Bill's Speeches

ADDRESS TO TASMANIAN LABOR CONFERENCE

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I come here this morning with one message.

We can win the next election.

And we can win five seats in Tasmania.

I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet, and pay my respects to their elders both past and present.

It’s great to be here in Tasmania.

This is a remarkable state – a place of incredible natural beauty.

But Tasmania’s best resource has always been its people: strong, creative, resourceful and courageous people.

And I know Tassie people also have long memories.

When I was in Queenstown last year, a bloke called Jim came up to me in Orr Street.

I first met Jim more than ten years ago, when I was in Queenstown helping out miners.

I was looking forward to hearing about old times, or catching up on some news from the mine.

Instead he said: “Bill, you still owe me a beer”.

Jim, if you’re watching – next time I’m in town, my shout, I promise!

Friends, I know Labor in Tasmania has endured some hard times.

And I want to congratulate Bryan Green on the work he and his State colleagues have done.

Rebuilding Labor so that we can stand up to Will Hodgman and Tony Abbott’s $2.1 billion cuts from Tassie hospitals and schools.

And I couldn’t be more pleased with, or proud of, the great Labor team we have assembled for Tasmania.

Julie Collins has been the driving force behind our Tasmanian Taskforce, travelling around the state with our Shadow Ministers.

Listening to local businesses and communities, shaping the best policies for jobs, skills, schools, training, technology and aged care.

Brian Mitchell was the first candidate we pre-selected, anywhere in Australia.

He will be the champion regional Tassie deserves.

In the North, Ross Hart is already taking the fight up to Tony Abbott’s personal favourite, another Liberal with a glass jaw.

Ross lives and breathes Launceston – and he’ll be a great local member.

In less than two months, Justine Keay has already shown more initiative, more care and more understanding for North West Tassie than Brett Whitely has shown in more than a decade of talking-down Tassie people looking for work.

And Jane Austin, a person who has dedicated her life to helping the vulnerable, has put her hand up again in Denison.

She will give the people of Hobart real say in our Parliament – in a Labor Government.

Along with all our strong Senators, this is the Labor team that will deliver for all Tasmanians.

And friends, we’re not just up for the contest – we are in this to win.

Because when it comes to jobs, health, education and fairness, the stakes have never been higher.

And the difference between a Prime Minister stuck in the past and a Labor party building for the future…has never been greater.

Friends, if there’s one thing Mr Abbott is good at, and let’s face it, there’s probably only one thing.

It’s parroting a slogan.

Endless repetition, like a bargain-basement busker.

It used to be ‘debt and deficit’, until Joe Hockey doubled the deficit and blew out the debt.

Now Mr Abbott has crafted a couple of new mantras.

He’s started talking about his “two great years” in government.

A government, that he says, is about “jobs and growth”.

“Two great years”

“Jobs and growth”

These two slogans prove our Prime Minister lives on a different planet, in a parallel universe.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away from reality.

And Tony, here’s a tip:

When you have to provide your Praetorian Guard with a daily reminder, telling them you’re going ‘exceptionally well’ and that leaks aren’t a problem, and then that gets leaked.

It’s official, you’ve got a problem.

Friends, you and I know the truth about Mr Abbott’s last two years.

Two years of breaking almost every single promise he made before the election.

Two years that have delivered neither jobs, nor growth.

Right now, unemployment is above 6 per cent – higher than at any time under Labor, including during the GFC.

For every month of the Abbott Government, Tasmanian unemployment has been above the national average.

After 700 days of Abbott-Hockey Government, 800,000 Australians are in the unemployment queue.

1 million Australians would like more work, but can’t find it.

800,000 on disability support are looking to get back into the workplace – and this government just sees them as a target for demonising.

In places like the South East, youth unemployment is 22.8 per cent - a full nine per cent above the national rate.

The average Tasmanian job-seeker is 37.

And the average period people are looking for work is 36 months – three full years, well above the national average.

But when Australia – and Tasmania - needs a plan for jobs more urgently than ever before…the Liberals are only interested in fighting to save their own jobs.

And we should never forget the damage Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey’s grotesque crusade against renewable energy has done to jobs and investment.

