Bill's Speeches










Good evening everyone.


I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay my respects to their elders both past and present.


Amongst the many distinguished guests here tonight I would like to acknowledge Philip Ruddock representing the Prime Minister, Minister Stuart Ayres, representing the Premier, my colleague representing the Opposition in New South Wales, the leader Luke Foley and indeed other people, members of parliament that are here including Chris Bowen, Senator Sam Dastyari and David Coleman.


As the leader of the Federal Labor Party I want to emphasise the deep friendship that my party treasures with the Chinese community here, abroad and in China.


It was my predecessor the great Gough Whitlam who opened up Australia’s relationship with China.


I also lead a party that has introduced and continues to uphold the Racial Discrimination Act.


It is a law in Australia that speaks for Australia’s deep respect for diversity and embracing multiculturalism.


And I look forward to joining with many of you tonight in celebrating its anniversary later this month.


Acknowledging the work of Mr Huang and Ambassador Ma, I wish to say tonight that Labor shares a history and governmental friendship that which goes back decades.


But Australia and our society has been the beneficiary of Chinese involvement for nearly two hundred years.


The first recorded migrant started working not far from where we are gathered here tonight.


He built his own business in Parramatta.


Since then, Australia’s been fortunate to have hundreds of thousands of people who have followed from Guangdong in the following two centuries.


Australia is lucky because we are like every other country in the world and we have enjoyed the benefits of the great Guangdong diaspora and so many citizens of that most amazing region of China who’ve chosen to come to Australia.


People from Guangdong have enriched Australia with new skills and enterprise, in medicine, finance, business and banking.


Chinese Australians generally have built our nation through their hard work, their ingenuity, their patience and their intelligence.


Friends, the Chinese migrant story will always be part of the heart of Australia’s story.


My party Labor has always supported prosperous, mutually beneficial relations between Australia and China and we are very positive about the bilateral relationship between Australia and China.


Indeed as I stand here tonight, Australia is about to write a new and exciting chapter in this strong relationship.


I speak of the China Free Trade Agreement.


The Labor Party I lead supports the China Free Trade Agreement and we are positive about the benefits of the China Free Trade Agreement.


We embrace the opportunities that will be shared by our two great nations.


I believe that our economic and cultural ties will only grow stronger as a result of ChAFTA.


And in supporting the agreement we also support clear laws to provide opportunities for all Australians.


It is critical therefore, that the wider Australian community supports this agreement for its long term success and being explicit in our Australian laws will indeed enhance this.


It should be clear friends that on the Chinese Free Trade Agreement it is not a matter of whether the deal get’s done, but simply how it is best enabled.


None of Labor’s ideas will affect the actual ChAFTA agreement with China – and we intend to help spell out how the agreement would work in partnership with Australia’s laws.


Labor’s principles simply state the protections for Australian jobs that all communities would expect in any agreement.


I’m confident that as we resolve positively the China Free Trade Agreement our nations will come further together.


Labor is positive a resolution will be achieved and achieved soon.


Tonight we meet as friends to celebrate the work of nearly two centuries of working together.


Hundreds of thousands of Chinese Australians in our communities as Australian citizens.


Hundreds of thousands of younger students from China in our universities.


Australian researchers, engineers and designers helping drive solar technology in China.


Chinese violinists playing in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


I list these because China and Australia and more importantly the Chinese people and the Australian people have built enduring friendships and personal connections.


I can assure all of those visitors to Australia, be it from Guangdong or other countries from around the world that in Australia no Australian is ever unhappy when a family from Guangdong move in next door.


No business in the high street of Australia is ever unhappy when we have Chinese entrepreneurs, someone with a business idea improving the overall prosperity of our country.


And I can promise you, as visitors and welcomed guests to Australia, doing us the great honour of your eighth conference being held in Australia, I can promise you that when younger Chinese Australians receive the prizes on school nights right across Australia, as they invariably do, every parent in Australia is grateful for the values of family, hard work and respect for learning which Guangdong Australians, and indeed all Chinese Australians, bring to this very happy country.


Have a lovely conference.