***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY***
Friends, Kristina may not have won the election tonight, but she and you and the voters of Bennelong have given Labor an election-winning swing at the next election. Well done.
I want to thank Kristina and Ben and her family for stepping up. Thirty-five days ago, this was not a prospect, and I salute a most remarkable candidate who has secured Labor a most remarkable swing.
And I want to acknowledge the work of our General Secretary, Kaila Murnain.
And to complete the local trifecta, you have got one of the best mayors in Australia, Jerome Laxale.
Friends, this was not an ordinary by-election. Normally in a by-election, the former Member doesn't run again. So therefore, we enjoy the benefit in the swing of perhaps the lessening of their personal vote.
So I congratulate John Alexander, but what I recognise is that because he was running again, this 5.5 to 6 per cent two-party preferred vote, I think a swing over 7 per cent will end up, or near 7 per cent per cent on primaries – that entire swing is attributable to Malcolm Turnbull and his rotten policies for this country.
My friend Mr Turnbull loves to be quoted, loves to quote himself, so I will do him a favour and quote him too.
He said that this was a poll on him and his government. Malcolm Turnbull, you are correct. It was.
I want to thank all of the volunteers and all of the participants.
If Labor could replicate this swing, which was accomplished by all of you, led by Kristina in Bennelong, I have no doubt that, after the next general election, Labor will form a government. And something like 24 to28 Government seats will fall. And we will make this country a country which is governed in the interests of the middle and working class, not the top end of town.
Friends, Labor finishes 2017 with a most remarkable wind in its sails, not the least because of the effort of people in this room, and I thank you. And I promise you, in 2018, I make this promise to the Australian people – Labor will present positive policies. We will present policies which speak to the lives, the cost of living, the energy prices, the schools, the Medicare needs of Australians.
And I promise in 2018, it will be a year of courage, because the Australian people want courage from the Labor Party. And I promise you, using tonight's example, we will be courageous and we will stand up and put people first.
Thank you very much.