PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6088

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON RJ HAWKE AC MP, TO THE VICTORIAN AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY CONFERENCE, MELBOURNE 17 APRIL 1983

Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 17/04/1983

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 6088

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON R. J. HAWKE A. C. M. P.
T0 THE VICTORIAN AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY CONFERENCE
MELBOURNE
17 APRIL 1983
DELEGATES, THIS IS THE FIRST CONFERENCE OF ANY BRANCH OF THE
AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY AT WHICH I HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY
o TO THANK EVERY MEMBER OF THE PARTY FOR THEIR WORK AND
THEIR DEDICATION WHICH CULMINATED IN THE GREAT TRIUMPH
THE SWEEPING VICTORY OF OUR GREAT PARTY ON 5 MARCH,
AND I DOUBLY APPRECIATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO
THAT IN MY HOME STATE, VICTORIA THE STATE WHICH MADE THE
BIGGEST SINGLE CONTRIBUTION TO THAT VICTORY.
AND IT WAS A CONTRIBUTION WHICH BEGAN LONG BEFORE
THE CAMPAIGN.
o No BRANCH OF THE PARTY HAS HAD TO CONTEND AGAINST
GREATER DIFFICULTIES OVER THE YEARS THAN VICTORIA.
Wt HAVC SUFFERED TOGETHER TREMENDOUS PROBLEMS AND
DIFFICULTIES. HERE WAS THE VERY CITADEL OF THE POWERFUL
CONSERVATIVE ESTABLISHMENT THE JEWEL IN THE LIBERAL PARTY
CROWN.

FOR YEARS THE DEMOGRAPHIC BALANCE -OR
IMBALANCE -SEEMED TO CONSPIRE AGAINST THE EXPRESSION
OF THE DEMOCRATIC WILL OF THE PEOPLE.
BUT WE HAVE WON THROUGH IN SPITE OF ALL.
AND WE ARE NOW IN THE UNPRECEDENTED POSITIONSOMETHING
THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE IN THE HISTORY
OF OUR PARTY OR THE HIS :-ORY OF THE FEDERATION THAT WE
HAVE AS MANY FEDERAL MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FROM VICTORIA,
0AND INDEED PROPORTIONATE LY, MORE THAN NEW SOUTH WALES,
THE TRADITIONAL HEARTLAND OF LABOR IN AUSTRALIA,
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN REGARDED
AS INCONCEIVABLE TEN YEARS AGO.
BUT THROUGH YOUR WORK AND DEDICATION AND LOYALTY,
IT HAS COME TO PASS.
AND OUR AIM IS TO KEEP IT THAT WAY TO KEEP
VICTORIA A GREAT LABOR STATE.
BUT THE TRANSFORMATION WHICH HAS OCCURRED IN THE
VICTORIAN SCENE . HAS BEEN PARALLELED THROUGHOUT THE NATION.
AND WE CAN TAKE PARTICULAR SATISFACTION IN THE
FACT THAT THE GREAT DRIVE TO VICTORY BEGAN IN VICTORIA,
AND IN A VERY REAL SENSE, BECAUSE OF VICTORIA.

-3
THE TRUST WHICH THE PEOPLE OF VICTORIA
. AND THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA HAVE PLACED ON US
IS SOMETHING WE CANNOT ESCAPE, AND SHOULD NOT WISH
TO ESCAPE, EVEN IF WE COULD,
AT SUCH A TIME AS THIS, I THINK IT IS
NECESSARY TO CONSIDER THE FUNDAMENTAL REASONS FOR OUR
EXISTENCE AS A PARTY, AND THE REASONS FOR OUR
SURVIVAL As AUSTRALIA'S OLDEST AND GREATEST PARTY.
AND I BELIEV/ E THAT THERE ARE TWO FUNDAMENTAL
PROPOSITIONS WE HAVE TO CONSIDER; THAT WE EXIST AS
A PARTY TO PROMOTE CERTAIN GREAT PRINCIPLES,
POLICIES AND PROGRAMS.
AND SECOND, WE EXIST AS A PARTY TO FORM
ELECTED GOVERNMENTS BY ACHIEVING THE SUPPORT OF A
MAJORITY OF THE VICTORIAN AND THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE.
AND THESE TWO THINGS ARE REALLY INSEPARABLE.
BECAUSE IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, THE BEST
PRINCIPLES, * THE BEST POLICIES, THE BEST PROGRAMS,
ARE IRRELEVANT UNLESS WE ARE ABLE TO FORM GOVERNMENTS
WHEREBY WE CAN PUT THOSE PRINCIPLES, POLICIES AND
PROGRAMS INTO PRACTICE, $ 14

