counting upon a government who is working for the people, who stands alongside the people - we are very clear.
Our country deserves better than the government we have currently got.
Our country can do better than what the Liberals and the Nationals and their new allies Clive Palmer and One Nation can do.
Our country can do better than this and our country deserves better than the chaos of the Coalition.
I will tell you what our country deserves, the workers, the millions of wage and salary earners.
They deserve a pay rise.
Our schools and our TAFE and our universities deserve proper funding.
Hospitals deserve more resources.
Australian families deserve cheaper and more quality child care.
Three million pensioners and Commonwealth seniors health card holders, they deserve help with their dental care.
And Victoria deserves a fair go on its infrastructure as we,ve outlined today.
And every Australian, including the next generation of Australians, every Australian deserves real action on climate change and the environment.
This is what my united and talented Labor team are offering the nation.
Not just a positive plan for the next decade and beyond, but a concrete, fully costed, fully funded plan to take us there.
Because of our reforms, because we’ve made the big decisions, we have the best set of books in this election, because we are not going to allow multinational tax minimisers to treat Australian tax laws like a doormat, a matter of convenience as they walk out the door, with the taxes they should be paying here.
As we enter the last week, Labor can deliver the trifecta:
- Better schools and hospitals and infrastructure.
- A fairer tax system for working class and middle class people.
- And bigger budget surpluses into the future.
We have the better plans because we have been doing the work, because we are positive of inclination, not pessimistic and negative like this government.
But all of this progress, all of this opportunity, all of this real help with the real cost of living challenges of millions of Australian families, all of these investments in the future of our country –
All of this is possible if you vote for Labor, if you vote for real change.
But if this Coalition of chaos was to creep into minority government propped up by their unsavoury allies in the far right of the Australian political firmament, if this Coalition of chaos, who finds this election an interruption to the civil war they really desperately want to continue amongst themselves, if this bunch of misfits and no-hopers and lack of vision operators, who see government as their privilege - who see government as a right because they're the Liberal Party, because they're born to rule.
If they get three more years, it means three more years lost to the nation.
And make no mistake - nations cannot afford to fall off the pace.
And make no mistake, just because our opponents are offering the most threadbare, cynical set of policies in the history of modern Australia, it does not mean that it is all harmless.
Their agenda may be shallow. But it holds great risk, great danger for the nation.
Because in a world which is changing faster and faster and faster than at any time before, more of the same doesn't actually mean that you stand still.
The world doesn't owe Australia a living.
More of the same means Australia goes backwards.
When our hospitals and our doctors and our nurses and our orderlies and our staff are already under pressure from six years of Liberal cuts.
Three more years of cuts will mean more patients waiting longer in emergency.
More stress and strain for nurses.
Longer waiting lists for knee operations, for hip replacements, for cataracts.
When public schools are already struggling, three more years of cuts will mean that children with special needs will get left behind.
That parents of kids with special needs will be made to feel isolated like they're bullies, simply for demanding a fair go for their kids.
It will mean schools in the bush, overcrowded schools in our rapidly expanding suburbs, in the now disadvantaged suburbs, missing out.
A two-tier education system in this nation.
It will mean more of teachers and parents digging deeper into their own pocket to fund everything - from musical instruments, to the camps, to the things which every Aussie kid should take for granted and every parent should know that their kids should be able to enjoy.
It will mean that when wages growth is already at historic lows and insecurity at work is already at historic highs, three more years of right wing ideology and industrial relations.
It will mean more cuts to penalty rates.
More wage suppression.
More moves to take Australia down the American road where people work two or three jobs with no security.
Waiting for tips is not a wages policy that Australia will ever embrace under a Labor government.
Let me be clear, friends, there is much to love and admire about the mighty United States, but their Medicaid system and their wages system, they’re not for us.
Many years ago Australia took another way of a strong safety net.
Where going to work for adults did not mean still living in poverty.
This is not the Australian way and we will make sure that we don't go down that path any further than we already have in the last six years.
But of course friends, perhaps the clearest choice, the clearest impact of three more years of this current Coalition of chaos, the clearest choice in the closing week of the election, is it means three more years of delay and denial and dysfunction on climate change.
Under this government carbon pollution has gone up.
If this government is re-elected more carbon pollution will be produced and it will go up again.
This will inflict damage on our environment that cannot be undone.
The cost of inaction grows if you have more inaction.
Friends, let us make it very clear to every Australian we talk to between now and the election - the only way the Liberals will learn to take climate change seriously is to lose this election.
Friends, the risk posed by three more years of the Liberals and Nationals is not just the danger of drift and decay.
It is the cumulative effect that nine years of cuts will have on our hospitals, on our schools, on our wages, on our standard of living and our way of life.
On our egalitarian proposition which is the Australian story.
It is the nine years, the danger of nine years wasted arguing about climate change instead of doing something about it.
Nine years if they get re-elected.
