site advertisement

Television Interview - Flashpoint WA

Address to Victorian Labor Conference

Thank you, Premier, for that introduction, for your leadership and your many decades of friendship.

We are a long way from sharing a really dodgy flat in Queanbeyan.

Colleagues, delegates, true believers.

It’s great to be back at Victorian Labor Conference, my first as Australia’s Prime Minister.

And it’s great that the Victorian Labor Conference is back.


I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet and I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

I am proud to lead a government that will give every Australian the opportunity to vote for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a referendum later this year.

I want to thank you, Daniel, and the Victorian Government for so powerfully re-affirming your support for a Yes vote today.

It’s so important that you – along with every other Premier and Chief Minister – back a Yes vote.

And – of course – so does the mighty trade union movement, and I thank you for that.

So do faith leaders and multicultural groups.

So do big employers and universities.

So does every single major sporting code in this nation.

But most importantly – the Yes cause is being championed by the voices of everyday Australians.

Because the idea of Constitutional recognition through a Voice doesn’t belong to politicians or peak bodies.

It’s about achieving change from the ground up – and it came from the ground up, from the grassroots, the many years leading up to the First Nations constitutional convention held at Uluru in 2017.

It is the product of literally thousands of conversations among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people themselves.

Their hopes and aspirations, captured in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

That extraordinary, generous and gracious invitation – addressed to the Australian people, in a spirit of co-operation.

Asking all of us to walk together to a better future.

Later this year, all of us can say Yes to that request.

We can say Yes to recognising and celebrating the full 65,000 years of our history.

We can say Yes to practical change that will help close the gap and improve lives.

We can vote Yes for a stronger, fairer, more reconciled and more united Australia.

And I am optimistic the Australian people will rise to this moment and will vote Yes.



I am very fortunate to have a magnificent Victorian team in our Federal Caucus, led by an outstanding Deputy Prime Minister – my friend, Richard Marles.

And of course, you’ve probably noticed that the Victorian team has recently been increased.

Mary Doyle created history with her remarkable victory in Aston.

The first time a Government has won a seat from the Opposition at a by-election in over 100 years.

That makes it 25 out of 39 seats in the House of Representatives in addition to our four Labor Senators. A pretty good outcome.

It also added to the more than 50 per cent of women who make up our caucus, the first time that has ever happened in a national government.

Thous outcomes are a tribute to the great common sense of the people of Victoria – and it’s a tribute to all of you in this room.

A tribute to the energy and passion you give as volunteers, the calls you make, the doors you knock on, the time you dedicate to the cause of Labor.

And in particular, I want to recognise the life members we are honouring this weekend.

Every one of us who has the great honour of serving in the parliamentary party know that we stand on your shoulders – and we will never forget it.


Whenever I’m out and about with my Victorian colleagues in their electorates.

In the east or the west, in Melbourne or the regions.

In Ballarat, the home of Eureka.

In Aston, with a Labor MP for the first time in over 30 years.

In Higgins, with a Labor MP for the first time ever.

Wherever I am, I see new work underway, more signs of progress, more signs of change for the better.

I see another school being rebuilt, another TAFE being expanded.

Another level crossing being removed. I’ve given up trying to keep count.

New jobs in regional towns.

New hospitals in growing suburbs.

New clean energy projects up and running.

New infrastructure everywhere – Dan, surely it’s time to rename it ‘The Biggest Build’.

But I see social policy as well.

My government working with Daniel’s government to eliminate family and domestic violence.

New co-operation with the trade union movement and employers to make workplaces safer and fairer for all.

And new progress on an agenda of respect and equality for all Victorians. I think about all you have achieved – while facing-down one of the toughest tests that any Government has ever known.

And I genuinely shake my head that at the beginning of this year some of the commentators and people in the Opposition saying Dan was focused on the statue you get after ten years.

Because we all know there are already monuments to this Labor government that Daniel leads everywhere you look:

  • Good jobs
  • More reliable services
  • Healthier communities
  • Game-changing public transport like Melbourne Metro and the future Suburban Rail Loop

These are the monuments that Labor care about. We don’t do things for ourselves. We do things for the state of Victoria and the nation – the things that change lives.

Now all this matters even more, when the going gets tough, when the outlook is uncertain and families are under pressure.

You probably noticed that after May last year and November last year, there were more than a few Senior Liberals on the TV, usually Sky after Dark, quoted in the media saying:

“Well, not a bad election to lose”.

Of course, they never say that beforehand…but that’s a separate issue.

“Not a bad election to lose”.

