PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Gillard, Julia

Statement - 26 June 2013

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/06/2013

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 22662

As you would probably be aware by now, Kevin Rudd has been elected as leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. I congratulate Mr Rudd on his election.

In view of his election I have written to the Governor-General asking her to commission Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia.

I will shortly leave from this Parliament to see the Governor-General on this matter.

In accordance with the pledge I gave earlier today, I announce that I will not recontest the federal electorate of Lalor at the forthcoming Federal Election.

I will have time in the coming weeks to be back home in my electorate and to say hello and goodbye to the community that I've had the absolute privilege of representing in this parliament since 1998.

So I will keep comments about my electorate until that time.

Three years ago I had the very great honour of being elected as Labor leader. It followed having the honour of being elected as Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister following the 2007 election.

This privilege was truly humbling, I thank the Australian Labor Party ofr that privilege and I thank the Australian people for their support.

When I first put myself forward for consideration as Labor leader in 2010, I had the overwhelming support of my colleagues to do so. I thank them for that.

And I thank them for giving the opportunity to me not only to serve the nation, but to serve as the first female Prime Minister of this country.

In the years in which I have served as Prime Minister, predominantly I have faced a minority Parliament and I have also faced internal division within my political party. It has not been an easy environment to work in.

But I am pleased that in this environment, which wasn't easy, I have prevailed to ensure that this country is made stronger and smarter and fairer for the future.

I am very proud of what this Government has achieved, which will endure for the long term.

Very proud of the way in which we achieved health reform against the odds with newly elected conservative leaders.

Very pleased that we pushed through and put a price on carbon, an historic reform that will serve this nation well and which required us to have the guts and tenacity to stare down one of the most reckless fear campaigns in this nation's history.

What we have achieved through DisabilityCare, to launch on 1 July this year, apparently an obvious reform to everyone now, but something that it took this Labor Government to get done and I am very proud of it.

I am very proud too of the work that we have done in Australian schools. Today we passed the legislation which means 60 per cent of school children are covered by our new reforms.

But this great Labor mission must be concluded not only in the days that remain to 30 June, but in the days beyond by Labor winning the Federal Election.

It has been the defining passion of my life that every Australian child gets a great opportunity at a life of work and the dignity that comes with work, gets a great opportunity for the education that they should have and that reform is almost completed and it needs to be part of the continuing Labor project to get it done.

I'm also very proud of having commenced the Royal Commission Into Child Sexual Abuse in Institutional Settings.

This Royal Commission is now working its way around the country. I believe it will have many years of work in front of it, but it will change the nation.

It will change individual lives, as people get to come forward and tell their story. It will change the nation because we will learn how to better protect our children for the future.

I'm also very proud of the foreign policy achievements of this Government. Things people said couldn't be done, we have done; particularly we have strengthened both alliance with the United States while taking a major stride forward in our relationship with China.

I'm very pleased, too, that we have taken big strides forward in other relationships, including our relationship with India.

I am confident that I leave the prime ministership having strengthened the relationship with our major partners, every one of them.

I also believe that the work we have done in Afghanistan is something to be proud of as an Australian nation.

One of the things that has most delighted me as Prime Minister and before that as Deputy Prime Minister has been getting to know our Defence Force personnel.

I can't claim that I came out of opposition with any great experience in Defence, or any great exposure to Australian Defence Force personnel.

Now I have had both experience in Defence and that exposure, and whilst there are issues to address in our Defence Force about the treatment of women, overwhelmingly the men and women of our ADF are great Australians and getting to know them has been a real privilege.

I have, either as Prime Minister or as Acting Prime Minister, attended 24 funerals for soldiers lost in Afghanistan.

I am very aware of the courage and the sacrifice and part of being Prime Minister has been being there for those families in their darkest moments.

My colleagues through all of this journey have provided me with great support, and I want to thank them for that great support.

They defied political gravity time after time to provide me with more support as leader of the Labor Party.

When the going got incredibly tough, when all of those that read polls and do the commentary on them were saying that there was only one logical conclusion, and that was to change the leader, my colleagues showed courage, they showed determination, they showed spine in the face of that kind of pressure.

They showed conviction in our Labor project and in our Labor cause.

They showed belief in the agenda of this Labor Government. I understand that at the caucus meeting today the pressure finally got too great for many of my colleagues. I respect that and I respect the decision that they have made.

But I do say to my caucus colleagues, don't lack the guts, don't lack the fortitude, don't lack the resilience to go out there with our Labor agenda and to win this election.

I know that it can be done. And I also say to my caucus colleagues that that will best be done by us putting the divisions of the past behind us and uniting as a political party, making sure we put our best face forward at the forthcoming election campaign and in the years beyond.

I want to say a few remarks about being the first woman to serve in this position.

There has been a lot of analysis about the so-called gender wars, me playing the so-called gender card because heavens knows no one noticed I was a woman until I raised it.

But against that background, I do want to say about all of these issues, the reaction to being the first female Prime Minister does not explain everything about my prime ministership, nor does it explain nothing about my prime ministership.

I have been a little bit bemused by those colleagues in the newspapers who have admitted that I have suffered more pressure as a result of my gender than other prime ministers in the past, but then concluded that it had zero effect on my political position or the political position of the Labor Party.

It doesn't explain everything, it doesn't explain nothing, it explains some things.

And it is for the nation to think in a sophisticated way about those shades of grey.

What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that, and I'm proud of that.

Can I say now a few thank-yous, particularly to my colleague Wayne Swan, who I think will address you shortly.

