It’s an honour to thank Wayne Swan for his decades of service to his constituents, to our party and to the people of Australia.
The accolades and tributes will pour in today, from across the country and down the generations. Swanny deserves every one of them, and then some.
From brash young adviser to party elder, proud local member to Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister, Wayne Swan has always given the Labor cause and the lives of working people everything he has to give: every bit of his legendary work effort, every measure of his tremendous intellect, every ounce of his passion for a fairer Australia.
His tenacity as a political warrior deserves a Springsteen quote: no retreat, no surrender.
Wayne Swan lives and breathes Labor values and they are writ large through his legacy.
But – without doubt – Wayne’s finest hour came when things were toughest.
When the Global Financial Crisis shook the world economy, every commentator, every armchair expert, every conservative critic said recession was inevitable. Wayne Swan knew better.
Alongside Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, Wayne’s judgment, his skill, his belief in inclusive prosperity meant the Australian economy didn’t just weather the global storm, it actually grew. Businesses stayed open, Australians stayed in work, families stayed secure.
And after the GFC, Treasurer Swan’s budgets re-invested in productivity and social equity, through the National Disability Insurance Scheme: empowering an extra 470,000 Australians living with disability and their carers to be part of growing our economy.
Our whole party has benefited from Wayne’s contribution to the big policy debates of recent years and the perspective and expertise he brings to the conversation.
And I know that since I became Leader, I’m grateful that Wayne has always been generous with his political insights but also his analysis of global economic trends and where Australia fits in that picture. His work driving the inclusive growth agenda has been outstanding. I hope I can continue to call on his counsel for the remainder of this parliamentary term and beyond.
There will be other occasions to recognise and celebrate Wayne’s contribution to public life, so I simply close by thanking his family for lending the man they love to our movement for so long.