SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

SPEECH

28 April 2019

CHISHOLM CAMPAIGN LAUNCH – MELBOURNE

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Can I first acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

Can I thank and acknowledge all of my parliamentary colleagues who are here. Can I thank all of you for coming and if you don’t mind, can I just say it’s really nice to have my father in the room. We spend most of our lives in different countries so it’s nice that he has an opportunity to see me in Australia on a campaign.

It does say something doesn’t it about what sort of country we are that we have Malaysian-born woman launching a campaign for a Taiwanese-born woman in a laksa kitchen in Melbourne.

And what a great candidate you have. A woman that has achieved so much as a councillor, and a mayor, who now looks to represent you in the House of Representatives of the Federal Parliament.

Can I say this, as the first Asian-born woman in the Federal Parliament in the nation’s history, I really want there to be a second.

Chisholm is a wonderful electorate, and it says so much about this wonderful city, this modern, inclusive, international city that is Melbourne. And it is a seat that reminds us, yet again, why we are one of the most successful multicultural nations in the world. A place where people from all corners of the world have come and chosen to make their home.

We know that more than one in every four Australians were born overseas. Nearly half of us were either born overseas or have a parent born overseas. We are a country that has been built by our First Australians and by migrants from every part of this world and that diversity has made us a stronger and fairer nation.

That is something about which we should be very proud because we reject discrimination and prejudice. We affirm respect, acceptance and inclusion. These are the values of your community, these are your values and these are the values of the Australian Labor Party. A party that has never preferenced One Nation and Pauline Hanson and we never will.

We will always stand against racism and we will always stand against those who exploit division to win votes. We will always put last those people who demonise other Australians on the basis of their race or their religion or their faith.

Sadly we know this is not the case with our opponents. Sadly, I’m sure, all of you here remember when Pauline Hanson had something to say about people like Jennifer and I. Remember? We were all going to be swamped by Asians. And now Scott Morrison is doing deals with Clive Palmer, a bloke who in 2014 described the Chinese as bastards and mongrels. As I said on Friday, it was a marriage of convenience between an adman and a conman.

What all the people of this community need to know, what all decent Liberal voters in Victoria need to know, is what are the deals that your Prime Minister Mr Morrison has done with Clive Palmer? What has he been prepared to sell out to win his vote? The fact is, we know Mr Morrison is so desperate to cling on to power he will do anything and pay anything in order to ensure he is returned to government.

And you know what the outcome for Australia is? More division, more disunity, and if they are, sadly, returned, more chaos. More chaos from a divided, dysfunctional government.

Just as bad, we learned yesterday that despite promises from Mr Morrison that Pauline Hanson would be put last, we have senior members of the Coalition including the Deputy Minister himself, have done a deal to trade votes with One Nation.

According to one newspaper outlet, the Nationals will give their preferences to One Nation “in defiance of Mr Morrison’s edict”. It is not defiance, it is a deliberate strategy. It is a cynical and dishonest plan to make voters here in Chisholm, here in Victoria, think the Liberals are rejecting Pauline Hanson while doing secret deals with her in Queensland so they can re-elect themselves.

I say this. This is beneath the standards anyone should expect of a Prime Minister of whatever party. John Howard put One Nation last. Tim Fischer put One Nation last, but Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack – who is, by the way, the Deputy Prime Minister – why can’t they do it too?

Your state was a beacon to this nation when you rejected in the state election the politics of fear, the politics of division. And I hope on May 18 your state yet again says no to cynical and dishonest deals, and says no to support from the Coalition to Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer. You need to say no by voting Jennifer Yang.

Elections are always about choices. What sort of future do we choose for ourselves and our families and our children?

This election is a choice between a fair go for all Australians, or more cuts and more chaos and more division.

A choice between a party that wants to defend tax loopholes, or a Labor Party committed to investing more money in Victorian hospitals, the biggest cancer care package in our nation’s history, and today announced by Bill Shorten, an investment in pensioner dental care. Support for nearly 3 million Australian pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Healthcare Card holders. The next extension to Medicare from a Labor Government.

It is a choice between massive cuts to education, or a Labor Party which will put back every cent of the $800 million taken from your schools and your universities and your TAFEs.

It is a choice between a Liberal Party which has delivered declining wages and hikes to childcare costs, or Labor, which will deliver a massive boost to childcare subsidies, to the benefit of nearly a million Australian families.

And it is also a choice between a Liberal Party so paralysed by its internal warfare on climate change that it cannot do anything, and a Labor Party which is committed to action on climate change.

And I want to say something about this, because I know how important this is to so many people in this community, and how passionately you believe in this. I was the Minister for Climate Change in a Labor Government. We ratified the Kyoto Protocol. We expanded the Renewable Energy Target. We put in place a cap on pollution. That is what we did because we understood that talking about climate change, making large grandiose statements, was not what was required, because what we had to do was change how our economy worked. We had to ensure we invested in clean energy and renewable energy. And all that was taken away, all that was taken away by the Coalition, and it will take a Labor Government, a Labor Government, to ensure action on climate is returned to the agenda.

And above all, it is a choice between a party that has had three Prime Ministers in four years, a party which is divided amongst itself, and the Labor team that is stable, united and experienced. A team that with Bill and Tanya leading it, is out there talking every day about schools, hospital, wages and climate change.

What we see from those opposite is fear and smear. You know why? You can’t run on your record when your record is cuts and chaos, and you can’t run on stability when you hate each other.

Just returning to this seat. In 2016, a great servant of the people of Chisholm, Anna Burke, retired after many years and the Liberals won this seat. She was replaced by a Liberal, Julia Banks, who was treated so badly by the Liberals that she left the Liberal Party.

And now she has been replaced by a Liberal candidate who, frankly, has been prepared to do and say anything, including saying things which are not true, in order to get herself elected.

It’s time that this community got the opportunity to have a Member of Parliament who is committed to the people of Chisholm.

An MP who treats people with respect.

An MP who will unite this community, not simply stoke further division.

An MP who puts the people they represent ahead of themselves, and that person is Jennifer Yang.

I am extremely proud to be here alongside her, to launch her campaign. Jennifer is exactly the sort of person we need in Canberra – a committed, qualified woman, dedicated to her community, in touch with the values of the community, and, as importantly, a woman who will make our parliament more equal and more representative of the wonderful, diverse Australian community that we are.

Friends, I know a great deal of effort has gone into the campaign to date. I know a great deal of effort has gone into organising this event, and I want to thank all of you for the commitment you have made to knocking on doors, making calls, handing out at polling booths between now and polling day, including on polling day, but I want to say to you, work harder!

Work harder. Work harder. Because we don’t win government without her. We don’t win government without Jennifer Yang. And so if you want not just a great MP, but if you want a Shorten Labor Government that will act on climate change, that will ensure better schools and better hospitals, that will expand Medicare through our cancer care package and our dental care package.

If you want a government that stands against prejudice and if you want a united and stable team running the country elect Jennifer Yang, a woman who passionately believes in a better Australia, a fairer Australia, a diverse and multicultural Australia, and most of all, will put the people of Chisholm first.

Thank you.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.