He has been fantastic. I have had loyal and capable colleagues. I want to thank them for their dedication and determination.

Politicians aren't fashionable in the Australian community, but take it from me, even as I go out the door, politicians work incredibly hard and overwhelmingly people come into this Parliament with a sense of service and that certainly defines my colleagues; their sense of service to the nation.

I want to thank the people who have worked with me. I want to thank the staff at The Lodge and Kirribilli House. I want to thank the AFP - what's a few sandwiches between friends - don't worry about it. I want to thank my personal staff led ably by Ben Hubbard.

Unfortunately it is becoming part of our political debate to draw staff members into the contest. I think that is wrong, I have always believed it wrong and I hope it desists now.

I would like to thank my electorate office staff, particularly Michelle Fitzgerald and Carlos, who have been with me since I was elected in 1998.

I would like to thank Tim and my family and I would like to say, as I have already said by way of text to my niece, who is due to have a baby in July, look forward to the most meddlesome great aunt in Australia's history.

Thank you very much.

Transcript 22662

Transcript Of Interview With David Speers, Sky News

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/06/2013

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 19434


HOST: Prime Minister, thank you for your time. Will you call a leadership ballot?

PM: Thank you David for this opportunity.

As you've been reporting, and others are reporting, there is apparently a petition circulating within the Labor Party to call for a leadership ballot.

I haven't seen this petition.

Call me old fashioned, but the way in which these things are normally done is a challenger approaches the leader of the Labor Party and asks them to call a ballot for the leadership, you shake hands and then a ballot is held.

That hasn't happened. But in these circumstances I do think it's in the best interests of the nation - and in the best interests of the Labor Party - for this matter to be resolved.

So, whilst I haven't been approached by anyone saying that they wish to be Prime Minister, or Labor leader, it is my intention to call a ballot for the Labor leadership at 7PM tonight.

HOST: And you will stand?

PM: Yes I most certainly will stand. I actually believe that politics, government, is about purpose.

It's not about personalities. It's about values and getting the big things done that the nation needs.

And even today in the midst of what has been a fair bit of hurly burly I've been very focused on our education reforms and improving schools for every child. That's my focus.

HOST: Will you win this ballot?

PM: Well David, I do want to say to you because I believe politics is about purpose - not about personality - that going into this ballot tonight I think that everyone involved should accept a few conditions on the ballot, should come to understand the true significance of the ballot.

First and foremost, anybody who believes that they should be Labor leader should put themselves forward for this ballot.

This is it.

There are no more opportunities.

Tonight is the night and this is it.

Number two, because politics is not about personality, all of these issues need to be resolved tonight.

We cannot have the Government or the Labor Party go to the next election with a person leading the Labor Party and a person floating around as the potential alternate leader.

In those circumstances I believe anybody who enters the ballot tonight should do it on the following conditions: that if you win, you're Labor leader; that if you lose, you retire from politics.

HOST: You are agreeing to do that?

PM: Absolutely.

HOST: If you lose tonight you will leave Parliament at the election?

PM: Correct.

And I think that that is the right thing to do for the nation and for the political party I lead, and I hope to lead following the ballot.

We cannot be in a circumstance where the nightly news has been as the nightly news has been for much of my prime ministership if the truth be told, where I have been in a political contest with the Leader of the Opposition, but I've also been in a political contest with people from my own political party.

No leader should be in that position; certainly no leader should be in that position in the run up to an election.

And so tonight, this is it, finished. I am asking my political party to endorse me as a leader and Prime Minister of purpose.

People will make their decision but having made their decision it's over and the best way of it being over is for the person not successful to retire from politics.

HOST: As you indicate, this issue has not left you throughout this parliamentary term.

This is the third time it's coming to a head.

Who do you blame for that? Has Kevin Rudd really been an honest broker when he says he's not interested in challenging?

PM: Well I'll let my caucus colleagues decide all of that and judge the history.

What I would say for myself, and I know that these things are contested and spoken about in politics, what has always driven me in politics and will continue to drive me if I receive the trust of my colleagues tonight is getting things done in accordance with Labor values for a Labor purpose.

HOST: But Prime Minister, you said this earlier on in the year. Why does it keep coming back to this?

Do you accept any responsibility for the fact that so many of your colleagues want to bring this on again?

PM: I accept responsibility for my own conduct. People need to accept responsibility for their conduct.

And so I think your questions are perhaps best put to others.

What I can certainly tell you as Prime Minister and as Labor leader is I have never been diverted from that task and achieving the big things the country needs by all of this nonsense.

But I am, as a rational politician, aware how debilitating this nonsense is for my political party, for my parliamentary colleagues, which is why I am making it a contest where I think the only decent thing for anybody to do is to say that is it, tonight is the moment for caucus to decide.

I accept that outcome so fundamentally that if I am not successful I will not run at the next election.

I ask others to accept the outcome on the same basis.

And whether it's me or whether it's someone else who emerges from tonight's contest, they can go to the next election leading a united team because there is no one seeking to divert attention from Labor's re-election campaign.

HOST: You said you have not seen this petition. Has anybody approached you to call on you to bring about a spill?

PM: No they have not and I have been wryly joking with some of my colleagues that this petition is the political equivalent of the Loch Ness monster. Everybody says that it exists but nobody has actually got the photograph of the Loch Ness monster.

HOST: And you haven't spoken to anyone who has seen it?

PM: No I haven't spoken to anyone who has seen it.

HOST: Do you doubt its existence?

PM: Look, David, I don't know.

