Bill's Speeches

ADDRESS TO THE BATMAN BY-ELECTION PARTY - MELBOURNE - SATURDAY, 17 MARCH 2018

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Friends, I said in 2016 that Labor was back. I can now say in 2018, Labor is back in Batman.

Friends, from the bookmakers to the commentators, they wrote Labor off in Batman. And you have proved them wrong – thank you. 

I want to thank all of our rank and file volunteers. I want to thank the contribution of the Australian trade union movement. 

Friends, I want to thank in particular though, I want to thank – we're going to set off another round – I want to thank our outstanding candidate, Ged Kearney. 

I think it is also important to thank our campaign director Paul Erickson, Noah Carroll, Sam Rae, Victorian Secretary, and Kosmos Samaras – a all of the people who worked on the campaign.

But I think it is important also, if I could have a moment, a moment’s reflection: I think it is important that we thank the people of Batman. 

And tonight I want to make a promise, I want to make a promise to all of the voters of Batman – the ones who voted for Labor and the ones who voted for other candidates.

I want to make them this promise: that Labor hears the lesson and the message of Batman. But as you who campaigned understand, many of our fellow Australians are disillusioned with politics as usual. 

They have a growing level of cynicism. They have a sense that the system is not working in the interests of ordinary people. And more than ever befor,e Labor has to battle the perception that the major parties and the political insiders are only in this for themselves. 

And that is why I want to say tonight, to all of those who voted for Labor or not, that tonight in this venue we celebrate a victory for Labor. But beyond this room into the lounge rooms of Batman and more broadly in Australia, I promise that we do not treat this election outcome as a triumph and an end in itself, but as another step, another step along the way to giving Australians the sort of government they want through the policies that everyday Australians deserve. 

And let us all here, the Labor Party supporters on display, let us again repledge ourselves between now and the next election.  Let us agree that our task is to develop policies which will win the trust of working and middle class Australians. 

People who feel left behind by cost of living. 

People who are frustrated with inaction on climate policy. 

People who are frustrated that their wages and conditions at work are being undermined.

People who want to see that working class kids and children from any postcode in Australia, city or country, can get a quality education. 

We will celebrate tonight, as we should, but we promise Australians that we will concentrate on the task of winning their trust. 

Australians in Batman have given Labor a chance, and our promise is, we will not let them down and we will work harder. 

So before introducing the next Member for Batman, I want to congratulate Alex Bhathal and the Greens political party, because at least they turned up. Malcolm Turnbull couldn't even be bothered to turn up. 

It is now my very great pleasure, and this is an Australian historical fact, the first woman to hold this seat in 112 years.

And when she attends the first caucus meeting of the Federal Labor Parliamentary Party, she will bring the ranks of women in the Labor Party to 48 per cent. 

Ged Kearney, the hero of Batman. 


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