PM Julia Gillard's speech at Country Conference
In September 2010, just a few days after I formed this Federal Government, I came to country New South Wales.
Tags: Country Labor
I went to Bathurst to a great institution of Labor in the regions, the dinner for the ‘Light on the Hill’. It was a good chance to thank you, to thank you, the people of country Labor, for everything that you did to secure government for our party in 2010.
I'll never forget it.
And delegates in the 18 months that have that have passed since, despite everything that's been thrown at us since that day, that's what my Labor team has done.
We've got on with the job, we've pursued that Light on the Hill.
We've not just talked about reform, we have delivered reform. We've made a real difference for millions of Australian lives.
Friends, your Labor Government, the Labor Government I lead, has secured great Labor reforms. Reforms which will make us stronger and fairer for the years to come.
We've put a price on carbon and we’ve seized a clean energy future.
This Labor Government.
We're putting in place a minerals resource rent tax to better share the mineral wealth, to make sure that regions like this one get infrastructure, that working Australians get higher superannuation, and that there are lower taxes for Australian small businesses.
Friends, achieved by this Labor Government.
We've secured an historic health agreement with every state and territory, up and running right now, delivering real benefits today.
This Labor Government.
We've secured the structural separation of Telstra, and we've begun the roll-out of the National Broadband Network to bring jobs and opportunities and better services to the regions where you live, no matter where Australians live.
Friends, that's a nation-changing reform from this Labor government. And we are rolling out reforms to education, reforms that I designed and we are adding to them.
Yesterday, I had the great delight of launching the most recent version of My School, part of our great suite of education reforms. More information than any of us have ever had before on the performance of Australian schools.
Information is good, but it's better when it's used, and we are using it to guide new investments, to uplift standards in schools right around the country, but most particularly, the kids that are in the disadvantaged schools are seeing the benefits of our reform, a great Labor approach, a great Labor reform.
And friends, we’ve ensured too that the lowest paid workers in this country see rising living standards and they will pay less tax.
And yesterday, too, I was very proud to join some of the 150,000 social and community services workers who will see more recognition and reward for their incredible hard work, because of this Labor Government.
And friends, we've achieved all of this whilst making the hard decisions, to get the budget back to surplus in 2012-13 and at a time when we have kept creating jobs so we can now proudly say to each other, there are more Australians in work today than ever before under this Labor Government.
Delegates, this is your Labor Government. And these things are the measure of our success.
Not polls or headlines but real achievements on behalf of working people.
These things we achieve for the Australian people, these meaningful and lasting reforms, these are the measure of a great Labor Government.
And delegates, there is so much more to do.
So many tasks still lie ahead of us.
Leadership is about delivering against the odds and in the face of adversity. It's about having a plan for change and then delivering on that plan.
That’s how you change things, that's how you make a difference to people's lives and that's exactly what this Labor Government has and is doing.
We have the plans for the future, the plans for education, the plans for jobs, the plans we are delivering on.
And we are making sure that wherever you live in this vast nation of ours, you are getting your fair share.
Delegates, I am absolutely determined that we use every day of government and every ounce of our energy to deliver today to working people, to run the economy in their interests, to make sure that we support hard-working families, that we give them the benefits that they need, whether they've got a child just born, a child in kindergarten, a child at school, a child in an apprenticeship, a child going to university - that we are there with them.
Whether they are caring for an older relative, or someone with a disability, that we will be there with them.
And at the same time, we are a party of the future.
So whilst we deliver today, we will be building the economy we will need for tomorrow, an economy in which every Australian has a stake and every Australian has the best of opportunities and the ability to prosper.
This is the vision.
This is the mission of your Labor Government.
And this is what gets me out of bed every morning, delegates.
They're the things that I care about, and that's the kind of country I want to live in.
Delegates, we need to be very frank with each other.
Has it cost us politically doing some of these very hard things?
Absolutely, it has. You betcha.
But did we put the nation's future first when we made those decisions?
Absolutely we did. And because we showed that coverage, delegates, because we showed that ability to shape our nation's future I am incredibly confident about our prospects of success when we present at the next election in around 18 months’ time.
Delegates, there is lazy talk around about defeat in that election campaign.
It is a shame.
I’ve come here to say to you today, it is not in our Labor culture, it is not in our Labor way to be defeatist.
I don't have a defeatist bone in my body and I am confident we will prevail in 2013.
And delegates, I can be so confident of that because I'm so confident in our policies and plans. In the differences that they will make in the lives of Australians. The real things that people will judge on in 2013.
I'm also confident of that delegates because I know, as you know, just how hollow at the core is Tony Abbott's campaign for the Prime Ministership. How hollow it is.
Friends, I have the opportunity, maybe opportunity isn't the right word, but day after day I sit in question time very close to Tony Abbott. I have the opportunity to see him up close.
And friends, most days he reminds me of a two-year-old who is tired and having a tantrum.
