Bill's Speeches











Friends, colleagues, true believers one and all.

This great state can change the government – and we are counting on you to make it happen.

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

And alongside those words of respect, we rededicate ourselves to build a better future for our first Australians.

I also want to acknowledge all the women and men of the union movement here today.

Your brave predecessors pioneered Australian unionism – and gave birth to Australia’s oldest political party.

No group of people have done more to build our nation, grow the middle class, and lift the living standards of working families.

And I can promise you this.

The Labor Party I lead will always stand with you.

We will stand with you to protect the penalty rates that millions of people rely on to put food on the table, and petrol in their car.

We stand with you lifting living standards, supporting jobs not thoughtlessly sending them overseas, selling out the jobs of seafarers, undermining Australian jobs like our opponents conspire to do.

We stand with you with plans to revitalise Australian manufacturing, not just chuck it in the too-hard basket or lazily despatch such businesses off-shore.

We stand with you and working people in our shared commitment to build an education system that provides all our children with the opportunities they deserve and need to succeed –regardless of their background or their parents' income or their parents post code.

We stand with you, in solidarity – always.

Anastacia, I want to thank you for your generous welcome.

I was always proud to call you my friend; these days I’m delighted to call you Premier.

I also want to acknowledge State Secretary Evan Moorhead.

Evan, thank you for everything you and your volunteers are doing to keep Queensland Labor so remarkably strong.


Every time I come to Queensland, I’m inspired by what the people in this room achieved last January.

After a shattering defeat in 2012, it would have been easy for Queensland Labor to lose itself in recriminations, finger-pointing and blame-shifting.

It would have been easy for volunteers and supporters to think it was all too hard – a Labor resurrection too far off.

It would have been easy to say to each other "2015 isn’t our time, it’s too early, let’s just try and get back a bit of ground".

But that didn’t happen.

No one lost faith: you united, you rallied, you organised - and you worked incredibly hard.

You put forward a vision for all Queensland: from the regions and the reef, to the cities and the suburbs.

Millions of Queenslanders liked the sound of that, they trusted you - and now you’re delivering for them.

Creating jobs, building infrastructure, improving communities.

You’re focusing on the good you can do for people, the difference you can make in the lives of your fellow citizens.
That’s what Labor governments have always done; it’s why we’re here today.

Because there is so much to be done and I, and our federal team, are so driven to work with you to achieve good for this country.

You here in this room are the people Labor has always relied on to tell our story.

Your energy, your passion, your good humour and your sincere belief in the power of honesty and authenticity to make politics in our country and indeed, our country a better place.

You volunteer, you organise, you make phone calls, you letterbox, you knock on doors and you handing out leaflets at bus stops and train stations and ferry terminals.

Changing the country, one conversation at a time.

And together we have a vital and positive story to tell Australia.

At this year’s federal election, Australians will make choices that will profoundly shape our nation.

48 hours ago, I announced one of the defining policies of our Labor platform.

Labor’s historic education plan, Your Child, Our Future.

It will deliver:

  • A focus on every child’s needs

  • More individual attention

  • Better supported, resourced and trained teachers

  • More support for students with special learning needs

Every child, every school, every opportunity.

This is how Labor delivers innovation – through education.

Innovation without education is just talk.

Hollow words.

And when the Liberals’ education plan for our children and our schools is accompanied with $30 billion of wilfully destructive cuts, the choice for Australians could not be more stark.

But the choice does not stop there.

There’s a choice between a robust Medicare and properly functioning public hospitals, or the Liberals’ dreadful vandalism in slashing $50 billion from the nation's health system…so far.

There is a choice between a Labor Party taking real action on climate change, on marriage equality, on support for a Republic.

Or this current Prime Minister of agile, fluid and nimble convictions.

The latest Liberal weathervane, who has sold-out on all three of those issues.

This Liberal Prime Minister thinks that because he failed to deliver a Republic 17 years ago, no-one can.

Because he did a dirty deal with the conservatives in the National Party to delay real action on climate change then the whole nation should wait.

Because he did a backroom deal to kick Marriage Equality into the long grass of a $160 million tax-payer funded opinion poll, our country should have to wait.

Why should all Australians have to wait because he does not have the courage of his convictions?

Who is he, to give up on behalf of Australia?

There’s a very clear choice between a Labor Party focused on creating good, secure jobs, with appropriate certainty of work and a reasonable income, revitalising manufacturing and training Australians.

Investing in new high-skill jobs in growing industries – from renewable energy to defence manufacturing.

Or a Prime Minister who only cares about one job – his own.

A Labor party lifting the living the standards of working and middle class families.

Or a rotten Liberal Party determined to hit families with a 15 per cent GST that will put up the price of everything.

Do not judge Mr Turnbull by what he says – history shows he'll say anything - judge him by what he does.

Since our Parliament last sat in December,Mr Turnbull has cut two Ministers.

But more importantly he has cut $650 million from Medicare.

He has embraced the Liberals' eternal campaign to abolish penalty rates.

Only people who have a very high salary can declare the weekend is over.

Who is he to hand away your time with your families for nothing?

And over Christmas, he has axed the government’s commitment to fully funding the Gonski education reforms.

What an exciting time to be Malcolm Turnbull.

Forget all the sweet talk.

Your right to a sound health system, your right to a good education for your children, your rights at work are under attack.

Mr Turnbull’s cuts to Medicare mean Australians with serious conditions and chronic diseases must pay more for vital scans and tests, if they can afford them.

This is an unconscionable attack on some of the most vulnerable Australians.

