Bill's Speeches

ADDRESS TO LABOR’S QUEENSLAND CAMPAIGN LAUNCH - BRISBANE - SUNDAY, 26 JUNE 2016

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Friends

Who said Labor wasn’t having a launch in Brisbane this Sunday.

I thank you all for coming along on a Sunday.

Let’s make it the last Sunday of a Liberal Government nationally. 

It’s fabulous to be back in Queensland - coming into the home straight ready to hit the line strong.

And if we want proof the race can be won, that this can be done look no further than my friend and your remarkable Premier Anastacia Palaszczuk.

Alongside all the outstanding members of my united Queensland team here today, I would also like to please acknowledge definitely my favourite Queenslander, Chloe, my wife. 

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

In this campaign, we are backing these words of respect with action:

  • 400 new Indigenous teachers in our schools
  • Doubling the number of Aboriginal rangers who protect our environment
  • And perhaps, most importantly, more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates representing the Labor Party than ever before at the national level.

As you might have heard, Mr Turnbull and his pals are having their launch in Sydney today.

The Liberal party, assembling to arrogantly slap each other on the back, to celebrate a victory that Mr Turnbull claimed they’ve already won some weeks ago.

I want you all to take a moment and spare a thought for the person that has to do that seating plan for their launch.

If you try it alphabetically you get Abbott, Abetz, Andrews…Bernardi...Brandis…

If you seat the ladies first, you run out halfway along the first row.

If you do it by policy, everyone grabs the most far right-hand seats poor old Malcolm has got to find one over there too. 

Enough about them.

Friends

Back in May, in Tasmania, where I began this campaign – and every day since – from Beaconsfield to Brisbane – I’ve said this election is about choices and priorities.

We choose local jobs for local people

  • A tax cut for small businesses
  • Backing advanced manufacturing and renewable energy
  • And 15,000 new apprenticeships
  • We choose education.
  • Gonski funding for our schools. Once and for all.
  • Affordable university - not $100,000 degrees and the deregulation from the Liberal Party.
  • And we'll clean out the dodgy private providers in vocational education – because Labor is backing public TAFE all the way.

We choose health.

  • Decent funding for our hospitals
  • Affordable medicine
  • And we choose to protect Medicare

We have chosen in this campaign to prioritise roads, rail and a first rate, fibre National Broadband Network.

We choose equality and equal treatment for the women of Australia – and an end to family violence.

We choose real action on climate change and we choose to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Now, our opponents have made their choice too in this campaign.

No amount of waffle dressed up as oratory can disguise the fact that my opponent is – and always will be - a prisoner of his party, a hostage to extreme right-wing ideology.

Mr Turnbull says this is a time for stability – but you cannot have stability without unity.

Indeed, you can not have stability when you're cutting Medicare.

You cannot have stability when you're not funding the schools properly.

You cannot have stability when you have a poor climate change policy and you offer Australians a second-rate NBN.

Mr Turnbull does not represent stability.

And you certainly can not have stability when your party is not united.

Our party is united – the Liberals are not united.

The single biggest risk to the Australian economy in the next three years, is three more years of a divided Liberal Government.

Our people cannot afford another three years of administration from a weak Liberal Prime Minister who spends half his time worrying about his day-job and the other half fighting a civil war within his party.

We cannot afford a part-time Prime Minister who doesn't lead his own party.

Behind their forced smiles today and the awkward music, when we watch those Liberals in that party are sharpening their weapons of revenge for the impending civil war in that party after the election.

We know they are doing this because shamefully, their first target is marriage equality.

The $160 million plebiscite Malcolm Turnbull seeks to inflict on Australians – the price he price he is saying we must pay for his Prime Ministership – will dredge up prejudice and it will divide our country.

In Australia - no-one should have to justify their relationships or their  sexuality to anyone else.

It's no one's business but theirs.

The Parliament will do its job and we will legislate to make marriage equality a reality within the first 100 days of a new Labor Government.

Friends, at this election the Liberals are asking Australians for six years.

And in exchange, they offer one policy.

A $50 billion giveaway for large multinationals.

A cash splash, a ram-raid on the Australian Budget at the expense of schools and hospitals, Medicare and child care.

This out-of-touch government are cutting money from families on $50,000 and $60,000  but sending $30 billion overseas and $7.4 billion direct to the profit bottom-line big banks.

Mr Turnbull Liberals choose multinationals over Medicare.

They’ve chosen the big banks over the battlers of Australia.

A $50 billion hole in the budget, to camouflage a tax cut to foreign shareholders.

It’s no wonder Mr Turnbull has to be dragged kicking and screaming to talk about his economic policy.

How could someone who made a living as an investment banker sign Australia up for such a shotty-poor deal?

By contrast, Labor has an economic plan to protect the living standards of working and middle class families.

Under Labor, a couple with two children on a combined income of $90,000 will be over $2200 better off each year.

Under Labor, a single parent with two teenage kids on $65,000 will be over $3300 a year better off.