What I do know, and I don't want to be critical of your honourable profession during the course of this interview.

What I do know is that when things get like this there are all sorts of claims and counter claims but I've got an obligation to the nation.

We are talking about who leads the nation.

I'm not going to let that speculation run endlessly.

I'm not going to have this Parliament, when we've still got business to do and big things to get done, end up being subject to media crews cannoning up and down parliamentary corridors in the hope of catching someone that they can then get half a sentence from.

That's not the way I want to do things so let's get it done.

HOST: Just getting back to the earlier question, how confident are you that you will still be Prime Minister this evening?

PM: Well I wouldn't be putting myself forward unless I had a degree of confidence about the support of my parliamentary colleagues.

I certainly have very much received good support from my closest cabinet colleagues, people who are doing very good and important work for the country.

This is a pressurised time. People will make a decision. The important thing is that people keep in their mind as they walk into that room what is in the best interests of the nation, what is in the best interests of the Labor Party.

I answer those questions by saying what's in the best interests of the nation and the Labor Party is to have a sense of values and purpose and discipline and that is why I am shaping up tonight's ballot like that.

HOST: In a nutshell then, if this is your final pitch publicly before that caucus ballot tonight, why are you a better Prime Minister than Kevin Rudd?

PM: I will speak to caucus colleagues about the way in which caucus colleagues vote but I am happy to answer your question generally about why I have done this job and why I seek to continue to do this job.

I came into politics to make a difference.

I came into politics believing government could be about providing opportunity and it wouldn't matter whether you came from a rich background or a poor background, you're a migrant, you're an indigenous Australian, you were entitled to lead a life of opportunity partnered with your own endeavour and hard work.

That's how I've lived my life and that's how I've brought the reforms that we've focussed on as a government, nothing more important than the school funding reform.

These are Labor values, Labor purpose. That's what drives me.

I'm not interested in public accolades, I'm not interested in applause. I'm not interested in any of that personality politics. I'm interested in getting things done.

HOST: But do you think Kevin Rudd does not share those Labor values that you just articulated?

PM: Mr Rudd can speak for himself and I would not be presumptuous enough to speak for him.

HOST: But if he ends up leading Labor again tonight, do you fear for the future of the Government and the party?

PM: I'm not being drawn about hypotheticals beyond tonight's ballot.

HOST: Well Prime Minister, we know you do have a busy few hours ahead, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

PM: Thanks David.

Transcript 19434

Australian Education Bill Passes The Parliament

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/06/2013

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 19433


A fair funding system, school improvement reforms and extra funding for Australian schools are now enshrined in law following the passage of the Australian Education Bill through the Senate today.

This is a great day for Australian schools, students and families. For the first time, we have a needs-based funding model for schools across all sectors, one that will ensure our classrooms are properly resourced for generations to come.

The new National Plan for School Improvement applies to all government schools in participating states, and non-government schools in all states. It delivers:

* A school funding model based on individual student need, with a per student amount and extra money for schools and students that need more support;
* Extra resources over the next six years to bring schools up to their Schooling Resource Standard, plus better rates of indexation; and
* School improvement reforms that will help every Australian student get a great education, and help take Australian schools to the top five in the world by 2025.

For states and territories that have signed up to the National Plan for School Improvement, today's Senate vote guarantees extra funding and higher indexation from the Commonwealth over the next six years.

New South Wales, South Australia and the ACT have already signed up to our plan. Every school and every sector in these jurisdictions will benefit from extra funding, delivered under a needs-based system, as well as higher rates of indexation.

Nationally, all non-government schools will be funded under the new, fairer funding system outlined in the Bill.

As a result over 60% of students in almost 60% schools across the country will now benefit from their share of the $15 billion on offer to all states and territories if they sign up to a fairer school funding model and school improvement reforms.

National Plan for School Improvement

All participating schools will benefit from school reforms aimed at lifting student results and providing a high-quality, high-equity education for all Australians.

School sectors taking part in the National Plan have committed to implementing these reforms in five key areas: quality teaching, quality learning, greater autonomy, more transparency, and meeting student need.

For schools and students, this means:

* Higher entry standards for the teaching profession
* More training and support for teachers
* More individual support for students
* School improvement plans for every school
* More information for parents and the community about school funding and performance

Non-participating states

All states and territories will be asked to sign up to implementing education reforms in the five main areas, and to commit to our goal of being in the top five schooling countries by 2025.

The Australian Education Bill also sets out Commonwealth funding arrangements for non-participating states and territories. The Commonwealth will provide current levels of school funding to state and territory governments, indexed to meet rising costs.

We have been clear, however, there will be no windfall gain for non-participating states and territories.

Government school sectors in non-participating states will also miss out on the extra funding we have put on the table. Non-government schools in these states will receive their share of extra Commonwealth funding, but will miss out on guaranteed extra funding from their state or territory government.

This makes it even more urgent that all jurisdictions sign up to our plan by June 30.

We don't want to see schools and students in these states missing out because of a decision by their state or territory government not to commit to extra funding.

Next steps

We will continue to negotiate with remaining states and territories ahead of the June 30 deadline, because we want to secure the best deal possible for every Australian school and student.

Detailed implementation plans are being developed with participating sectors which set out how the new funding model will work, how the extra funding will be phased in, and how school improvement reforms will be implemented on the ground.

These will be released when finalised and will provide further details of funding available to schools from next year.

The National Plan for School Improvement, including the new, fairer funding approach, will be in place in our classrooms from January 1, 2014.

From next year, there will be more money, higher standards, and better results for Australian students.

