I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet. I pay my respects to the elders past, present and emerging. And on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I commit to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.
And I say to my fellow Australians, thank you for this extraordinary honour.
Tonight, the Australian people have voted for change. I am humbled by this victory and I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to serve as the 31st prime minister of Australia.
My Labor team will work every day to bring Australians together. And I will lead a government worthy of the people of Australia. A government as courageous and hard-working and caring as the Australian people are themselves.
Earlier tonight, Scott Morrison called me to congratulate myself and the Labor Party on our victory at the election. Scott very graciously wished me well. And I thanked him for that and I wish him well. And I thank him for the service that he has given to our country as prime minister. I also want to acknowledge and thank Jenny Morrison and their two daughters for their contribution and sacrifice as well.
My fellow Australians, it says a lot about our great country that a son of a single mum who was a disability pensioner, who grew up in public housing down the road in Camperdown, can stand before you tonight as Australia’s prime minister.
Every parent wants more for the next generation than they had. My mother dreamt of a better life for me. And I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars. I want Australia to continue to be a country that no matter where you live, who you worship, who you love or what your last name is, that places no restrictions on your journey in life.
During this campaign, I have put forward a positive, clear plan for a better future for our country. And I have shared the two principles that will [shape] a government that I lead. No one left behind because we should always look after the disadvantaged and the vulnerable. But also no one held back because we should always support aspiration and opportunity. That is what my government will do. That is the what, but the how is also just as important because I want to bring Australians together.
I want to seek our common purpose and promote unity and not fear and—optimism, not fear and division. It is what I have sought to do throughout my political life. And what I will bring to the leadership of our country. It is a show of strength to collaborate and work with people, not weakness.
I want to find that common ground where together we can plant our dreams. To unite around our shared love of this country, our shared faith in Australia’s future, our shared values of fairness and opportunity, and hard work and kindness to those in need. And I can promise all Australians this—no matter how you voted today, the government I lead will respect every one of you every day. And I’ll seek to get your vote next time.
We are the greatest country on Earth. But we can have an even better future if we seize the opportunities that are right there in front of us. The opportunity to shape change, rather than be shaped by it. And we can shape change more effectively if we seek to [bring] people on that journey of change.
Together, we can end the climate wars.
Together, we can take advantage of the opportunity for Australia to be a renewable energy superpower.
Together, we can work in common interests with business and unions to drive productivity, lift wages and profits. I want an economy that works for people, not the other way around.
Together, we can as a country say that all of us, if the Fair Work Commission don’t cut the wage of minimum aged workers, we can say that we welcome that absolutely.
Together, we can strengthen universal healthcare through Medicare.
We can protect universal superannuation.
And we can write universal childcare into that proud tradition.
Together, we can fix the crisis in aged care.
Together, we can make forward equal opportunity for women a national economic and social priority.
Together, we can and will establish a national anti-corruption commission.
Together, we can be a self-reliant, resilient nation, confident in our values and in our place in the world.
And together we can embrace the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We can answer its patient, gracious call for a voice enshrined in our constitution. Because all of us ought to be proud that amongst our great multicultural society, we count the oldest living continuous culture in the world. And I acknowledge Australia’s next indigenous affairs minister, Linda Burney, who is here.
My fellow Australians, no one gets here by themselves. And I wouldn’t be standing here tonight without the support, hard work and belief of so many people. To my parliamentary team, including my deputy, Richard Marles, and my Senate leader, Penny Wong. My terrific economic team led by Jim Chalmers and Katy Gallagher.
On Monday morning, arrangements are in place to have these people sworn in as members of my team. To enable Penny and I to attend the important Quad leader’s meeting in Tokyo, with President Biden, Prime Minister Kishida and Prime Minister Modi. And I want the leaders of the economic team to start work on Monday morning as well.
I wanted to thank my shadow ministry and my amazing caucus members, including the people who are here tonight at this joint function in the corner of our seats, including Tony Burke, who is here.
I want to thank all of our Labor candidates. I want to thank all those who have worked so hard for this victory. We stand on your shoulders.
Most rank and file members of the Labor Party will never ask for anything. They knock on doors, they make calls, they work so hard. They hand out how-to-votes. They push the cause of Labor at the local P&C, the local kids’ footy, the local netball, when they’re shopping in the supermarket, when they talk to their neighbours. I thank each and every one of the true believers of the Australian Labor Party.
And I proudly thank the members of the mighty trade union movement.
I do want to thank my campaign director, our amazing national secretary, Paul Erickson, and his team. My staff are led by my first campaign director back in 1996. And my electorate office team who haven’t seen that much of me, who look after this electorate led by Helen Rogers, thank you very much.
But to all those—and I’m not going to name them because there’s too many—there’s a lot of people who believed in me and backed me over many decades in this great movement to be where I am today. You know who you are and I know who you are and I thank you.
I said I’ve been underestimated my whole life during the campaign. Now while all that is true, I have also been lifted up by others who saw something in me. And who encouraged me in life on this journey. And I pledge to the Australian people here tonight, I am here not to occupy the space, but to make a positive difference each and every day.
And to the amazing diverse people of Grayndler. All politics is local. And in 1996, there were various people who wrote off the chances of Labor holding on to that seat. This is my 10th election. And I want to say thank you for placing your faith in me. It is an absolute honour to be your voice in our national parliament.
To my partner, Jodie, thank you for coming into my life and for sharing this journey. And to my proudest achievement, my son, Nathan, thank you, mate, for your love and support. Your mother, who’s here tonight, Carmel, we are both so proud of the caring, wonderful, smart young man you have become.
To my mum who’s beaming down on us, thank you. And I hope there are families in public housing watching this tonight. Because I want every parent to be able to tell their child no matter where you live or where you come from, in Australia, the doors of opportunity are open to us all. And like every other Labor government, we’ll just widen that door a bit more.
Friends, we have made history tonight. And tomorrow, together, we begin the work of building a better future. A better future for all Australians.
Thank you very much.