SPEECH: Labor's Election Campaign Launch, Sunday 19 June

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THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
ACTING LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
 

LABOR'S ELECTION CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

SYDNEY

SUNDAY, 19 JUNE 2016

***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***

Colleagues, friends, true believers –

How good is it to be here, together, allies, partners and comrades in the fight for the things that matter:

  • Good jobs
  • Medicare
  • Education
  • Climate Change

Such great Labor policies to fight for.

Now to begin, I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land.

I pay my respects to Elders past and present and thank Stephen and Lily for their Welcome to Country.

I’m proud to say that at this election Labor offers Australia more Aboriginal candidates and future members of our Parliament than any party, ever before.

When I became deputy leader I set myself two main goals:

First to work with Bill to unite a party that was still pretty bruised and divided because we had lost the privilege to govern.

And secondly, to develop a detailed program that told people exactly what we’d do if we won government and how we’d pay for it.

My colleagues on this stage are testament to our unity and our solidarity – and I would put our people against theirs any day of the week.

Under Bill’s leadership we are as tight a Labor team as there's ever been.

And above me there are 100 people in red shirts, representing more than 100 positive policies and the thousands of hours of work that went into them.

Our vision. Proof we are ready to govern.

It's no secret what we stand for. It’s what we’ve always stood for.

A strong economy generating decent jobs that can support a family.

A fair society, where all Australians benefit from our prosperity and no-one is left behind.

Our 100 Positive Policies tell people just how we would get there.

Not just a political manifesto, but a plan for governing.

It’s a real treat to be introducing Bill today.

Back when Bill was running for leader in 2013, he put three famous Whitlam words front and centre of his leadership:

Party. Policy. People.

From day one Bill began the tough job of uniting our party.

He brought us together but to be frank, he got a little bit of help.

We were galvanised by a sense of urgency, by the Liberal Party’s budget of 2014 - the most unfair and the most regressive Budget in living memory.

And, then, in 2015, while we were fighting this terrible government – Bill and I made sure that we got on with the hard yards of policy development.

Because we knew that at a time when Australia desperately needed compassionate and strong leadership, the Liberals were offering us the exact opposite – they were divided, unfocused, policy-weak – the worst government this country has seen in a long time.

Conservative commentators mocked our ‘year of ideas’.

But they’re not laughing now.

Each of the people in these red T-shirts represent one of our 100 positive policies.

Not negative attacks or scare campaigns, but the building blocks of a stronger, fairer Australia.

Policies that put people first.

Child care. Schools. Apprenticeships. Universities. Our CSIRO.

Renewable energy. Cleaner cars. Roads, rail, ports. Australian steel. An NBN that actually works.

Doctors who can bulk bill.

Affordable medicines. Keeping people healthy and out of hospital, and better hospitals when you need them.  Protecting pensions.

Reconciliation with our first Australians. Equality for women. An end to domestic violence.

Restoring our international reputation.

Marriage equality. 

And as we have advanced our ideas, the Liberals have retreated from theirs. 

Tell me – what do they even stand for?

While we were launching our schools policy – they were talking about a 15 per cent GST.

Or maybe a state based income tax.

While we were announcing our plans to save Medicare – they couldn’t even understand their own superannuation policy.

Malcolm Turnbull’s one big idea is giving multinational companies a $50 billion tax cut – and even that's not his own.

It was Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher that came up with trickledown economics. Didn't work then, won't work now.

We don’t just have a set of talking points to get into government.

We have a plan for government.

We don’t just have a long list of reasons to vote against the Liberals. 

We’ve got a powerful case for Labor.

And in 2016, this is the case we are taking to the Australian people.

Think back almost three years ago.

Imagining this day, you might have thought we'd just be going through the motions.

A first-term opposition, struggling to cut through.

But we have led the policy debate in this country for the last three years.

We defeated one Liberal Prime Minister already.

And then, when Malcolm Turnbull took over, some people thought that was a setback we couldn’t overcome.

But the Liberals changed their leader, without changing their direction.

Has there ever been a leader who promised our country so much and delivered so little?

You can say a lot of things about Tony Abbott – and I know many of us have – but at least he believed in something.

And after a short time in the job – he left his mark. 

Tony Abbott’s policy for a plebiscite to delay marriage equality and divide our country is now Malcolm Turnbull’s idea.

Tony Abbott’s policy to torpedo real action on climate change and pay big polluters to keep polluting – you know – the one Malcolm Turnbull described as a fig leaf to cover a determination to do nothing.

Well that’s Malcolm Turnbull’s now, too.

And Mr Abbott’s cuts to schools, to hospitals, to families, to pensions and paid parental leave.

Those cuts are Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts now.

Malcolm Turnbull promised so much.

He promised better economic management – but he’s tripled the deficit and added $100 billion to net debt.

He promised a "style of leadership that respects the people's intelligence", but all he does is patronise.

He promised optimism, but he has reverted to the same old lies and scare campaigns; the same old three-word slogans we had from Tony Abbott.

And in this campaign he has nothing to offer but more fear, and more failure.

The entire Liberal campaign has been stage managed to within an inch of its life – in order to keep the Prime Minister safely away from ordinary Australians.

The contrast with Bill Shorten is profound.

Bill fronted up to the tough questions and the real issues facing everyday Australian families.

We've all seen Bill’s energy, his drive, and his love of people.

I don’t know anyone who listens better or learns more from the people he meets.

He has been everywhere, not afraid to respond to anything that's been thrown at him – including the occasional kiss from a complete stranger.

It's the mark of the man.

I didn’t know Bill especially well when I became deputy leader. 

But I knew I was going to like him when I walked into his new office on the first day and the place was a mess, full of unpacked boxes.

But the one thing he had unpacked were the photos of Chloe and the kids.

His whole noticeboard was already covered with photos of his beautiful family.

Since taking the leadership I have watched him get clobbered from every angle.

The media, our opposition. They've all done their worst. But he endured. He held his nerve.

He doesn’t grandstand. He doesn’t preach or lecture. He has devoted his life to the deep satisfaction of helping others. 

Every minute of his working life has been about that.

Fighting for decent pay and conditions, and safe work places.

Working with disabled Australians and their families to fight for a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Getting on with the job, bringing us to this moment.

And every day he has grown stronger.

Two and a half years ago it looked impossible.

But Bill has united us, and led us in developing a real plan for government.

A plan for a strong economy, and a fair society.

One hundred positive policies that put people first.

Please join me in welcoming someone I am proud to call a friend, and our leader, Bill Shorten

ENDS