SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

SPEECH

5 May 2019

ALP CAMPAIGN LAUNCH – BRISBANE CONVENTION CENTRE

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Friends

This election campaign has had wonderful high points.

Last Sunday in Melbourne, when Bill announced our plan to give three million pensioners and seniors not just new dental care, but new dignity, was definitely one.

I thought seeing Bill call Morrison a ‘space invader’ on Friday night was pretty good too.

But it’s being here with you today that is the great moment.

Of course, there have been some bizarre moments as well.

That radio interview where Barnaby Joyce talked about

“The Queensland Labor government …
… the Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor, Labor government.”

Annastacia, I reckon we should get him to launch your State campaign.

Tony Abbott down in Warringah, trying to rebrand himself as a champion of climate action.

Trying to tell us that the decade-long civil war inside the Liberal Party over climate change is a thing of the past.

Well as Tony might say: Nope. Nope. Nope.

And as for what Peter Dutton said about Ali France, we won’t forget.

But I’ll tell you what I found even more appalling, what I think was the actual low point of a pretty ordinary LNP campaign.

It was when Michael McCormack – the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia – said he would be doing a deal with One Nation.

Why?

Because his values and policies are “aligned” with those of Pauline Hanson.

That’s what he said.

Friends

In any society there will always be an undercurrent of disrespect, weak or strong.

At any time there will be groups of haters, small or large.

But at this election we have a major political party seeking to embolden those people and amplify their voice.

A Liberal Party and a National party seeking government propped up by the preferences of Palmer.

Clinging on for dear life to One Nation.

And – at any opportunity – giving a nod and a wink to the extreme right, to Senators and candidates so often condemned by their own vile language and their own hateful words.

Just this morning Josh Frydenberg defended those deals by declaring “unless you are in jail, you can run for office.”

Well I think Australians deserve better that that.

The Liberals and the Nationals and their far-right alliance don’t care about the diversity and unity we’ve worked so hard for in Australia.

They don’t cherish the progress I’ve seen in my own lifetime.

They will compromise it all. They will give it all away.

For nothing more than a handful of votes, in a handful of seats, from a handful of haters.

And this isn’t just something the conservative parties do, it’s become who they are.

For all the chaos and division from Abbott and Joyce, through to Morrison and McCormack, what they really have in common is this.

They are small men.

Small men, with small ideas.

The Government has no plan for climate change, no plan for better schools.

Australians need higher wages and more secure work.

But this government has no clue, and no purpose.

But I’ll give them this – they can get it together when they really need to.

They can always agree to fight for tax loopholes for their mates.

My friends.

Labor has a very different plan, because we are very different people.

More generous, more serious and better prepared.

And truly dedicated to that fundamental Australian value that every one of us is equal.

No matter who your parents were, no matter where you were born, or who you love.

Labor is a long way from our opponents on this.

We are side by side with the Australian people.

And that is why I believe this election matters so much.

That’s why I believe the team that forms the next Government of Australia has so much to do.

That’s why I’m so proud of what my colleagues have done to make Labor ready to govern again.

And that’s why I’m so pleased to introduce a few of them to you.

Our champion for the environment – a Shadow Minister for nine years, a Minister for six – the most passionate supporter of Australia’s national estate in the parliament – stand up Tony Burke!

Our voice of health – a Shadow Minister for six years, a Minister for three – the woman who helped save Medicare in 2016 and will expand it in 2019 – stand up Catherine King!

Our advocate in infrastructure – a Shadow Minister for twelve years, Minister for six, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia – fighting Tories for a lifetime – my dear friend Albo.

Our beating heart on industrial relations – a Shadow Minister for six years, Minister for six more – who has fought to save the weekend, every day – Brendan O’Connor!

The first Indigenous woman on federal Labor’s front bench – Shadow Minister for three years, a State Minister for four – who brings so much grace and dignity to our caucus – Linda Burney!

The economic architect of our program – Shadow Minister for seven years, Minister for six, the former Labor Treasurer of Australia – and the future Labor Treasurer of Australia – Chris Bowen.

We are a united team. We are ready to govern.

And friends – we are very, very well led.

Leadership is a team sport – and we have a great leadership team. You’re about to see living proof of that.

Please welcome.

My friend.

The Deputy Labor Leader.

And the next Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

Tanya Plibersek.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.