Transcript 19433

Retirement Of Tony Windsor

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/06/2013

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 19432


Tony Windsor long ago earned the respect and affection of his community in New England. In the past three years he has earned the respect and affection of many Australians from all political persuasions. Millions will be sorry to see him depart the Parliament at the coming election and I will be one of them.

Tony served ten years in the New South Wales Parliament, including a period of minority Government, and thirteen years in the Parliament of Australia, including three years of minority Government. He is one of Australia's great parliamentarians.

Tony Windsor's legacy can be seen all around the community where he lives and which he loves so much. I have seenfor myself the benefits high speed broadband already promises for the people of Armidale.

Many will think of the Environment Protection Bio-diversity Act Amendment (Water Trigger) as his signature achievement in this final term of public office and one characteristic of Tony himself: legislating a responsible and mature policy approach to an issue of great community concern among the people he represents.

I have enjoyed working with Tony Windsor and I wish him and Lyn many happy years together in retirement.

Transcript 19432

Retirement Of Rob Oakeshott

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 26/06/2013

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 19431


Rob Oakeshott is a man of energy and ideas whose fundamental optimism for Australia endears him to almost everyone who knows him.

Rob served ten years in the New South Wales Parliament and five years in the Parliament of Australia. He is still a young man with a young family and I know how much he is looking forward to being at home.

Rob Oakeshott has been widely recognised for the passion of his advocacy for improvement in education. He has worked tirelessly to spread the benefits of our strong economy through investment in regional Australia.

The national debate on climate change was enriched by the perspective Rob brought to carbon, soil and water issues. He can point to a number of specific achievements reflected in the Clean Energy Future legislation which passed the Parliament during this term.

Rob smiles easily and wears his heart on his sleeve and politics could do with more of that, not less. I know he and Sarah-Jane are looking forward to the next phase of life together.

Transcript 19431

Speech To The Ethnic Business Awards

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 25/06/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 19430


I want to offer a special acknowledgment to the Founder and Chairman of these Awards, Mr Joseph Assaf

Joseph has made a towering contribution to multiculturalism and to the business community.

His deep commitment to the values of innovation, tolerance and social equity has become legendary.

That's why I've appointed Joseph to the Civil Society 20 group - the C20 - as part of our wider engagement process for the G20 meeting in Australia next year.

A big part of our effort will be showcasing Australia's multicultural success-story and how it helps us reach out to the world.

Multiculturalism is a success story.

Perhaps our greatest success as a modern nation.

And 25 years of the Ethnic Business Awards show just what that achievement means.

For a quarter of a century, we've been celebrating men and women who have come to this country with their worldly goods in a suitcase, with hands ready for hard work and heads busy with ambitious dreams.

Migrants who have founded the businesses that have shaped this nation.

The tradesmen and labourers who delivered nation-building infrastructure like the Snowy Hydro scheme.

The family construction companies that built our city suburbs, street by street, in the post-war boom years.

The mum-and-dad entrepreneurs who gave us great and enduring family-owned businesses, from the corner shop to our iconic department stores and shopping malls.

The men and women who have become property moguls and giants of manufacturing.

And the ones who have created the local jobs that have kept our towns and our regional economies humming.

And now, new generations of arrivals who are engaging the world, at the outer frontiers of new technologies.

Ethnic businesses have much to do with the prosperity, stability and strength of our economy.

While there are some who leave the land of their birth in desperation, fleeing war or persecution, escaping a nightmare, many others - including my family - make the life-changing decision as a clear choice.

As the fulfilment of a dream.

Through human history, migration has, to some extent, selected the risk-takers.

The men and women who see opportunity and seize it.

Those who see a glass half full and have a plan for the other half.

The very qualities so essential to business and entrepreneurialism.

Thirty per cent of small business owners operating in Australia today were born overseas.

Six of the top 10 Australian billionaires listed in BRW's Richest 200 list had a first- or second-generation migrant or refugee background.

The spirit, energy and ingenuity of our ethnic businessmen and women are things that cannot be taught, or bought.

They come from within.

But there are things governments can do to make the first steps of a new migrant steadier.

Things we can do as a generous and welcoming community, and which we have been doing for decades through programs like the successful Adult Migrant English Program.

But it is important that we also hold out a hand not just of welcome, but of help, to the children of those who have newly arrived.

The boys and girls who will design the cities of our tomorrow, manufacture the products of our future, dream up the innovations of the next century.

But before they embark on those lives, they need a good education.

And that means proficiency in English.

Our schools already offer effective and intensive English-language tuition.

But I believe we can do more.

That's why, as part of the Government's National Plan for School Improvement I'm determined to see greater resources go to students who speak languages other than English at home.

About 100,000 girls and boys stand to benefit from this additional funding.

It's an important investment.

An investment in the lives and prospects of individual boys and girls, at a time of profound transition in their lives.

I want to make sure that the new life we hold out to migrant children and their families is a life of genuine opportunity from the very start.

Of course, if proficiency in English is crucial for those making new homes here, proficiency in languages other than English - particularly the languages of Asia - is becoming essential to our national economic interest.

The Asian Century has dawned.

The centre of world economic activity is moving closer.

The share of world output generated within 10,000km of Australia's borders has doubled over the past half century.

It now accounts for more than a third of all global output.

This will rise to around half of all global output by 2030 - the year a child born today will finish high school.

I want that child - and every child of that generation - to have the chance to continuously study a priority Asian language throughout their years of schooling:

Mandarin, Hindi, Indonesian or Japanese.

