Opinion pieces, speeches & transcripts

We have to learn the lessons of the last election, and turn our focus to the next one

November 18, 2019

The election review conducted for Labor by Jay Weatherill and Craig Emerson is hard to read for anyone involved in the ALP.

As it should be.

We have to face the facts which led us to lose May’s election before we can face the future.

That’s why Anthony Albanese and Labor’s national executive have - unanimously - adopted every single recommendation. And made the review public.

We’ve made the review public because it’s findings matter to every Australian, and because we believe having a frank debate is good for our democracy as well as for Labor.

Because it raises some big questions about how politics is conducted today, with the increased influence of digital platforms and of money.

And because it tells us quite a bit about how Australians are engaging with politics and parties - that they are pretty unimpressed with that’s been on offer.

We have to respond to these big challenges, which go beyond individual policies or campaigning strategies.

For Labor, this means harnessing the power of hope and optimism, as Anthony Albanese has made clear, through reclaiming our standing as the party of economic growth.

And as the party for all Australians - recognising that we have to do better at making clear that we speak for shared concerns, not simply a collection of individual issues.

The issue we need to address here isn’t ‘political correctness’ - it’s how too many of us feel separated or isolated from our fellow Australians, and from the opportunities our country is generating. It’s about treating everyone with respect, and listening more closely instead of imposing our ideas on others, as the Prime Minister seeks to do when he attempts to speak for ‘quiet Australians’.

Our great project - our light on the hill - remains a better and fairer society, underpinned by a stronger economy.

This is a national interest, indeed, it’s the national interest.

Throughout his time in politics Anthony Albanese has been in the business of nation building. This is the ideal preparation for the role, and the responsibility, he now has.

And with Albo, what you see is what you get. He knows what he stands for, and so do Australians.

He is uniquely placed to rebuild trust in Labor, so we can rebuild an Australia that works for everyone.

Australians deserve a bold, confident and compelling vision for the future.

They’re not getting this from our third-term government, which fears the future and questions the capacity of Australians.

Last week we in Labor confronted our recent past, and committed to learn from it.

Now, we look forward knowing that there’s nothing inevitable about the political future, and that we have a hand in writing it.

We remember how in 2004 John Howard seemed unbeatable - before losing his seat as well as the next election.

So we will be taking nothing for granted, and leaving nobody behind in our work to hold the Morrison government to account, to reconnect to Australians in every corner of the country and to set out a clear vision for the country Australians deserve to live and work in.