Prime Minister Julia Gillard has delivered a speech at the launch of Women for Gillard, in Sydney.
The group aims to emulate the Obama campaign by raising money in small amounts to support Gillard’s re-election.
As government ministers appeared to close ranks behind Gillard’s leadership, after a long weekend of speculation about a return to Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister warned that the 2013 election would be a decision that would determine whether “we will banish women’s voices from our political life”.
In a barbed reference to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, Gillard said: “We don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.”
The speech has been ridiculed online throughout the day for its references to men in blue ties.
- Listen to the blue tie extract of Gillard’s speech (45s)
- Watch the extract released by Gillard’s office (1m)
- Watch the full speech (13m)
- Women for Gillard Facebook page
Transcript of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech to ‘Women for Gillard’ launch in Sydney.
Thank you very much, can I start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and pay my respects to their elders past and present.
Apart from acknowledging Clementine for that world-class introduction, I’d like to acknowledge all of the members and board and friends and supporters of Women for Gillard, and especially your national director Clarabella, thank you very much for all your hard work.
And I want to acknowledge too someone who is not in the room with us today but I very much in our hearts, and that is Anna Bligh. Anna showed the greatest courage for the people of Queensland during the greatest tests of her public life.
Now she’s showing incredible courage for herself and her family during the greatest test if her private life. And I know that we are all wishing her well. There’s a room full of love and support for her here today.
And I also want to acknowledge all of you, the women who have taken time out of all of your busy lives, some of them incredibly busy lives, to be here today.
I am humbled by your support, I thrive on your optimism; your faith in the future nourishes mine. And that faith rests on what Anne Summers so eloquently calls the Three Pillars: inclusion, equality, respect.
All of us in our own way have fought to make these things real in the life of our nation. As politicians, as leaders in our communities, as young activists setting out on our life working for change.
All of us, women who care enough to stand up and to be counted.
But we’re not here today to congratulate ourselves. We’re here today because Australian women need a voice, an authentic voice, a voice that can be trusted, and friends, that voice is Labor.
Friends, we didn’t discover ‘women’s issues’ in a focus group.
We didn’t do that. We aren’t engaged in that type of pretence; we’re driven by purpose.
Our party – the Labor Party – is the party of the many, not the few. That means we’re the party of women. Labor is the party of equal opportunity.
That means we are the party of women. Labor is the party that leaves no one behind. That means we are the party of women.
You know that and I know that, and we want to make sure that that is heard loud and clear. Look at our history. It was Labor that introduced maternity allowances, the first great wave of social reform after federation.
It was Labor that gave women the chance to serve and shine in the farms and factories of wartime in the 1940s.
It was Gough Whitlam’s Labor that delivered the first pay equality case and started federal funding for childcare.
And it was only ever Labor that was going to give this nation its first female prime minister.
It was only ever Labor that was going to put paid parental leave on the agenda and get it done.
Only Labor that understood that childcare was about affordability, but it was about quality too, and it’s about supporting the women who work in childcare.
That’s why we’ve increased childcare rebates, focussed on higher quality standards, and we’re supporting the women – predominantly women – who work in childcare centres as well.
It was only ever Labor that was going to increase the tax-free threshold to more than $18,000, benefiting low-income workers, predominantly working women.
And it was only ever Labor that was going to deliver a historic increase in the pension, particularly of benefit to single pensioners, disproportionately women, and it was only ever Labor that was going to reduce tax on superannuation for part-time working mums.
It’s only Labor that ever would have put in an equal pay principle that actually worked; that worked to make a difference so women in social and community services can get the pay and recognition that they deserve.
It was only ever Labor that was going to make sure that we had fairness and decency at work.
It was only ever Labor that was going to out a National Disability Insurance Scheme on the agenda, so women with disability and women who bear the burden of caring can get the supports that they need.
It was only ever Labor that was going to invest in the future by rolling out the National Broadband Network, and it’s only Labor that is going to invest in the education of every child in every school.
That’s Labor’s agenda, and it’s only Labor that would deliver an agenda like that for Australia’s women.
Ben Chifley famously spoke of the things worth fighting for. I’m here today to tell you about the women worth fighting for.
Australian women, who benefit from Labor’s purpose, from Labor’s passion; I’m here to tell you today, to urge you, to get out and fight. We’ve got a hard fight ahead but it’s a hard fight to wage and we must win on 14 September.
On that day, 14 September, we are going to make a big decision as a nation. It’s a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women’s voices from our political life.
I invite you to imagine it. A prime minister – a man in a blue tie – who goes on holidays to be replaced by a man in a blue tie.
A treasurer, who delivers a budget wearing a blue tie, to be supported by a finance minister – another man in a blue tie. Women once again banished from the centre of Australia’s political life.
We don’t want to see an Australia where a paid parental leave scheme divides women, that divides upper-income women from lower-income women; that divides upper-income women from their sisters who earn less but pay through potentially loss of jobs and certainly increased prices for a paid parental leave scheme that gives those that earn the most the most benefits.
We don’t want to see childcare slashed; we don’t want to see healthcare slashed; look at what has happened in Queensland: cuts to healthcare, cuts to Breast Screen. We don’t want that to be our future in Australia.
We don’t want to see superannuation slashed, particularly for working women. We don’t to see women lose rights at work, because when fairness and dignity at work goes it’s women who bear the brunt. We know that, we’ve seen it before.
We don’t want to see the National Disability Insurance Scheme put in the custody of a political party that didn’t create it, didn’t believe in it with the power that we did and simply said ‘me too’.
We don’t want to stand in front of school gates knowing that the children in that school, including the girls in that school, are getting less of an education than they should because our nation hasn’t seen fit to invest in their future.
Finally but very importantly, we don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.
That’s not the future we should choose for our nation, it’s not the future that I want to see for Australian women, it’s not the future I want to see for Australia’s girls.
Now there is always a commentator, and there is always a pollster who tells you that we can’t win and that this is the Australia we are linked in to on 14 September.
Well, to the commentators and the pollsters I say this: there’s always a moment in every fight where you’re got to choose whether you are daunted by it or energised by it. I can tell in this room we are energised for this fight.
And we know nothing worth fighting for ever came easy. Look at the suffragettes and what they faced. Look at the garment workers who went on strike, the feminists of the 1970s.
Women’s equality has always been hard-fought for, and we’re entering a hard fight again.
But I know I’ve got so many women to share it with in this room and beyond. I’m energised for the fight, thank you for coming along.