Of course, the reality is that the example of multilingualism is already being set for us, daily by members of the ethnic business community.

Men and women fluent in the languages of our current and future trading partners, and fluent too in the cultural nuances so crucial in a global marketplace.

Our ethnic businessmen and women carried these skills with them when they came to Australia.

Now they pass them to their children and grandchildren.

It's an inheritance from which we all gain.

We've come a long way from the days when we tended to think of ourselves as a melting pot headed towards the goal of assimilation.

We no longer use that language.

And we no longer seek the uniformity that it dictated.

Migrants aren't forced to anglicise their names and disguise their backgrounds.

We can be proudly Lebanese-Australian.

Staunchly Greek-Australian.

We can observe Ramadan, or Hanukkah, or Vesak.

We can trace our family trees, preserve our faiths - or profess no faith at all - and feel safe in doing so.

We can carry forward our ancestors' names, pass on our mother tongues.

We can gather to mark Glendi or Diwali.

As the founder of these awards, Joseph Assaf, has pointed out, we need look no further than the Chinese and Indian diasporas to know that a growing number of individuals see themselves - and behave - as transnationals.

Proud Australians, but fully engaged in a wider world of commerce, culture and intellectual inquiry.

Australians, but with a special, and precious, entrée to the world economy.

With the cultural insights, the language skills and the contacts.

Joseph gave a speech some years ago in which he remarked that on Christmas Day, seven million phone calls were made from Australia.

Seven million living connections to the world beyond our shores.

That speech was delivered almost a decade ago.

These days, I imagine, the ‘living connection' is increasingly made through Skype.

The Christmas card has become a text message.

Indeed, the very first text message ever sent, back in 1992, contained just two words: “Merry Christmas”.

And if our social connections across the world are now maintained via swipe-screens and Facebook, business is increasingly conducted the same way: instantly; urgently, immediately.

The tyranny of distance has become the tyranny of 24/7.

It's a tyranny I suspect Joseph Assaf meets head-on, with gusto.

Most of you know his story - the archetypal migrant story.

The 22-year-old Lebanese migrant working in a factory and teaching himself English.

In time, founder of the communications agency Etcom.

Founder of these awards, 25 years ago.

A mover and shaker in ethnic radio, on countless boards and committees.

A sought-after conference speaker.

A passionate advocate for education.

But passionate, above all, about the precious gift of multiculturalism that defines us as a people.

Congratulations Joseph on 25 years of the Ethnic Business Awards.

And congratulations to all those ethnic businessmen and women whose stories and successes are so central to Australia's national story.

Our story.

Our unique contribution to the shape of the world.

Written - in pride and unity - together.

Transcript 19430

Community Cabinet Coming To Rockhampton

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 21/06/2013

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 19429


Prime Minister Julia Gillard will host the Government's 42nd Community Cabinet meeting in Rockhampton on Tuesday 16 July.

This meeting will be the ninth Community Cabinet to be held in Queensland, and will provide a unique opportunity for members of the community to meet federal government ministers face-to-face.

The Prime Minister and Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore today encouraged local residents to register to attend the meeting, which will be held at the North Rockhampton State High School.

“Everyone is welcome to attend the Rockhampton Community Cabinet, and if you are interested in coming along make sure you register as early as possible. There are opportunities to meet ministers face-to-face or ask a question at the forum,” said Ms Livermore.

A number of ministers will attend the meeting to answer questions on topics such as the Government's plan to create and support Australian jobs, the National Plan for School Improvement, and the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

So far, more than 15,500 people have attended Community Cabinet meetings across Australia. There have been over 2,000 face-to-face meetings with ministers.

Registrations open from Monday 1 July to Friday 5 July, but may close earlier if capacity is reached.

If people want to attend the public forum only, they must register online at by calling 1800 088 323. To request a face-to-face meeting with a minister please call 1800 088 323.

Further information can be found at:

Transcript 19429

Speech to Margaret Whitlam Annual Dinner

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 21/06/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 19428




We're here in the name of a truly great Australian, Margaret Whitlam.

We honour her memory and celebrate her life.

For over sixty years, Margaret was part of our Labor family, and in the end she stood at its very core.

Now with Margaret's absence, there is a gap we can never fill.

So tonight our first thoughts must be with Gough, who is making the lonely journey without his lifelong partner and equal.

Gough - you are in our hearts and our affection, tonight and always.

I want to acknowledge another woman of courage and class, Tanya Plibersek.Tanya's the daughter of “modest, hardworking, generous people” as she put it herself; people who came from Eastern Europe in search of a better future.

Tanya seized every opportunity available to her and now stands at the forefront of our nation's public life.

I've been privileged to share my entire federal political journey with Tanya since we entered the Parliament together in 1998.

I'm proud to call her both a colleague and a friend.

Tanya is just the sort of smart, feisty woman that Margaret Whitlam loved - and indeed, Tanya I know Margaret did love and admire you very much.

No-one could better represent this area, its people, its history and its values.

The electorate of Sydney covers a wonderful part of this metropolis where our great party kicked into life.

Yes it's a very different place to the run-down terrace houses of yesteryear with one cold water tap and kids running around without shoes.

Today, we're likely to see solar panels on rooftops and broadband being connected.

I'm not here to give a lecture on Margaret Whitlam - but there are some features of her life that can guide and instruct us.

On one occasion Margaret was reflecting on a photo of herself as a baby - the picture is reproduced in Susan Mitchell's biography and it shows a plump, healthy, happy infant.

Margaret observed that she was “Well cared for. Loved and wanted”, as she wished every Australian child could be.

