REMARKS TO SHADOW MINISTRY
MONDAY, 25 AUGUST 2014
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It’s been five weeks since the Parliament sat and the Government’s Budget is still a disaster.
Down the hall, they are having another ‘political strategy’ meeting to talk about the Budget ‘message’.
They’re bringing in consultants to tell them not to insult Australians – or perhaps explain to Joe Hockey what poor people look like.
We do understand that they’re reviewing their message, they’re discussing their strategy, they’re thinking about new political games to unleash upon Australia.
The truth is, as all of you have attested to me in recent days, the Government simply doesn’t get it. They don’t have a sales problem with their Budget, they’ve got an unfairness problem with their Budget.
It’s not so much that their critics are scaring Australians, it’s that their Budget scares Australians.
That’s what we have done these past three months – we have fought the Budget on the substance.
And again, I congratulate the entire Labor team - since the Budget, what we’ve done in the last just over three months is draw a line in the sand and say to Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey and his team: we will not let you wreck this country and make it a more unfair destination for our kids and their grandkids.
So I know that all of you have been out over the past five weeks talking. You’ve been visiting child care centres, you’ve been visiting schools, you’ve been visiting universities, hospitals, workplaces and aged care homes.
You’ve all been working hard but I particularly acknowledge Kim Carr and Amanda Rishworth who’ve been out at university campuses very actively, as have a lot of other members of the caucus.
Catherine King and Stephen Jones have been in hospitals and GP Clinics, talking to the practitioners, talking to the patients.
Kate Ellis has been in schools and child care centres - I’m not sure there’s a child care centre left for her to visit. I’m sure there is, but it doesn’t feel that way.
Shayne Neumann and Helen Polley have been out there in aged care and retirement centres promising older Australians that we will protect them.
And Brendan O’Connor and many others have been out to worksites.
And you’ve all been out raising issues in your portfolios and standing up for ordinary Australians.
But I think that it’s true that across all of us, we’ve all been getting the same message, and I suspect the Government backbench has been getting the same message, whether or not they’re willing to admit it – Australians don’t want their Budget.
They do not want this Abbott Government Budget and they want Labor to stand up for them.
I would assess that we have fought well in what’s been 100 days since the Budget – but the fight is not over and really, we’ve only just begun to fight. And that’s what Australians expect of us.
What is good though is that Labor has found its voice, unmistakably.
We are fighting them on the great Labor ground of fairness, and that’s what people expect and hope from us.
It is the case that we have been on the side of fairness, of hope, of opportunity – and what we’re doing is making sure that the Australian of 2020 and 2030 is a better destination with jobs and fairness at its centre.
So we’ve been doing well – I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of our colleagues at 2.15pm in caucus.
I might ask our friends from the media to leave as we analyse the political landscape and how we continue our great fight for Australia.
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