SPEECH INTRODUCING BILL SHORTEN
ACT LABOR CONFERENCE
SATURDAY 23 JULY, 2016
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Friends, delegates, comrades. The leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party isn't just another political leader of Australia. They are the keeper of the flame of innovation, hope and ideas. They create positive policies, and keep the work of nation building alive.
If you want to understand Bill Shorten, you need to go back to his first speech in Parliament. There, Bill talked about union meetings in woolsheds, meeting with steel workers, meeting with underground miners. Helping netballers and jockeys. Bill Shorten has helped more workers than Malcolm Turnbull has accounts in offshore tax havens!
Bill is passionate about discrimination. He spoke in his first speech about the importance of making sure we have full participation of women in Australian public life, and of Indigenous Australians. It's what led him to campaign for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and to campaign now for same-sex marriage.
Bill is egalitarian to the core. In his first speech he said that his motto was: never give up. You saw that in the course of the last three years. There were times when people wrote Labor off - even wrote Bill off - but he never stopped fighting. Fighting for Medicare, for housing affordability, for needs-based funding for schools, for fair university access, for penalty rates, for a strong public service, for effective action on climate change and for the invisible Australians who every day rely on Labor's policies.
Bill brought us to within a hair's breadth of victory at the last election. And he is the first Federal Labor leader in a generation to address the ACT Labor Conference.
Now I know that there’s this convention in Australian politics that you don’t introduce an Opposition Leader as 'the next Prime Minister of Australia' until the election is getting close. But with the instability inside the Turnbull Government, the next election can't be far away!
Labor is back. Bill is here. Put your hands together for the next Prime Minister of Australia, Bill Shorten.
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