Margaret grew up in the 1920s and 30s, the daughter of a barrister who later became an eminent judge.

It was a life of relative privilege in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and she could just as easily have become a society matron like many of her classmates.

But she didn't.

Even from a childhood of privilege, Margaret had a profound belief in fairness.

Long before it found expression in the Labor Party and her partnership with Gough, Margaret held that value of fairness closer than anything.

It was her touchstone.

To live a good life, she felt she had to spread fairness and opportunity to others.

So marriage to Gough became not just a union of hearts and intellects, but also a meeting of moral and social values.

Because of Gough's ambition to serve, together they spent 25 years sharing the life of the suburbs; understanding the dignity of that life but also the limitations.

Lack of transport. No sewerage. Poor schools. Inadequate hospitals.

As Susan Mitchell records:

“it was Margaret who had organised the building of two houses [in the outer suburbs], raised four children there and arranged for them to travel twenty miles to a high school and twelve miles to a swimming pool (before she helped build one in Cabramatta).

Margaret, who had always loved reading, had lived where there were few municipal libraries, no paved roads within a mile of their houses and no paved footpaths”. [Margaret Whitlam by Susan Mitchell, p177]

The famous Whitlam ‘Program' was born out of that lived experience, out of deep respect for Australian suburban life.

And at the heart of that program was the rights and empowerment of women including his decision to fling open the doors of higher education for all Australians.

Even now, women still write letters of thanks to Gough for this nation-changing policy.

As a result, Australian women live lives of opportunity unimaginable to our grandmothers.

In our own time, a woman of Margaret Whitlam's intellect, warmth and courage could surely have become a senior federal Minister or even Prime Minister.

Born 40 years later, it could easily have been Margaret instead of me or Tanya.

But why didn't Margaret Whitlam become an elected representative in her own right or even Prime Minister?

The answer is because Gough Whitlam hadn't yet become Prime Minister.

It just wasn't possible for a woman brought up in the 1920s and 30s, even one with a university education, a comfortable upbringing and strong social connections as Margaret enjoyed.

Yet the daughter of a psych nurse and an aged care cook from the suburbs of Adelaide could get there.

The difference, of course, was Gough Whitlam.

The difference was the things that happen when Labor governs.

Through his transformative work on women's rights and access to education, it was Gough who created the Australia in which the Julia Gillards, the Tanya Pliberseks, the Jenny Macklins, the Ged Kearneys could thrive.

That's the great Labor story we share and celebrate tonight.

That's the great Labor story that keeps us renewing our membership, year after year, in good times and in bad.

Because the work of nation-building is never complete.

The only way to truly honour Gough and Margaret's legacy is by extending it.

Throwing forth new bridges to the future.

And protecting the things we've already achieved; the things worth fighting for.

In 2013, that means keeping the Liberals off the Treasury benches and keeping Tony Abbott out of The Lodge.

Think about it this way:

At the 1969 poll - the Don's Party election - Gough and Margaret were hosting their traditional election night party at their home in Cabramatta.

Margaret put on a brave face all evening but when the guests had gone home, young Stephen Whitlam saw his mum crying in the backyard all alone, and he quickly perceived the reason for her tears.

In his words: “After all we'd done, after all we'd tried to do, the bastards won”.

In another decisive election year, I want every progressive Australian to know and understand the moral of the story is exactly the same:

Don't let that be us.

Don't let the wrong side win.

Don't be one of those people driving around with a bumper sticker saying: Don't blame me, I didn't vote for Tony Abbott.

Don't let them get away with it.

They aren't ready and they don't deserve it.

Tony Abbott is all platitudes and no policy.

Empty of ambition for the country, but full of ambition for himself.

He's never had a new idea about disability care.

Never had a new idea about broadband or clean energy.

Never had an idea about better funding for our schools.

All we get is talk of cuts and sackings and abolishing good and decent policies like the carbon price, the NBN and our plan to fund schools fairly.

We know what an Abbott government would look like because we saw it in the Menzies era, the Fraser era, the Howard era.

The erosion of common values; the neglect of public institutions.

Public education, public broadcasting, public health,public transport.

The Liberals inherit, but they do not create.

They destroy but they never build.

That's why Paul Keating posed this question about the prospect of an Abbott-led Australia: “Is that all there is?”

Our answer to that question must be no.

A resounding, defiant no.

There is more.

More Australia can do.

More Australia can be.

Give me a majority and we can do it all.

Especially given our extraordinary track record amid the constraints of minority government:

Keeping our economy strong with almost a million jobs created.

Clean energy up, carbon pollution down.

A fair go for all Australian schools, public and private alike.

Early childhood education; more apprenticeships; and more university places, especially for poorer students.

DisabilityCare - the greatest social reform in 30 years.

Bringing high-speed broadband to every Australian and breaking Telstra's monopoly grip forever.

Delivering tax cuts to our lowest paid and making sure superannuation benefits increase, especially for those who need them most.

Higher pay for our community sector workers.

Financial help for pensioners and for families.

Health reform, and aged care reform.

The biggest Commonwealth investment in public transport since Federation.

A Royal Commission to bring healing and justice to victims of horrendous betrayal.

Plain packaging to help protect our kids from the dangers of smoking.

We won't let go of these achievements so easily.

Could we have done some things better?

Of course.

But in the end, on the big things that count, we have proven to be a good government.

A government worth fighting for.

A government affirmed and emboldened in our sense of Labor purpose.

Unlike our opponents, we don't measure political success by how well you've been able to denigrate and disrupt.