He's so enthralled by the tantrum he has forgotten why he is having it and he has no ability to explain what he wants to stop having it.
He apparently started having the tantrum because he was opposed to seizing a clean energy future. Even though, in the past, he has been in favour of putting a price on carbon.
And he apparently started having the tantrum because he thinks we shouldn't have the carbon price but he can't explain to you how he's going to take it away without also ripping out of the hands of millions and millions of Australians tax cuts, pension increases and family payments increases that make them better off.
And he apparently started having the tantrum because he was concerned about government debt, but here he is now with a $70 billion black hole, more debt or $70 billion of cuts to services that hard-working families need.
And he apparently started having the tantrum because he wanted to stop the boats. But every day he has been having the tantrum he has actually pursued in the part a political strategy to make sure that there are more boats and his only pledge about so-called stopping the boats is to put the lives of young Australians at risk in our Australian Defence Force.
That is the hollowness at the centre of Tony Abbott's claim to be Prime Minister.
And delegates, let’s think about the choice that the nation will face in 2013. How stark and clear that choice will be.
We will be saying to Australians in this time of record prosperity, in our mining sector, that Australians around the country should be sharing the benefits of that wealth.
He will be saying to Australians standing alongside some of the richest Australians country, people who aren't millionaires, they are billionaires, he will be saying to working Australians can you give these benefits back?
Can a region like this one back its infrastructure dollars so I can give a tax cut to some of the wealthiest Australians who have ever lived?
The choice, delegates, will be so clear.
And the choice will be clear, too, as we take to that election campaign our proud track record of improving education and health and he will go there with plans for cuts.
Cuts to schools, cuts to hospitals, cuts to apprenticeships.
He is opposed to kids having computers in schools. He's even opposed to the money that is going into improving teacher quality and helping disadvantaged kids get a chance.
That will be the choice in 2013.
Delegates, the choice will be such a clear one.
Whether we help working people today or put WorkChoices back around their necks; that will be the choice in 2013.
So I am absolutely confident, delegates, when we go to that election campaign, presenting our choice for working Australians, our choice for managing the economy in their interests, our choice for continuing to provide to them the benefits that they need to make a life and to have an opportunity, our choice for fairness at work, and our choice to embrace and shape the challenges of the future and not stand still, we will prevail at the end of that election campaign and it will be the end of Tony Abbott's tantrum.
I’m confident of that, delegates.
Delegates, you all know the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party has a big decision to make on Monday and I didn't come here today to canvass your support in that ballot.
But I did come here to say to you two things: the federal Labor Party doesn't face just one big decision on Monday, it faces two. First, we must choose a leader in the ballot I've called.
Second, we must choose unity after the ballot is declared.
Delegates, I've come to you today to say that is what your federal representatives will do.
They will choose unity.
Because I know my Labor colleagues, the men and women who make up the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, I know them well.
They went into public life because they believe in something.
In a Labor vision of the future and in delivering on that vision in government.
Labor politics is about what is best for millions and millions of working people. Their jobs, their kids, their communities, their future. And my Labor colleagues know that.
And on Monday afternoon, I promise you this: the caucus will come together to keep working in the interests of the Australian people each and every day.
I know that they'll do it on Monday, because even in adversity the overwhelming majority of your representatives have been doing it every day.
Delegates, fairness for Labor has never just meant fairness no matter what you do for a living. It's also meant fairness no matter where you live.
That is how Labor governs this country, governs the country we love.
It's how we govern it now and it's how we will campaign in country Australia in 2013.
You know that too from our policies like the NBN, bringing the benefits of broadband everywhere.
You know that too from what we've done and continue to do in education.
It has always been an offence to me that a country kid had less of a chance of going to a university than a child growing up in a city, and delegates we're changing that.
Have no doubt and feel free to look at the most recent statistics as to who now gets to go to university under our Labor reforms.
More places than ever before, more kids from poorer backgrounds and more support for country students than there’s ever been.
And friends it's always been an offence to me too that you are more likely to die of cancer if you live in country Australia than if you live in the city.
It's a great offence to us as a nation, and we are changing that.
Through the historic health reforms we have struck. Better care in country Australia, whether it's GP super-clinics or regional cancer centres.
We are not going to leave people who live outside our cities without the best of health care and the best of our efforts to get it to them.
Friends that's our vision.
And of course our vision is of more jobs for the future, jobs spread to every corner of the nation.
Friends, your Labor Government, the Labor Government I am so proud to lead, has secured great Labor reforms.
But we didn't do it alone.
We couldn't have done it without you.
Thank you for everything you did. All you did. The amazing efforts you went to.
When we had to raise the flag of Labor during that toughest of election campaigns in 2010.
Thank you for your faith then, keep that faith now, and I'll see you on the campaign trail in 2013, when we defeat Tony Abbott.
Friends, thank you very much.
, Country Labor Conference
, Julia Gillard