Australians can always know that under Labor, middle class and working class families will always be better off.

We will help the people who need it, the people who are making Australia – not rewarding banks who don’t deserve the corporate largess that Mr Turnbull wants to poor upon them.

Today, Mr Turnbull will try and say ‘jobs and growth’ as many times as he can.

But repetition and rhetoric are no substitute for real action.

You don’t create jobs by cutting infrastructure.

You don’t drive innovation by sacking CSIRO scientists and charging $100,000 for a university degree.

You don’t create first-class small businesses, with a second-rate NBN.

And you never grow the economy by shrinking opportunity.

Friends

The Liberals have got a slogan – Labor has a plan.

Our New Jobs Tax Cut for small business will encourage small businesses to employ more Australians under 25 and over 55 and Mums and carers returning to work.

We understand in Labor that when a person loses their job, that is tough, looking for work in a changing economy is hard.

The older you are, the tougher it can be.

We respect our older Australians who want to keep working.

We will invest in your work ethic, your experience, your potential.

We will not see a generation of older Australians thrown on the scrapheap.

We will not give up on you – we will not leave you behind.

We are investing in your work, your potential - we are backing you to keep making a great contribution to this country.

We need you.

And the good news is that we are going to be cutting taxes for small business while we do this.

Labor has a comprehensive plan for Queensland jobs.

Our new Tourism Infrastructure Fund will bring more visitor dollars and more hospitality jobs to Cairns, Townsville and the regions.

Building the Cross-River Rail and upgrading infrastructure from Gladstone port to Cairns airport will boost productivity and opportunity right across Queensland.

Our decision to prioritise renewable energy will revitalise advanced manufacturing and power the regions.

Labor’s first-rate NBN, will help small businesses in the regions sell their products and services in our broader region.

We want the best technology for Australians because the world’s best is only just good enough for our country.

That's the Labor vision.

And as part of our rock-solid commitment to local jobs we will ensure 1 in 10 workers employed on Labor’s new nation-building projects is an Australian apprentice - apprentices first.

And today, let me declare that we will crack down on those employers who are rorting 457 visas and exploiting overseas workers.

No-one wins when people are brought in from overseas to do Australians jobs on lower wages and with worse conditions.

This isn’t a hypothetical proposition.

We see it in labour hire firms and 7-11s across the country.

People working for less than half the minimum wage.

Jobs with no security and no safety net.

And on top of all this – denying unemployed Australians an opportunity.

Guest workers have always been apart of our economic mix.

Currently, there are 1 million visa-holders with work rights in Australia.

And whenever this system is abused, or rorted – it’s more than one individual being ripped off.

It affects our entire labour market – and our international reputation.

And it penalises good employers who are doing the right thing.

And it creates a new obstacle for the more than 700,000 of our fellow Australians trying to find work.

As well as the 1 million Australians who regularly record being under-employed who want more hours but can’t get them.

And of course, over 800,000 people on the disability support pension and many more job-seekers who are close to giving up.

We need to give Australians a better chance to participate in our economy and in our community.

Friends

Labor will always fight for fairness in the workplace:

-      Penalty rates for people working today

-      Safe rates so truckies don’t cut corners on long distance hauls despite what Mr Turnbull says.

-      Fairness in the workplace requires closing the gender pay gap between women and men.

-      And underpinning the foundation of the fair go alround – a strong national minimum wage.

That’s what we believe in.

Friends

We choose Australian wages, Australian apprentices, local jobs, local content, local skills.

Because I believe in a country where ‘Made in Australia’ still means something on July 3rd.

Friends

In Cairns, in Mackay, in Rocky, in Townsville and Gladstone – wherever I go – Queensland schools are full of the same energy and optimism.

Hard working teachers, motivated kids, loving parents.

But – as we all know – the resources are not the same in every school and every postcode.

The funding is not the same.

There is a gathering cloud of inequality in education in this country.

Children who need that extra help, falling behind, bright kids in the bush, being held back.

Teachers going without the resources they need to help their students read and learn and count, to fall in love with music and science and the arts and technology.

Children with disability being left out and left behind.

Parents of children with disability being made to feel like bullies simply because they want equal opportunity for their kids.

This isn’t about excitement, or agility – it’s about funding.

You cannot be an innovation nation unless you are an education nation.

Supporting world-class schools and great teachers is not a cost – it’s an investment.

Yet the only time the Liberals say they don’t care about money, is when they’re being asked to spend it on education of Australian children.

My message to Australians is this.

Next Saturday, when you walk through the gates of your local school to cast your vote remind yourself and your friends and your family that a new Labor government will fully-fund the Gonski reforms.

Not for two years, not for the short term, but for the next ten years.

Because Labor knows that every child, in every school, deserves every opportunity to be their best.

Nothing less will do.

Friends

What started as an 8 week marathon is now a six-day sprint.

And in saying that, I'd like to welcome one of the great architects of Medicare, Bill Hayden and Dallas Hayden.

