LABOR AND THE ECONOMY –
WORKING FOR AUSTRALIA
ALP NATIONAL CONFERENCE
17 AUGUST 2023
Delegates welcome to Queensland!
And thank you –
For your dedication, your commitment and your support –
For the honour of being your Treasurer in Australia’s Labor Government –
And for this opportunity to speak after our Prime Minister, and join with Katy Gallagher, to move the economic platform.
We acknowledge the Yagara, the Toorbul across the Maiwar, and the people of the Berrinba, to the south.
We embrace the opportunity the Voice presents – to recognise, and listen, and get better outcomes for the first of us –
In a way that could lift up and unite all of us.
Delegates, we meet here at a difficult time for many Australians.
We know people are under the pump.
We know the cost-of-living pressures coming at us from around the world are being felt around the kitchen table.
It’s why our Government’s highest priority is rolling out billions of dollars in cost-of-living help –
Taking some of the edge off rent, electricity, early childhood education, and out-of-pocket health costs –
And permanently boosting social security payments for those doing it the toughest in our society.
Delegates, don’t forget when we came to office:
Quarterly inflation was higher than now.
Interest rates were already rising.
Unemployment was higher too.
There were deficits as far as the eye can see.
And all Australians had to show for a wasted decade of missed opportunities and messed-up priorities –
Was a trillion dollars in debt, stagnant wages –
And all the division, and disadvantage and disappointment that came with it.
Now unemployment is lower, participation is higher.
More jobs have been created in our first year than any new government on record – around half a million now.
We’ve delivered the first surplus in 15 years in our first year.
Not as an end in itself, but as a more stable foundation from which to invest in our people, our industries, and their future.
Now, partly as a consequence of our responsible, methodical, economic management:
Inflation is moderating –
Wages are moving again –
And we are condemning to history the false choices which drove the economic failures of the Liberals and Nationals –
Who pretend that somehow Australia has to choose between making our economy stronger or our economy fairer.
We are Labor because we know that these goals are complementary, not in conflict -
And that we can serve our immediate pressures and our generational responsibilities at the same time.
That’s how we grasp this chance to manage and maximise the challenges coming at us –
Not just a slowing economy and global uncertainty right now –
But the big shifts which will shape our future too:
From hydrocarbons to renewables;
From IT to AI;
From globalisation to fragmentation;
From a younger population to an older one;
And what this means for our Budget, our industrial base, and particularly our care economy.
In this world of change, Labor’s guiding goal is as clear and pressing as ever:
To ensure more Australians in more parts of our country –
Are the major beneficiaries of the changes underway in our economy.
So that all we’ve achieved together this past year and a bit –
Is the beginning of something even better.
Delegates – together, we can own the future.
Our responsible economic management is ‘working for Australia’ and already seeing progress made, but there's much more to do.
‘Working for Australia’ is our labour movement’s reason for being.
An economy that works for more people –
That creates more opportunities in more parts of our country –
Is what Australia’s all about.
That’s what the Albanese Government is all about.
And it’s what this part of our Platform is all about as well.
It’s an honour to move it with Katy, in our name, and on your behalf.