I accept the will of the Caucus without qualification and without rancour. And I congratulate Julia on her strong win.
To each and every one of my supporters - I say thank you – it’s never easy being part of the minority.
And I have one simple request for you all, and that is to unite under Julia’s leadership to do everything we possibly can to prevent Abbott from prevailing.
To paraphrase the new poet of our age, Albo, we’re here to fight Tories, not ourselves.
To those of you who didn’t vote for me and with whom I’ve had great conversations in recent days, I thank you for your friendship and your civility.
To those of you who have been pretty free and willing in your character analysis of me in recent weeks, I say this:
I bear you no grudges.
I bear you no malice.
And if I have wronged any of you in what I have done and in what I have said, please accept my apology.
To Julia I would say this: leadership is hard – harder in this Parliament than in the last.
You will have my absolute support in your efforts to bring us to victory.
I will not under any circumstances mount a challenge against your leadership.
I go one step further. If anyone turns on Julia in the 18 months ahead, of the type I have seen reported in much of the press, Julia – you will find me in your corner against them.
And I am ready to help in anyway whatsoever in my capacity as Member for Griffith, as a former Labor Leader, as a former Labor Prime Minister, as a former Labor Foreign Minister, or in any other capacity.
I will continue as the Member for Griffith and with the support of my local community, through the next election as well.
And my final request of the leader – no retribution against my supporters.
They are good Labor people, every one of them.
They all have good Labor values.
As do I.
I’m proud of the Party I joined 30 years ago.
The great Neville Wran once said, we have our brawls, our bare knuckled fights, our squabbles (probably never as spectacular as this) then we take out the industrial hose and wash the blood off the walls, and go out together as a team.
Neville comes from that lesser known school of poetry called the ‘New South Wales Right’ school.
But he’s right. So I’d just say to my harshest critics, I’d suggest we have a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, or something harder (and I don’t mean an Iced Vovo) as we seek to put all of this behind us.
The acrimony of recent weeks cannot continue.
Not one bit.
Not for a moment longer.
Let’s go together to defeat Abbott and deliver Labor the victory.
I thank the Caucus.