It has been an 8 week marathon but now a six-day sprint.

Six days - and one message to drive home….

Save Medicare.

Friends this is the message we will carry everywhere we go.

Save Medicare has never meant more, because Medicare has never been under greater threat.

Every parent knows the feeling, when your child has a cough that sounds like it’s getting worse or a persistent fever that won’t go away and a mounting temperature.

In that moment, you’d give up everything, you’d sell the shirt off your back and the roof over your head

But because of Medicare – you don’t have to.

Every Australian can get the care they need, when they need it.

Australians take pride in Medicare – and what it means.

It’s at the heart of our distinctive character, our egalitarian tradition of the fair go.

But the Liberals have spent the last three years trying to hollow-out Medicare…cutting it, taxing it, eating away at its very foundations…

Seeking to tear Medicare down, brick by brick, piece by piece.

And – last week - when we exposed their hidden agenda for privatising Medicare, they panicked.

Now they’re trying to pretend the $5 million privatisation taskforce was just a social club.

That the productivity commission review is just a thought experiment.

Forget Mr Turnbull’s rhetoric – look at their record.

Massive cuts to Medicare – and a massive hit to the cost of living for every Australian family.

Cutting bulk-billing, so 14.5 million patients pay more to see a GP.

And a typical Australian family with two kids, has to pay an extra $400 a year and that's providing the child doesn't have a serious illness.

Increasing the price of medicine, so Australian will pay more every time they need a prescription

And imposing new upfront fees and charges for scans, for blood tests, x-rays and diagnostic imaging.

In fact – from this Friday, from the 1st of July, Mr Turnbull’s cuts to Medicare will mean new fees and charges:

-      $100 for a mammogram

-      $300 for a Mum being diagnosed with breast cancer

-      Over $1000 for an Australian to deal with melanoma

We’re not talking about the common cold here or man flu – we are talking about Australians in the fight of their lives.

When you pay taxes your whole life, most Australians don't ask alot from the Government, they don't ask for the corporate tax cuts, but they do expect having paid their Medicare levy, having paid their taxes, that they will have a Prime Minister in Canberra who prioritises the healthcare of Australians over giving the big banks a tax cut.

That's what we will give Australians.

Friends, it is as simple as this.

If it’s not affordable, if it’s not accessible, if it’s not available to everyone - it’s not Medicare.

The Liberals have always looked at Medicare as a cost to cut.

But Medicare isn’t a brand name or a branch office of a multinational company.

It’s not some ailing industrial conglomerate where you strip out the assets for a corporate raider. 

In our country – in our Labor party - we don’t outsource the responsibility we owe to our fellow Australians.

We don’t imagine that caring for one another is something that should drive private profits.

Medicare is not a hedge fund – it is a national institution, a community standard of the nation we want to see in the mirror.

It is the great egalitarian idea that universal healthcare is the fundamental basis of a fair go for all.

It belongs to all of us – and we will never allow the Liberals to take it away, cut it and undermined it.

We will fight for Medicare and we will win.

Friends

I know how hard you’ve worked these past 49 days – I thank you for that.

But it’s time to summon up that final ounce of energy.

It’s time to find the next gear.

It is now or never – it’s up to all of us.

We need to reach out to all those people who haven’t switched on, or haven't made up their mind or haven't tuned into each issue.

We need to find extra bit of energy, that extra bit of faith in our cause because there are millions of Australians who have faith in Labor.

There are millions of Australians who need a Labor Government, who want the strength of a Labor Government.

There are millions of Australians who count upon us to fight as hard as we can for the causes which matter to Working class and Middle class Australians.

When you feel you've done enough, I ask you to think of these people... families, pensioners, mums seeking to go back to work but burdened by the high price of childcare, people looking for work, small business people frustrated with second-rate NBN.

All of these people count upon us.

They count upon our great movement, on all of us who are joined here in this great state for the fight for our political future, the future of the fair go.

This is our moment.

We can look back at what other generations in other elections have done.

But this is now our time, be you 15 or 85, this is our time to stand up for the things which make this country a great country.

We must use every remaining moment at our disposal.

Every conversation counts, every telephone call matters, every door we knock on, tell your friends, your family, your colleagues, your teammates, your classmates, the people you meet on the pre-polling booths - tell them this:

That if the people of Australia elect us next Saturday…

We will create local jobs and train Australian apprentices

We will properly fund our schools and hospitals.

We will take real action on climate change and put the matter beyond doubt.

We will make the equality for women a national priority.

We will end the buffering nightmare and build a first-class NBN for the 21st century.

We will back public TAFE.

We will make sure that dream of affording your first home is one which realised.

We will keep university affordable for bright working class and middle class kids because a degree shouldn’t cost $100,000.

We will roll back the tide of inequality which is growing in this country.

We will make marriage equality a reality.

We will hold a Royal Commission into the Banks.

And - above all - we will Save Medicare

Thank you all very much, we can win this election,

Thank you.

ENDS


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