Thanks Mark and thanks for letting me say a few words tonight.
As a staunch republican I don’t often quote the Queen but 2019 really has been an annus horribilis.
2019 was a pretty tough year for those of us who’d like to see a more progressive Australia.
With Liberal/National Governments re-elected at both state and Federal level its been hard not to plumb the depths of despair throughout this year.
And we only need to look at the opportunity Australia also lost in May when Bill Shorten lost
No reversal of cuts to penalty rates.
No meaningful action on climate change.
No increases in funding for health and education.
No increases in funding for childcare and no increases in pay for childcare workers.
Instead what have we seen?
Australians’ homes burn in unprecedented early season bushfires and the Government says now is not the time to even talk about climate change.
The unemployment rate snakes up and wages growth falls.
The Tories’ only economic strategy is to bash trade unions and socially aware businesses.
In fact, the only achievement of the Morrison Government since the election has been to make our progressive tax system less progressive.
It seems Australia truly is run by a combination of flat taxers and flat earthers.
But although we suffered defeat, supporters of Labor supporters are resilient, we continue to fight for what we believe in and we continue to fight for a fairer Australia.
And as Labor’s Federal Leader Anthony Albanese recently said “Now is not a time for more introspection. It is a time to look ahead”.
As the official think tank of the Federal ALP that’s exactly what Chifley Research Centre is doing.
The release the other week of the review into Labor’s Federal Election defeat laid bare the reasons for our loss.
In many respects however, as every activist knows, the review was simply the starting point.
The real hard work starts again in renewing Federal Labor so that it can take on our nation’s worst government in three years’ time.
That’s why over the weekend of 7 and 8 December in Sydney we are convening a major conference of Labor supporters and fellow travellers to discuss and debate the ways forward for Labor and Australia into the 2020s and beyond.
We have pulled together a strong program with over 80 panellists and featuring keynote speeches from Labor and the union movement’s most senior figures as well as international guests such as NZ Finance Minister Grant Robertson, internationally renowned social and economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin and former Obama spokesperson Ben La Bolt.
The Towards 2022 Conference will play an important role in the conversation about Labor’s future agenda.
I hope you can join us in 10 days time and be part of that conversation.
Tickets are available at www.towards2022.com.au
Thanks so much