I acknowledge the traditional owners of the continent on which we meet today and pay my respects to all elders past, present and emerging.
We are the party of Land Rights and Native Title and the Apology – and let us become the party of Truth, Treaty and a Voice enshrined in the constitution.
I also want to give a shout to the mighty trade union movement of Australia.
In very hard times for so many working people and their families, you have shown that whatever the world throws at us, solidarity is forever.
Traditionally at national conference, leaders speak to Labor’s enduring values.
And today it’s my honour to introduce a man who lives and breathes those values.
A Labor leader who knows – in his heart of hearts – the weight and the worth and the transformative power of energetic, reforming, progressive Labor governments.
There are no easy days as Opposition Leader.
And there’s never a shortage of advice – good and bad, public and private.
But at a time when the turmoil of pandemic and recession has inevitably tilted the table in favour of incumbents…
…Anthony Albanese has kept his focus where it should be, on the people of Australia.
- Fighting for the workers and industries and small businesses who needed Jobkeeper when the Liberals opposed it – and who still need it now they are cutting it.
- Exposing the hollowness of a Prime Minister who loves making announcements but hates being held to account.
- And putting the spotlight on the rotten hypocrisy of a Liberal and National party that hounds pensioners and vulnerable people with Robodebt while shovelling taxpayer money to party donors.
It is clear Scott Morrison is the wrong man, with the wrong attitude and the wrong approach for this moment in our national life.
But we know winning government from opposition is hard.
History tells us that: only three Labor Leaders have done it since the Second World War.
And all of us still live with the pain of 2019. Not just the sting of defeat.
Not just the sense of the disappointment of the millions of Australians who count on Labor Governments…
- to support the NDIS and protect Medicare
- to act on climate change
- to fight for decent wages and secure work
- to champion equality for the women of Australia
- To rebuild our factories to secure economic independence
But the hurt of 2019 also came from knowing how close we had been before, and how close it still was after.
Think about it, once again the Coalition is effectively a minority government.
One more scandal….
One more bone-headed disgrace…
One more backbench troll sent off to study how to impersonate a human being…
…and Morrison will have lost control of the parliament altogether.
So, the starting point for all of us at this conference must be the knowledge and the belief that Labor can most assuredly win the next election.
It can be done.
And it’s now my pleasure to introduce the Leader who will take us to that victory.
Albo loves this party - but his greatest love is our country.
Like so many of us, he is driven by that powerful Australian aspiration to hand on a better deal to the next generation.
As Australia’s first infrastructure Minister, he was a nation-builder. And as Australia’s next Prime Minister he will build a better future.
A future shaped by the enduring Labor values of fairness, opportunity, common effort and shared reward.
Delegates, please welcome, our leader and the next Prime Minister of Australia: Anthony Albanese.