That comment reveals so much about who the Liberals are and how they think.

They see hard times coming – and they run for cover.

They prefer sitting on the sidelines, taking cheap shots from the cheap seats, and saying no to anything that will help Australians.

That’s why I say that they are not so much the Coalition, they are the No-alition.

Just saying no to absolutely everything.

But none of us joined the labour movement to pass the time or to occupy the space.

We are here to govern. We’re here to get things done. We’re here to do what matters.

To deliver for the people who count on us, especially when they are doing it tough.

Creating opportunities and supporting aspiration, so no-one is held back.

And looking after people who really need help, so no-one is left behind.

That’s what drives my team each and every day.

Making sure that Australia comes through these challenging times stronger and more united and more prepared to seize the opportunities in front of us.

That’s what we’re focused on – working to ease the pressure on family budgets, while we strengthen the national budget.

Supporting people through adversity, while building for our national prosperity.

This is why, in our Budget, we have made the biggest investment in bulk-billing since Medicare was created.

Practical help that will see up to 11 million Australians see a doctor for free.

Including 2.8 million Victorians.

It’s why we’re working with State Governments like yours to deliver energy bill relief for 5 million households and 1 million small businesses nationwide.

Real help for 1.2 million Victorian families – and over 235,000 Victorian businesses.

And the Coalition voted against this support.

It’s why we are rolling-out 180,000 fee-free TAFE places this year – including 55,000 in Victoria.

And we’re going to deliver another 300,000 fee-free TAFE places from next year, so more Australians can get the skills they need for a good, secure job.

It’s why – starting next month – 1.2 million Australian families will benefit from our plan for Cheaper Child Care.

Including over 300,000 Victorian families.

Help for family Budgets – and, together with our expansion of Paid Parental Leave – an economic reform that will boost productivity and participation.

A central part of our commitment to the full, equal and respectful participation of women in our national economy.

A commitment which has already seen:

  • A record high participation rate
  • A record number of women in full time work
  • And record progress made in closing the gender pay gap.

Making our society fairer – and our economy stronger.

And this week, Labor re-affirmed that we are the party of jobs, jobs and jobs.

In our first twelve months in office, 465,000 jobs have been created.

The most jobs created in the first year of any government in Australian history.


The Labor Government I lead believes that every Australian deserves the security of a roof over their head.

Every Australian deserves the sense of connection and community and dignity and stability that a home provides.

This security gives you the opportunity to choose a career, start a family or expand yours, support your children’s education, plan for the future – knowing you have a place to call home.

That changes lives. It changed mine.

And we understand that if you want more people to have access to this opportunity, if you want more people to achieve this aspiration then it’s about supply – you need to build more housing.

One of the first things we did, on coming to Government was unlock $575 million to invest in more social and affordable homes.

In our first Budget we created the National Housing Accord, with the shared ambition of building 1 million new, well-located homes before the end of the decade.

In our second Budget we provided new incentives to support Build-to-Rent accommodation and significant additional resources for community housing.

And at our most recent National Cabinet, we agreed to work with the states and territories to strengthen renters’ rights and to deliver planning reforms that will boost housing supply and affordability.

Because we understand this is a national challenge where every level of Government has a role to play.

In that spirit, today I am proud to announce that our Government is creating a new $2 billion Social Housing Accelerator.

And we will deliver this funding to State and Territory Governments within the next two weeks.

I want to thank the Victorian Premier for his leadership.

We discussed this a little while ago, we’ve been talking it through about how you can make a difference.

And thank you for your support when we had National Cabinet yesterday.

All of the Premiers and Chief Ministers signed up not just to new additional funding but to reform as well.

I thank you for your leadership.

This is new money – right now – for new social housing.

The last decade has seen the proportion of social housing decline from 4.7 per cent to 4.2 per cent of households.

We had a Federal Government that didn’t even bother to have a Housing Minister for most of that time and never spoke about social housing.

There was an interjection from a rowdy bloke at the front – he said maybe it was a secret one. Perhaps that was the case.

Demand for social housing has increased almost three times as fast as the growth in population.

We are determined to work with State and Territory Governments to reverse this decline, as part of our commitment to expand housing supply.

I spoke with every Premier and Chief Minister before the meeting yesterday. But when we met virtually they all committed to ensuring that investment in housing will work alongside better planning laws, reforming zoning and freeing-up more land for new builds.

That’s what this is about: real dollars, driving real change and building more homes.

And our Government is not going to wait around while members of the Coalition and the Greens Political Party call for more housing in the media while opposing it in their electorates and voting against it in the Parliament.

