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Fantastic to be back in one of my favourite parts of Australia and back on the fair dinkum thing, the Bill bus, a real bus.
For the next nine days I'll be working from Queensland, and I'll be working in Queensland, and I'll carry the great Labor story to many parts of Queensland.
Queensland needs jobs, not cuts. We need jobs, not cuts.
If Labor is to earn the privilege of serving and forming the next government of Australia, then we're going to need to win in Queensland. And we are going to need to outline our plan for every part of Queensland, from the suburbs to the regions, from the southeast corner right up to the far north of Queensland.
We understand in Labor, that where goes Queensland, goes the nation. And that's why we've got such positive plans for all Queenslanders.
Now, some Australians are still lucky enough to be on holiday, and most of us, hope we've had a break, but I want to share with you two experiences that I've had over the summer break. The two sentiments, the two ideas, the two propositions that Australians have advanced to me most commonly over the recent summer break.
The first statement, which wherever I went in Australia, I would hear, is that the Australian people, Liberal voters, Labor voters, Nationals voters, minor party voters, almost to a man and woman, have had enough of the current Australian Government. They’re over the shambles, they’re over the circus.
Australians would come up to me on the beach and they'd say, Bill, can we just have one Prime Minister for three years?
I've had some conservatives who come up to me and say, we don't agree with everything you're saying, but you, Labor, at least appear to be stable.
And I said this is our sixth January, that I've been Leader of the Opposition. I've got a good team.
People would come up to me and say you've got good candidates, you've got good Members of Parliament.
But the other thing they said, along with saying they're upset with the shambles and the chaos and the division, they've had enough of the cuts, they're over this Government.
And when you think about it here, in our own local community here in Forde, or any part of Brisbane for example.
They're over the fact that $160 million is being cut from Queensland hospitals. $160 million.
They're over the fact that $6 million has been cut from Logan Hospital, denying the people in this seat the basic care which they deserve and they've paid their taxes to get.
In Redcliffe, $4 million cut from the hospital, and if think that we're going to let anyone forget that in Caboolture Hospital they cut $2.9 million, well then the LNP have got another thing coming.
We are not forgetting and we are not forgiving the cuts to the hospital system in Queensland, and every other part of Australia.
And when they are not relentlessly cutting, or focused on their own internal division, I'd like a gold coin for every time between now and the election they are going to talk about us.
They've run out of their own ideas and they are just obsessed with us.
They don't know whether one day to criticise us or the next day to pop in and take our ideas.
Now, it is clear to me that this is a government in its sixth year, who has stopped leading, and they've stopped listening.
But I also want to reassure you that as just distracting as this car wreck of a government is, Labor will not be deterred from putting forward a positive political platform.
The people of Australia, the people of Queensland, they're sick and tired of just the negativity. They want to know what our plans are.
And this is why I am getting on the bus with so many of my team, because we want to talk not just about where we are at, but where we want this country to be, where we want this state to be.
People are craving stability, they're craving policies which focus on them, not ourselves.
And this is a very important and urgent time for Labor to be boarding the bus and talking about our plans for Queensland, as we will then do throughout the rest of Australia.
Because our economy is not working.
I said there were two things I heard over summer.
One is, when is this government going to go? But the second thing I heard over summer is that everything is going up except people's wages.
Everything is going up except people's wages.
And it is a problem. Our economy is not headed in the right direction.
It is not delivering for working class and middle class people in Australia.
Now if you're a billionaire in this country, there's never been a better time to be an Australian.
But everyday Aussies, everyday Queenslanders, are finding it harder and harder to not just get ahead, but to stay where they are.
Think about your family, think about your friends, think about your work mates, think about your neighbours.
We know that more and more Queenslanders, more and more Australians are living on the credit card from week to week.
They're having to dip into their household savings.
We know that living standards are going in the wrong direction in this country.
The cost of living, this is a government with no plan for cost of living.
Childcare costs, up 20 per cent. How do families afford it?
Energy prices right across Australia, up not down.
And when you think about the cost of healthcare, private health insurance in this country is in danger of becoming a luxury item because of the perpetual premium increases waved through by this soft 'do whatever the big private health insurers tell them' government that we've currently got in.
We've seen the freeze on the Medicare patient rebate, health costs in this country are up.