It's the damage that will be done on the fabric of the nation if the government policy in the Senate is dictated by Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson.
Just imagine it.
We've already seen the power that the hardcore, right wing base of the Liberal Party have over their politics and their policy.
Just imagine that - the most right wing Liberal Party that we've seen in many decades combined with the extremism of One Nation and the chaos of Clive Palmer.
I mean, the Liberals and the Nationals have a gaping void where their policy agenda should be.
So it will be Clive Palmer and Pauline Hanson and all of the rag-tag extremists who trail in their wake.
They will be filling that vacuum.
The billionaire businessman will be setting tax policy.
Who knows, maybe he will be in charge of workers' entitlements too.
The anti-vaxxers will be managing the health budget.
The tin-foil conspiracy theorists, well they'll be dictating climate policy- mind you, they already are.
One Nation, well they could be in charge of multiculturalism.
Humourous as it sounds, this anti-fairness alliance, this coalition of chaos, will be signing off on cuts to every facet of the Australian way of life.
So friends, this is an election where the nation makes a decision.
We can make the decision to embrace the next decade of our century with hope, not fear.
With optimism, not pessimism.
With a sense of looking forward, not looking back.
With a sense of including all of us, not leaving people behind.
In the campaign, as a leader you make choices about where you go and what you do and what you say.
We're already 20 per cent of the way through a new century.
This country needs to do better for all Australians.
Therefore, I make a choice to back in low-paid Australians over the very wealthy.
I make a choice, to reform the tax system, the inter-generational tax scam against our young and our fixed income earners.
I, and we and Labor makes a choice to say to our fellow Australians that the future is not too hard for real action on climate change.
Instead, we say we can do this together for the future generations of Australia.
I make a choice that we treat women equally to men, not just in pre-selection but in opportunity, in pay, in freedom from family violence.
I can make this choice.
Labor can make these choices.
Because we understand that the Australian people, the sum of the Australian people is greater than the parts of this tawdry Liberal-National Coalition government.
We choose everyday Australian households over the top tier of income.
We choose to look after our pensioners, not those who are already very comfortable.
We choose to look after our regions as much as our cities.
We choose to look after public transport as well as roads.
We choose to make sure that wherever you are in this country, when you're in the fight of your life, dealing with cancer, we choose to stand alongside you.
Cancer can make you sick, but it should not make you poor.
But we need, and I say to women and men in Australia - we need you to make this choice too.
And this is where everyone comes in.
There are six days to go.
I can guarantee to you that there are people out there who haven't made up their mind.
Although, clearly a lot have and we like the early voting.
But what I say to you is that there are plenty of people out there still to make up their mind.
I can promise you, if you walked not far from here, down Puckle Street in the heart of my electorate, you won't have to walk too far to hear someone say they're not sure, they haven't made up their mind finally.
You'll hear some Australians say that it doesn't make a difference, that our system is broken.
What we need to do is to explain to these people that for six years, the Labor Party has learned its lessons.
That we're more united than we've ever been in contemporary history.
That we have the most talented front bench in generations.
Tell them that we are not a collection of individuals, but we are a team.
That we work together for the interests of the people.
And beyond that tell them that we are thinking about not just Monday or Tuesday of next week, not just the next poll.
We're thinking about the future of Australia.
We're thinking about the country in which you will raise your children and in which you will grow old.
We're thinking about whether or not our kids get to see the environmental beauties that we get to see.
We're thinking about how to make sure that our daughters get paid the same as our sons when they grow up.
We're thinking about how we can include properly in partnership our First Australians.
We're thinking that when you go to work you shouldn't have to spend all of your wages on child care so you go to work.
We're thinking that pensioners, people who don't have massive share portfolios and property assets, they've got a right to good oral dental hygiene too.
We are thinking about the people.
We're a party born from the people and the working experiences of this nation, and we are consistent to the values which have driven us for 120 years.
But we understand, at long last in this election, it is a time for the choice.
This nation is like a nation with the door ajar.
And do we go through that door into a bolder, brighter, bigger future?
Or do we stay on this side of it?
And it is whether or not we, in our movement, can help move the door open to that brighter future which we've outlined.
We all know that every vote is important, in every seat.
We understand the difference.
We understand what is at stake.
Progress is never given from those who have great sums of power.
Progress is argued for, advocated for and voted for.
We know what is on the line for Australia.
We understand there's no second prize for Australia.
We understand that we have to use every single minute, every moment that we have, to make sure that everyone understands there is a choice.
There is a big difference that each vote makes at this election.
We have to make it crystal clear.
Vote Labor for action on climate change.
Vote Labor for cheaper childcare.
Vote Labor for better schools, hospitals, TAFEs and universities.
Vote Labor for secure jobs and decent wages.
Vote Labor for real change.
Vote Labor for real change to put an end to the chaos and to bring the fair go back.
The next three years depends upon the next six days.
Let us make every minute count.
Let us bring this home.
Thank you very much.