The Greens Party imagine that their stubborn, inflexible refusal to compromise or negotiate serves their political interest.

But – delegates – our focus is on the national interest.

They are a party of protest. Happy to promise the world, while organising a petition against every new apartment building that’s proposed.

The fact is this: the Greens have blocked more houses than they’ve ever built.

But we are a party of Government – and we know Australians deserve the respect of practical action.

That’s why, instead of playing politics, we are getting on with the job.

Bringing together states and territories and local governments and the construction industry to get things done.

Securing more housing, for more Australians, in more parts of our nation.


We are the party that builds for the future.

Which is why, after a decade of delay and denial – we are taking action on climate change, so Australia can take its place as a renewable energy superpower.

We have an abundance of the natural resources and critical minerals that the world needs.

What’s been lacking is a Federal Government with the national ambition to match these natural advantages.

Well, what a difference a year can make.

Clean energy investment is now at record levels.

Rooftop solar – for households and small business – is growing faster than ever before.

And we are working with State Governments to approve renewable energy projects.

To train workers for new jobs in clean energy technology.

And to secure the cheaper and more reliable energy that will power a new generation of advanced manufacturing in places like Geelong and Bendigo and Ballarat.

And because we are a Labor Government, we are going to make sure that the Australians employed in these growing industries – as with everywhere else in the country – are fairly-paid for their hard work.

I’m proud that in our first year in Government:

We’ve consistently advocated for a real increase in the minimum wage, so the lowest paid workers don’t go backwards in hard times.

It was in Victoria here, standing next to your Premier, that I was asked would I support an increase in the minimum wage if the Fair Work Commission determined of $1 an hour?

And I said on that day: ‘Absolutely’.

And what occurred after that in the coming days was the Coalition catastrophising if any worker ever gets additional money.

They went out there and said the sky will fall in.

Well it’s a beautiful day here in Moonee Valley.

And as I was outside there, looking at the track, I saw that the sky is still there after that increase was given.

But the truth is that they have never seen a wage increase that they have supported.

We want an economy that works for people, not the other way around.

That is one of the big differences in Australian politics.

We have revitalised bargaining. We are getting employers and employees back to the table to negotiate improvements in productivity and pay.

We’ve made 10 days’ paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave part of the National Employment Standards.

We’ve made gender pay equity and job security objectives of the Fair Work Act.

We’ve abolished the ABCC – and the Registered Organisations Commission.

And in last month’s Budget, we provided $11.3 billion for a 15 per cent pay increase for aged care workers.


At each and every turn, there are those who claim these fair and sensible reforms are somehow signs of the apocalypse.

Especially our political opponents.

If the Victorian Liberals have become a conspiracy in search of a theory.

The Federal Opposition are basically a doomsday cult.

For them, every day is the end of days.

These are the people who said, literally, energy bill relief for families and businesses was ‘Venezuelan communism’.

They said giving early childhood educators the chance to negotiate for a better deal would ‘close down’ Australia and lead to general strikes.

They said our National Reconstruction Fund – investing in new jobs in manufacturing – was some kind of Trojan Horse for a union takeover of the economy.

And now, on that form line, with that track record – they are foaming and sweating about closing the loopholes in Labour Hire.

We recognise there’s a legitimate role for Labour Hire in a modern economy.

But it should be used to help firms secure workers with specialist skills, not abused to drive down pay or undermine security across the workforce.

We’re going to fix this – with fairness and common sense.

And we are negotiating those issues through in good faith.

Because if you have the same experience, same skills, wear the same uniform and do the same work to the same standard for the same company if you do the same job, of course you deserve the same pay.


More and more in the modern political debate, there are those who think being a progressive candidate or a progressive party is about a state of mind, or a choice of words.

They think it’s a question of their brand, their identity.

In the labour movement, we know there’s only one test that counts.

We know being progressive is about making progress, making an actual difference to people’s lives.

And that’s what we’re focused on.

Making Medicare stronger.

Making child care cheaper.

Making aged care better.

Making equality for women a national priority.

Making things here in Australia with advanced manufacturing.

Making sure that we seize the opportunities of cleaner, cheaper energy.

Making housing more affordable for more Australians.

Making sure this a more reconciled country, by recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution – and listening to their Voice.

And making every single day count.

This is the better Australia that Australians voted for.

This is the Better Future we are building, together.

View Original | Disclaimer

Have Your Say

We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia

Disclaimer | Contact Us | AusPol Forum
All rights are owned by their respective owners
Terms & Conditions of Use