Bill's Speeches

STATEMENT ON INDULGENCE – USA ELECTION RESULT - HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CANBERRA - THURSDAY, 10 NOVEMBER 2016

*** CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

I thank the Prime Minister for the address he has just given. 

Mr Speaker  

One of the longest and most divisive US election campaigns in living memory has come to a close.  

And I want to briefly say to the Prime Minister, and to all members of this place, that as fierce and as hard as we fought this year’s election, I believe we can be proud of the standards and relative civility which we held ourselves to.  

And now, Mr Speaker, the American people have spoken, they have made their choice. 

As common believers in democracy, as servants of the people ourselves, we respect their decision.  

On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I congratulate President-Elect Donald Trump on his victory. 

Seasoned pundits and pollsters underestimated his electoral appeal and the resonance of his message. 

And I offer my commiserations to Hillary Clinton. 

As Secretary of State, as a Senator, as First Lady and as an advocate for equality, she has served her country with honour.  

In this campaign, and throughout her public life, she has fought with dauntless courage and the example she set – particularly for women and girls – will live long in the memory of the world.  

I hope this house will set aside another time to congratulate President Barack Obama on his dignity, his moral courage and the policy leadership of his administration these past eight years.  

Mr Speaker  

Every time the people of the United States choose their new President, it has most significant consequences for the world – and for Australia.  

But the partnership John Curtin and Labor forged with President Roosevelt and the United States in the darkest days of the Second World War was never about personalities.  

Even then, it was bigger than those two giants who occupied the White House and the Lodge.  

It is – and always will be – more than a coalescing of common interests.  

Ours is a friendship built on shared sacrifice as the Prime Minister has observed – from the mud of the Western Front, to our fight for freedom in the Pacific.  

From the jungles of Vietnam to the skies and sands of Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Ours is a partnership between two nations which look at each other and see something of themselves: the frontier and the bush, spacious skies and boundless plains, the fair go and the American dream.   

And, Mr Speaker 

The abiding friendship between our nations is strong enough for honesty.  

In fact, true friendship demands nothing less.  

It is never acceptable to mock people for their disability.  

It is never acceptable to ridicule prisoners-of-war for their service.  

When this parliament sees women being disrespected, we have an obligation to speak up.  

When this parliament sees people being discriminated against because of the colour of their skin or their religion, we have an obligation to speak up.  

The US alliance doesn’t mean trading away our shared values – it means standing up for them.  

It doesn’t mean changing who we are, or what we believe.  

It doesn’t mean selling ourselves short, or settling for less.  

It is our responsibility to be the ally America needs – not just the ally it wants.  

We owe that to the United States - and, more to the point, we owe it to ourselves, to our character and our qualities as Australians.  

Mr Speaker 

Last night the new President-Elect promised to ‘bind up the nation’s wounds’.  

Those words, of course, come from Lincoln’s second inaugural address.  

And so too does Lincoln's famous healing promise, to govern:  

‘with malice toward none, with charity for all’ 

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, for that spirit, for that wisdom, for an America that can heal itself and lead the world. 

ENDS


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