Speeches

A stronger economy for all Australians

December 16, 2018

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Thank you President Swan, congratulations on your new gig and for you contribution, along with Peter and Tanya and Bill this morning. And Chris, thank you for moving the Chapter and for the characteristically collegiate way you've gone about working with so many people here to put it together. And delegates, thank you for the opportunity to proudly second what is probably the most progressive economic platform in the modern history of our movement - a platform which puts inclusive growth and reward for effort and a decent social safety net at the centre of our efforts to advance the fair go in this nation. 

 

For us, the fair go is not just something we put in the front of a lectern, it's our reason for being. It's in our DNA, it's why we are here in Adelaide this weekend. We understand that, above all else, being in the Labor Party is about believing in something bigger than yourself, believing that the economy should serve working people and not just the other way around. And we also understand that as it stands right now, the economy is not delivering for middle Australia. Across the board, the deck is stacked against people who work and who struggle - in tax, in industrial relations, in the cost of living. 

 

And we understand and agree something else as well: you don't grow this economy by showering largesse on the top end of town and hoping against all the available and historical evidence that somehow it will trickle down to everybody else. You don't grow the economy by giving the biggest tax breaks to those who need them least, or by making it easier to sack people or to pay them less on weekends. 

 

That's the Liberals' approach, and all it has delivered is a slowing economy and the triple whammy of weak wages, weak saving, and weak spending in our economy all at once. It has delivered profits which are growing six times faster than wages, debt which has more than doubled on the Liberals' watch, and a nation less equal and less mobile and more divided.

 

We know in our movement that the best kind of growth is inclusive and people powered and bottom up. That it comes from investing in people and their aspirations. And we know that if we make the tax system fairer, we can pay down debt and we can make room for what we truly value as a society, like better hospitals and schools and kindy and preschool and uni and affordable housing. We take those responsibilities seriously.

 

We need to rewrite the rules of the economy so that it delivers for middle Australia again. We need to advance the fair go along the lines outlined by our leader Bill Shorten this morning. That's what this chapter is all about, that's what we are all about, and I'm proud to commend it to you delegates. Thank you.

 

ENDS

WE'LL PUT PEOPLE FIRST