Sunday, 4 December 2011

The Australia We Can All Be Proud Of




This Party, this movement, this tradition of which we are all proud, is driven by the values which we hold; values of freedom; values of fairness; values of compassion; values of solidarity; values that have shaped the building of our nation, Australia.

But values that have also shaped Australia’s independent voice in the councils of the world.

Chifley, as always, said it best of all.

That we should “aim to reach, by working for the betterment of mankind, not only here, but anywhere we may give a helping hand.”

Our values have never stopped at the continental shelf.

Unlike the conservatives, we have never believed in a little Australia.  We have never believed in an inward looking Australia.  Nor do we believe in some sort of mono-cultural Australia.

We are a Party with an open heart, a clear mind, and, always, with a plan for action.

An outward looking Australia - confident of our place in the region and the world.

An Australia that celebrates its diversity as we have become home to people from every country and culture on earth.

And confident therefore in dealing with the diversity and complexity that lies just beyond our shores.
Friends, this is not Tony Abbott’s vision for Australia.

What does Captain Stunt, Captain Negative, Field Marshall No have to say about the challenges, the complexity, the diversity that Australia faces in the world today?

Well Captain Negative has his own brand new idea for dealing with all this.

It’s in his book Battlelines.  It is in writing, therefore it must be true.

Mr Abbott’s answer for this Century of the Asia-Pacific is what he calls…. Wait for it – “the Anglosphere”.

It is there in black and white.

In Tony’s immortal words he says: “Overwhelmingly the modern world is one that’s been made in English”

Pity about the Chinese, with the second largest economy in the world.

Pity about the Japanese, with the third largest economy in the world.

Pity about the country next door to us called Indonesia.

And by the way, let’s not forget the Germans, the folk who actually invented the printing press.

No, in the world according to Tony: “Overwhelmingly the modern world is one that’s been made in English”

Abbott’s Anglosphere.

The brave new world according to Tony.

A combination of Rudyard Kipling, Biggles and the Boys’ Own Annual.

You know, if it wasn’t so dangerous, it would just be hilarious.

I repeat, Mr Abbott has neither the experience, nor the temperament to ever be Prime Minister of Australia.

Friends, this Labor Government is made of different stuff.

When we confronted the Global Financial Crisis, the Government acted amidst a wave of criticism.

We kept Australia out of recession.

We kept the economy growing.

We kept one quarter of a million Australians from losing their jobs.

And instead another 750,000 jobs have been created.

And the reason we were able to do so is because we acted as a team.

A team made up of Julia, of Wayne, of Lindsay Tanner, of Chris Bowen as Assistant Treasurer, of Simon as Trade Minister, of Kim as Industry Minister.

As a Labor Cabinet as a whole.

A Cabinet dedicated to the most fundamental task of Labor – keeping Australians in jobs.

Friends, in the midst of all the debates facing this conference, let us be clear, there is one great global spectre hanging over us all.

The global economic storm clouds have gathered again.

The world now teeters on the edge of a second global financial crisis.

And we teeter therefore on the edge of a second global recession.

As in 2009, inter-bank lending is tightening, spreads are widening, the real economy in Europe is faltering.

And with weakening demand in Europe and the US, China’s growth is slowing.

And as before, Australia is not immune.

Friends, our global economic future very much hangs on what European leaders decide once week from today in Brussels.

And we wish them well in the great decisions that lie before them – not just for Europe, but for the world.

The resources of the European Financial Stability Fund.

The full mandate of the European Central Bank to act.

The future of a European Fiscal Union – because the alternative is the dissolution of the Eurozone and the return to national currencies.

Friends, we should have confidence that the team that saw us through the first crisis remains in place to handle the second.

And as before, to do all within our power to keep the Australian economy strong, to protect small business and to preserve the jobs of Australian families.

Friends, I am proud of the foreign policy record of this government.

Helping create the G20;

Helping build an Asia-Pacific community with the historic summit in Bali last month;

Withdrawing our troops from Iraq;

Leading the international diplomatic charge for a no-fly zone in Libya;

Leading the western diplomatic response to signs of political change in Burma in partnership with Aung San Suu Kyi;

Ratifying Kyoto, creating a 20 per cent mandatory renewable energy target, and a price on carbon;

Doubling our foreign aid over the last five years, which we plan to do again in the next five years;

So when people are starving in the Horn of Africa we can help lead the global response – not just follow it.

Friends, these are the hallmarks of Australia’s Labor Foreign Policy of which we can all be proud- making a real difference in the world.

But friends, there is much work still to be done.

And some of this work is reflected in the amendments which lie before you, many which we have helped develop with you:

An amendment that commits Australia to lead global moves towards an asbestos free world.

For which Australia will host in 2012 a global conference in partnership with civil society and the International Labour Organization.

When we succeed, Bernie Banton will at last be able to rest in peace.

An amendment under which Australia’s aid budget will help build labour rights, labour standards and the training of trade union leaders in the developing world.

Third, the appointment of an Ambassador for Human Trafficking.

Delegates, I commend the chapter to the conference.