For a mother seeking a breast cancer check, it means an $85 upfront fee.

For a young couple who should be excitedly expecting a child, it will push the price of an ultrasound up to almost $200.

For our fellow Australians battling skin cancer, the cost of an essential PET scan will rise to almost $1000.

Just how out of touch can you be to be the Liberal Prime Minister of Australia?

Labor will fight these cuts.

We will fight these cuts with every breath in our body. With every capacity of our advocacy.

We will stand up for Medicare.

We believe in an Australia where it is your Medicare card, not your credit card, that guarantees access to quality healthcare.

Just as we believe that Australians who work unsociable hours, away from their friends and families, deserve to be fairly paid for their time.

A vote for Labor is a vote for Medicare.

And a vote for Labor at the next election will be a vote cast for the most significant investment in Australian schools in two generations.

Only Labor will deliver the Gonski education reforms on time and in full.

For the final two years of the Gonski reforms, a Federal Labor Government will deliver $855 million more to Queensland schools alone.

Every parent of every school aged child in this state has a very clear choice.

I speak as one parent to other parents – do not let Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberals discount the resources going to your child.

Instead, let Labor make sure your child get the best start in life.

We will work as hard as every family to give their kids the best start in life.

We understand that improving education is the key to unlocking opportunity, tackling inequality and building prosperity.

We all remember our great teachers, I was raised by one.

My Mum taught me that education transforms lives, it opens doors, it gives people a new sense of what they can do and what they might be.

Like all parents, Chloe and I want the best education for our three children.

But what separates Labor from the Liberals is that we have always believed in a great education for every Australian child.

In our cities and suburbs, in country towns and along the coast, in state schools, Catholic schools and private schools.

Every child, in every school, getting every chance to be their best.

Only Labor has a fully-costed, fully-funded plan to deliver on our vision.

Only Labor can be trusted to properly fund Australia’s schools to make them world class.

Only Labor can be trusted to transform opportunities in education for Australians, not just for one year or two years but for good.

For every child, in every school. Forever.


Education is at the heart of Labor’s positive program for government.

It is central to the modern, competitive economy, and the nation's prosperity depends on it - and therefore, us.

And we are not just talking about apps.

We are backing our words with actions, with the investment and resources that our schools, teachers and students need.

We understand the powerful, transformative roll that our teachers and staff at each school will have on every child and we are going to back them up all the way to the federal election and when elected, we will deliver.

This is the choice we’re offering Australians:

Labor will grow our economy by investing in education.

It sounds so obvious. But the Liberals are cutting money – they cut money from the schools, they cut from universities, TAFE and the early years.

We will create jobs and advance Australian industries and innovation with broad investments in education.

The Liberals are slashing TAFE and training. Now why would any government in its right mind do this?

Over 130 years the Queensland TAFE system, born of technical schools that set out to skill the workforce, has given seven million students an education beyond school they otherwise never would have had.

It has changed this state's economy like it has changed every state's, and in doing so liberated the potential of so many Australians who have gone in to more fulfilled, productive lives from which we have all benefited.

Labor promises to extend such opportunities to every child by investing in education. This is non-negotiable.

Why do Liberals always see spending money on your children’s education as a cost to them?

What is it they fail to understand?

Mr Turnbull, education is not a cost – it is an investment in everyone’s child and in our future.

Only Labor has a real economic plan, to support working and middle class families:

We will grow jobs and increase productivity by investing in the early years, in schools, TAFEs and universities.

We will revitalise manufacturing, especially in critical industries like defence and renewable energy.

We will build the infrastructure our regions and suburbs need.

We’ll make fair dinkum Budget savings by making sure multinationals finally pay their fair share - what is so hard about that?

And on the way through, we are going to save some taxpayer money by dumping Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull’s emissions reduction fund which is just a fund to pay big polluters to keep polluting.

We will protect weekend penalty rates that families rely on.

And we will never, never, ever introduce a 15 per cent GST.


You’re veterans of a very hard campaign last year. It was called an unwinnable election. You’ve been here before.

In this election year, we’ve got a hard fight ahead of us.


We are the underdogs, let’s own it, let’s enjoy it. We are not denying it.


We are willing to take on Malcolm Turnbull, vested interests and the big end of town because Australia is too important just to leave to these people.


We know that millions of Australians are counting on us, on Labor.


It is just not about the election.


We need on election night to have articulated to Australians that the Labor Party they know and value is the one they are able to vote for with proud.


Australians are counting on us to stand up for them.

Now, there’s a new fashion in the conservative newspapers, in the Liberal party.

It is the fashion of the moment to talk about ‘the centre,’ as if by constant repetition, they can make something true.

What the Liberals don’t understand is that while saying they were a far right wing government didn’t go so well, they think:

"We will keep the policies, we will talk about the centre - marketing trumps substance."

But what we know is that what really counts is not political positioning and your own self-naming, it is people.

In our party, we’ve always known where the centre was because we’ve put people at the centre – of everything.

It is not the name of the political party – it is the people.

The people will always be at the centre of our decisions.

We know that what has always made Australia great is not when the top one per cent are doing well, experience shows they are very good at looking after themselves.

What we know makes Australia great, what is great about our story, Australia at its best is when we put the people first.

And under a Shorten Labor government, after three years of inadequate Liberal leadership, we will put people first again.

With your help, we can make that difference.

If you’re prepared to go one day longer, at the end of the day to have one more conversation, make one more phone call.

If you’re prepared to have the strength because of your belief in putting people first, we will do well at the next election and we will prevail.

Thank you very much.