Think about it. Childcare, energy, back to school costs, healthcare costs, private health insurance. All of it, going up.
But not the wages, and not the pensions.
We're not seeing enough support for people who work every day, for people who have worked every day.
Now I said though, that not everyone's doing it hard.
Think about corporate profits in the last 12 months alone - corporate profits up 13.5 percent. That's six times the rise in wages.
Some people are doing very well in this country, but not most people.
When we think about it, we have a two-tier tax system in this country.
If you have enough money, paying tax becomes an option. If you can afford the best accountants and claim the biggest deductions, than you can opt out of the tax system that everyone else is in.
How can we live in a country where large multinationals, household names, pay no tax in Australia?
And we are seeing the high street and small business struggling.
What we're seeing is because wages aren't moving, cost of living is going up, household savings are being spent down - what we see is that wallets and purses are snapping shut.
Anecdotal evidence from the Christmas period - bad for retailers, the most important time of year for them.
And we've see a government who has been asleep at the wheel with the banks. I mean, if you want loan from a bank for a house, good luck.
But if a bank wants to be protected on 26 occasions from a Banking Royal Commission, then ring the LNP Government in Canberra.
How can we have a government in Canberra who wants to give a CEO of a large company a tax cut 16 times the value of the employees of that company?
How do we have a Government in Canberra who will fight to the death for the right of a property investor to buy their seventh property, when your kids can't buy their first property?
And I say to the millions of Australians who rely upon penalty rates when they go to work, to help make the margin, the difference, between quality of life and not having quality of life, one of the very first laws - if not the first law - we will pass if we are elected, is to restore penalty rates.
We will be talking about our positive plan for wages, for cost of living, for better schools and better hospitals right across Queensland.
The Government, this tired, ramshackle outfit, this coalition of reactionaries, uncomfortable in each other's presence, they have a one point plan for Australia: give the large corporations and the top end of town a tax cut and don't worry about anyone else.
Well, we've got a better plan for Queensland and we're going to talk about it.
We understand that when you get wages moving for everyday Australians, when you've got cheap and renewable energy, when you've got better schools and hospitals, when there's confidence, when you're looking after the pensioners and the farmers and the small business - when you're looking after the vast bulk of everyday Australians, that is a rising tide which lifts all boats.
It is the best plan for this state, and the best plan for this country.
Look after the people, better wages, better penalty rates, not bigger banks or bigger tax cuts for corporations.
This straightforward plan, it's a beauty of a plan, better hospitals and better schools, not bigger tax loopholes.
What we want is to have better pensions not bigger tax concessions for the top end of town, and we will fight for this platform right throughout Queensland.
This Government knows that the economy is not working in the interests of everyday Australians, or if they don't know, they should know, and it just proves how out of touch they are. But either way you cut it, they either don't know what's going on, or they do know what's going on and they just don't care.
This Government is a risk to the economic future of everyday Australians. And we have a plan which we will take - better schools, better hospitals, more renewable energy, make the economy work in the interests of working people.
Tackle cost of living, don't accept the status quo and growing inequality as the natural order of things.
This is a Government that should be ashamed of itself - that it's desperately trying to hang on for a matter of weeks and months because it knows that it is not fulfilling its promises to the Australian people.
It is not facing up to the facts in our economy.
Labor has a positive plan. Australians are over the shambles, they're over a government who won’t turn up to work in Parliament, they're over a government who can't stand each other, and they know that more than ever the need for change is urgent because the economy right now is not working in the way it should be for everyday Australians.
And I cannot wait to travel at least 1,400 kilometres over the next nine days, to 17 seats, we'll get as far as Townsville - if I can fit Cairns in I'm going to do that too - because everywhere in Queensland matters to me.
This is a good country, and we can be better, but we do our very best in this country when we look after each other, when we don't leave people behind.
We make sure that if your kids need to see a doctor, you can afford to.
That if your aging parents have been diagnosed with an early onset dementia, that you can get the package of support they require.
This is a good country that can do better when apprentices can get a start, that we actually buy Australian and we buy local and we look after our own people.
This is a good country that can do better when we've got moving wages, when we've got first home buyers able to enter the market, when we've got a fairer system for all.
And this story for 2019 starts right here in Forde, and it's going to travel up Queensland and to every part of Australia.
Thank you very much.