Already 20,000 Australians work in renewables – and this will more than double in the next fifteen years.

More jobs in advanced manufacturing, installation, maintenance, programming and development.

And by 2030, there’s going to be $2.5 trillion of investment in renewable energy up for grabs in our region.

I want Australian companies – and Tassie companies to get a share of this.

This is why we have set our bold new goal for 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

A goal that will back-in job-creating success stories like Haywards Steel outside Launceston.

A goal delivering projects good for farmers and communities like the new Granville Wind Farm on the West Coast.

Over 21,000 Tasmanian homes have embraced solar power – saving around $12 million on their electricity bills.

And our goal will help more homeowners and more small-businesses take control of their power prices.

This is the renewable future we believe in: new industries, new opportunities and more jobs.

But this government have done everything in their power to smash renewable energy, just because Tony Abbott rode past a windmill once and didn’t like it.

Friends, there is a better way to a better future.

A stronger, more productive economy.

An economy where growth is stronger, because it is fair.

This is the Labor way.

We invest in people.

We support great schools and childcare to give our kids the best possible start in life.

We back vocational education and training, because we want young people learning the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

And we want mature workers getting the chance to re-train and find new opportunities.

We back public TAFE – because the pendulum has swung too far to dodgy private providers.

We believe in higher education available to all…because UTAS students in Hobart, Launceston and on the North West Coast shouldn’t have to pay $100,000 for a degree.

We stand for a health system where your Medicare card, not your credit card, guarantees you access to quality healthcare.

We fight for a decent pension and fair superannuation, because Australians who have worked hard all their lives, raised children and built communities deserve security in retirement.

We believe in building the best infrastructure: encouraging tourism and boosting productivity.

And this includes the best digital infrastructure.

A National Broadband Network connecting communities like Scottsdale, Smithton and Midway Point to the digital economy, in our region and the world.

Friends, there is a final matter I want to address today.

Something close to my heart – and yours.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme.

When I became Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities, my eyes were opened to a world of disadvantage I never imagined.

Australians exiled to a second-class life of lesser opportunity.

Elderly parents and carers living with the sleepless midnight anxiety of worrying who would love their profoundly disabled child when they no longer could.

Young people spending their days in retirement homes, because there was simply no alternative care available.

People moving interstate, battling a maze of different rules, standards and support.

The NDIS is changing this – breaking down the high walls of disadvantage.

Under Labor, Tasmania is a launch site for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

A plan already empowering 1000 young Tasmanians aged between 15 and 24 living with disability.

Before the election, Mr Abbott said he was committed to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

He promised it would be delivered in full – and on time.

But ever since this government came to power, they have been running a cynical whispering campaign against the NDIS.

Minister after Minister, talking down the scheme, leaking misinformation about costs and cobbling together weasel words as they crab-walk away from their promises.

This is a disgrace – and it has to stop.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a measure of our national conscience.

A test of who we are as a people.

It speaks for the Australia we want to see in the mirror: decent, fair and caring.

And we will fight, all of us in Labor, for an NDIS delivered on time – and in full.

People with disability and the people who love them, have waited long enough.

So I call on Mr Abbott to repeat the promise he made before the election – no cuts, no delay, no more lies.

Friends at these conferences, we gather not just as a Labor party, or a Labor movement, but as a Labor family.

From time to time we will have differences of opinion.

It has always been thus.

We are an open, accountable and democratic party – stronger and richer because we can, on occasion, respectfully disagree with each other.

But what binds us together is more powerful than any point of difference.

We are joined by more than just the words of a pledge or a common membership card.

Ours is a shared faith in fairness.

A Labor tradition older than Federation –yet more relevant to Australia’s future than ever before.

We all know Tasmania will be a key battleground in the next election.

We have the team to win this fight, in this state.

We can do this.

We can deliver a better future for Tasmania – and for Australia.

A future of:

  • good jobs

  • great education

  • quality healthcare

  • and fairness for all.


This is what we believe in.

And this is what we can achieve, together, for all Australians.

Australian Labor.

Advance Australia.

ENDS

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