/ 1
-I-4-
IT'S JUST ONE YEAR AGO THE THIRD OF APRIL 1983
THAT JOHN CAIN LED THE PARTY TO ITS MAGNIFICANT VICTORY.
UNTIL THAT DAY, WE HELD ONLY ONE MAINLAND
STATE NEW SOUTH WALES.
SINCE THEN, THE VICTORIAN LABOR PARTY HAS
STRENGTHENED ITS POSITION EVEN FURTHER, AND WE HAVE
WON GOVERNMENTS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA, WESTERN AUSTRALIA AND
OF COURSE, THE GOVERNMENT OF AUSTRALIA,
A TRANSFORMATION ON THIS SCALE HAS NOT
OCCURRED IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY SINCE 1943.
IN THE HISI
TRANSFORMAT FOR US ALL, THIS YEAR HAS BEEN INDEED THE ANNUS MIRIBILIS
ORY OF AUSTRALIAN LABOR.
Now DELEGATES, THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS
ION FOR THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIA ARE ENORMOUS,
BUT EQUALLY SIGNIFICANT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS
AS MEMBERS OF THIS GREATEST OF ALL PARTIES.

AND DELEGATES, WE SHOULD NEVER FALL FOR THE LINE
THAT THE PURSUIT AND RETENTION OF POWER AND HOLDING TO OUR
PR* INCIPLES ARE INCOMPATIBLE,
THERE IS NO COMPROMISE OF PRINCIPLE INVOLVED
IN COMING TO TERMS WITH REALITY.
AND I THINK THE TRUTH OF THAT IS WELL ILLUSTRATED
BY THE PROCEEDINGS AND THE OUTCOME OF THE SUMMIT CONFERENCE
IN CANBERRA LAST WEEK.
IT IS TRUE THAT ALL THE PARTICIPANTSGOVERNMENTS,
UNIONS AND BUSINESS WORKED TO REACH A
CONSENSUS; AND TO A QUITE REMARKABLE EXTENT, THEY
SUCCEEDED IN DOING SO.
BUT NO PARTY TO THE CONFERENCE WAS OBLIGED TO
ABANDON ANY BASIC PRINCIPLE.
THE UNION LEADERS IN PARTICULAR CARRIED OUT
THE JOB -IN SPIRIT AND IN DEED -THE JOB FOR WHICH THEY(
HAVE BEEN ELECTED BY THE UNION MEMBERSHIP -AND THAT IS,
TO ADVANCE THE TRUE INTERESTS OF THE MEMBERS.

I,
K -6-
AND IF THE CONCLUSIONS REACHED ALMOST
UNANIMOUSLY BY THAT HISTORIC CONFERENCE CAN BE MADE TO
WORK EFFECTIVELY, THEN EVERY TRADE UNIONIST IN AUSTRALIA,
EVERY AUSTRALIAN WORKER, WILL REAP THE BENEFIT THROUGH
MORE JOBS, LOWER INFLATION AND BETTER STANDARDS.
AND AT THAT CONFERENCE, THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT
DEMONSTRATED, FOR ALL AUSTRALIA TO SEE, THAT UNITY OF
PURPOSE, AND A PRINCIPLED, BUT FLEXIBLE APPROACH TO BASIC
ISSUES CAN ADVANCE THE INTERESTS, NOT ONLY OF THE MEMBERSHIP,
BUT OF THE COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE.
AND I BELIEVE THAT THAT IS THE APPROACH WE,
AS A PARTY, HAVE TO BRING TO OUR OWN AFFAIRS, AND WHICH WE,
AS LABOR GOVERNMENTS, HAVE TO BRING TO THE AFFAIRS OF
THIS STATE AND THIS NATION.
WE MUST NEVER ABANDON OR COMPROMISE ON OUR
PRINCIPLES. ON THE CONTRARY, OUR TASK IS TO WORK TO ENSURE
THAT THE BASIC LABOR PRINCIPLES THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF
REFORM, PROGRESS-AND EQUALITY ARE ENSHRINED NOT JUST IN
THE PLATFORM OF OUR PARTY, BUT IN THE ATTITUDES AND NATIONAL
CHARACTER OF OUR COUNTRY; AND TO ENSURE THAT THE IDEALS
AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY ARE THE IDEALS
AND ASPIRATIONS OF THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE AS A WHOLE. ./ 7

' 1 -7-
AND I BELIEVE, THAT IN THE SPACE OF A SINGLE YEAR
SINCE OUR LAST CONFERENCE, WE HAVE MOVED TOWARDS THAT
GOAL MORE DRAMATICALLY, MORE RAPIDLY, MORE CLOSELY,
THAN AT ANY TIME IN OUR PARTY'S LONG HISTORY.
BRIGHTER THE LIGHT ON THE HILL BECKONS US ALL,
THAN EVER. IT BURNS
DELEGATES, ONCE AGAIN, I TAKE THIS EARLIEST
OPPORTUNITY TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT, FOR YOUR WORK,
FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR GREAT PARTY, AND THROUGH OUR PARTY,
YOUR SERVICE TO OUR GREAT NATION.
' Jr I J. I

Transcript 6088