We measure ourselves by a very different metric: by what we achieve for Australia.

So to all those who want things to be better, I say things can be better.

With a majority Labor government, things can be better.

With a more constructive Opposition led by someone other than Tony Abbott, things can be better.

After three extraordinary years, we've been toughened and tempered through experience.

We've got the big calls right.

And while the Opposition have a flimsy pamphlet, we've got a plan.

A plan for Australia's future.

A detailed, credible plan to make us winners in the Asian Century and seize the opportunities of tomorrow.

As members and supporters of our great Party, you know better than everyone that politics is about ideas and it's about achievements.

Leadership is about getting the big things done that really matter for our nation's future.

So an election is a contest of values and contest of ideas.

Some people like to set-up an idealised version of a perfect Labor Government and then pick apart all our faults. Any armchair critic can do that.

I know there's a lot of talk and chatter out there.

All sorts of scenarios and alternatives are imagined every day.

But forget all the noise and nonsense.

The choice today is the choice that will be available on September 14: Tony Abbott or me; a majority Labor government or a majority Coalition government.

So I'd say to anyone questioning what's on offer, reduce this election to its most fundamental proposition:

If you want fairer funding for our schools and a life of opportunity for our kids;

If you want a clean energy revolution;

If you want true high-speed broadband;

If you want DisabilityCare;

If you want to protect jobs and working conditions;

If you want those new rail lines rolled-out in our big cities;

If you want to continue our great work on the arts and the environment, then vote for me.

And on the other side of the coin: if you want cuts in health and education, cuts that hurt families and cost jobs, then vote for Tony Abbott.

Simple as that.

We know that true and profound differences are at stake in this election.

Nothing's inevitable.

Everything's possible.

There is a choice.

So share our great story with your friends and neighbours, your work-mates and loved ones.

Hold firm to our Labor faith.

Take pride in our achievements.

And don't let the wrong side win.

Transcript 19428

Transcript of CEDA Question and Answer Session

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 24/06/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 19427


QUESTION: Prime Minister, Everald Compton. I'm delighted with the initiative that you and Wayne Swan took in identifying the ageing of the population and how that should be turned into an asset and not being a liability.

And I see based on your remarks about the Asian Century a great opportunity for aged care services in Australia to be exported to China where the demand will be enormous, and I think it could even get to the point of becoming a major export for the country and I wondered what you thought about that?

PM: Thank you very much Everald, and thank you for the contributions you've made to our policies too.

Everald's been working with us on a set of participation policies to make it easier for older Australians to continue to work.

So many of our public policy settings have made assumptions about when full retirement is, and in modern Australia where we need to lift participation and where so many older Australians want to continue in work, Everald's played a very leading role making sure we get those things right.

I also agree with your analysis about our potential to export aged care and health care and education services, financial services to Asia.

This is going to be such a big part of our future, including the export of public policy services. We are good at public policy.

Things like compulsory superannuation, Medicare, carbon pricing; these things are rightly studied in our region as models for advanced economies as to how you manage ageing populations, how you manage social welfare, how you manage to reduce carbon pollution.

So I think all of that Australian expertise and those leading-edge services can be a source of income and prosperity for us in this Asian Century.

QUESTION: Prime Minister, Baden Firth from the Mitsubishi Corporation. If you could give us your comments on the achievements that you feel you've delivered through the Fair Work Act to date, and then what sort of agenda platform you'll be taking to the next election around industrial relations, I'd be very grateful. Thank you.

PM: Sure. Certainly we're very proud of the Fair Work Act and whilst it's going to I'm sure be the continued topic of lively conversation with the business community, here again I think it's important that people get the facts on the table.

We are seeing rising productivity. We are seeing wages contained. In terms of levels of industrial disputation we are below the average of the Howard years.

And indeed much of the industrial disputation in recent statistics has arisen from state government bargaining disputes with state government employees like teachers and nurses.

So this is the set of achievements of the Fair Work Act.

We've recently passed some changes to Fair Work which have been about better balancing work and family life and addressing modern problems like bullying.

We believe we've basically got the settings right. We will not go to the election with a big program of change.

We will go to the election saying this is a system that is working for Australia.

And we will certainly go to the election resisting the alternative - whether it is frankly put or only quietly spoken - an alternative that takes us to the very divisive conflict of the Work Choices years.

QUESTION: Good morning Prime Minister, Ken King, CEO of the Pilbara Development Commission.

I'd just like to ask you for your comments about northern Australia. Particularly northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and the north of Queensland as regions that provide great opportunities to drive the economy from the resources sector in particular.

And I think more importantly, not just about extractive efforts, extractive industries, but more importantly, your policies around encouraging people to live as well as work in northern Australia.

PM: Thank you very much for that question. I'm in the business of saying we should get things done. I do note that that's not necessarily embraced by all.

We've seen a bit of a flim-flam pamphlet come out on the future of northern Australia which promises rounds of endless reviews and meetings but not much content.

We've taken a different view; we've just got up there and got things done.

So whether it's been our record investments in the Kimberley to open up that region, whether it's been the huge investments we've made in the Northern Territory and in the north of Queensland, the investments we're making in infrastructure, the investments we're making in education to encourage people to aspire to the highest levels of education.

These are practical changes for northern Australia.

We've been working well with local government representatives in northern Australia. We actually work well with the Barnett Government on the strategy for the Kimberley.

We worked well with the Northern Territory Government to do things like secure the INPEX investment and to build the associated training facilities, which means that people will get jobs.

We've had our moments with the Queensland Government, but our big investments in the north of Queensland continue. And they will make a long term difference.

Northern Australia has the opportunity to benefit from many of our policy settings, including our settings for a clean energy future - we're talking about parts of the country where clean energy development is going to be a big part of their future and their future prosperity.

So we're out there on the ground doing practical work every day, and that's the approach that we'll continue to take.

QUESTION: Good morning Prime Minister, Gloria Jacob from Regional Development Australia in the Pilbara. Following on from Dr King's question - I was wondering what your position would be on encouraging more people to live there, certainly in northern Australia, but especially with regards to the special economic zone?

PM: Look I think you've got to be very careful about some of these economic suggestions.

We do have a zonal tax rebate for people who live in remote regions. I don't want to get into the work of constitutional lawyers - that's not my bag - we've got constitutional lawyers who do that for the nation.

But there is of course a lively discussion about whether or not such a proposal - the one we have in operation now and any proposal to build on it - would survive constitutional challenge. So that's on the income tax side.

On the business side - what I believe is if you get the underlying conditions right, then you will attract private sector investment.

And the underlying conditions are about traditional infrastructure, where we are a Government that is investing more in roads and rail and ports than any government in the nation's history.

We've radically upped investment since the days of the Howard Government.

If you can build new communications technologies - part of what has kept people from living in northern Australia or in more regional or remote Australia is the sense of isolation - the NBN and all of the technologies associated with the NBN can end that for all time.

Part of what has dissuaded people from living in those areas is the sense that they wouldn't be able to get quality services for their family. There wouldn't be quality in the local schools.

There wouldn't be quality in the local health care facilities. There wouldn't be the opportunity to go on to higher education.

We have worked to transform that. What I want to achieve in this parliament this week with the new school funding and new school improvement plan would radically lift the quality and resources of schools in regional and remote Australia.

The investments that we've put into universities that work in regional and remote Australia are working at transformation too.

So if you can get all of that right; the infrastructure, the human capital, the access to information, the sense for people that they could live lives supported by appropriate services in those parts of the country, then I believe individuals will respond and the private sector will respond as well.

Transcript 19427

Speech for 25th Anniversary of Parliament House

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 24/06/2013

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 19426


This is my 15th year in Parliament, but I am always learning new things about this place.

For example, I was recently told that it would take one painter 16 and a half years to paint the entire building.

Which, if nothing else, gives us a new perspective on Michelangelo's achievement in the Sistine Chapel.

Perhaps just as remarkably, more than 20 million visitors have passed through the House's doors in 25 years.

Australian political giants and foreign dignitaries.

The leader of the world's largest nation - Hu Jintao.

The leader of the world's largest Islamic society - Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The Queen of Australia and the Prime Minister of this parliament's distinguished ancestor in Westminster - Tony Blair.

The Prime Ministers of two of our closest Commonwealth friends - Canada's Stephen Harper and New Zealand's John Key.

And all four Presidents of the United States elected since the opening of this place.

Legends of radio, television and the Parliamentary press gallery have walked these corridors.

Spiritual leaders and business tycoons.

Community groups and protest movements whose causes span the ideological spectrum.

Millions of excited schoolchildren and their patient teachers.

Australian tourists and international visitors.

People drawn by the striking lines of this building and itslight-filled design.

The warmth of its Australian timbers. The beauty of its magnificent art collection.

People who have come to see our democracy in action.

Both the cut and thrust of Question Time and the unifying spirit of great bipartisan moments.

People who come to have their voices heard, see their argument made.

To receive a nation's thanks. Or its apology.

And I think it is not too much to hope that these visitors leave inspired.

Not just by the place Australians have built.

But the country, the civic pride and the democratic system that this building represents.

Today though, we are here to honour those who made this place possible:

Its visionary architect Romaldo Giurgola, who unfortunately can't be with us today.

And the men and women who brought that vision to fruition; taking an empty hilltop and turning into our nation's foremost public building.

We also celebrate the thousands of people who come to this house every working day.

There is a group that is not employed by the Parliament but which makes this place both their home and their subject-matter (for good or ill): the press gallery, who have the opportunity to render such a vital service to our democracy.

There are the cleaners who maintain the 9.6km of corridors and the guides who make visitors feel so welcome within these halls.

The electricians who make sure the 40,000 lights go on.

The gardeners who care for the 13 hectares of grounds and mow the sloping lawns that children just love to roll down.

The editors who produce the 19,600 pages of Hansard each year.

The tabling office and chamber staff who have overseen the passage of more than 4,200 bills.

The parliamentary librarians who have fielded more than 680,000 enquiries.

The chefs, waiters and baristas who have prepared and served hundreds of thousands of meals and millions of cups of coffee.

The security guards, plumbers, printers, switchboard operators, fitness trainers, nurses and IT staff.

All of you who do your jobs so well and with such quiet efficiency that you sometimes miss out on the recognition you deserve.

In a place often associated with prima donnas and limelight, you are backstage making sure that the show goes on.

More than 70 of you have been here from day one, a distinction you share with just four of my Parliamentary colleagues.

There is no better illustration of the apolitical dedication that so many of you bring to your daily work.

And no better reminder that the smooth running of this building is something we should never take for granted.

So on behalf of all Australians I pay tribute to Aldo and to all who created this building, and I thank all those who through their hard work, patience and good-humour give it life every day.

Through their love of freedom, generations of Australians have built a great democracy.

You have given that democracy a fine and worthy home.

On behalf of the nation, I simply say: “thank you”.

Transcript 19426