Home - Claire Moore - Labor Senator for Queensland

Election Victory Speech by Kevin Rudd

A short time ago, Mr Howard called me to offer his congratulations. I thank him for that and the dignity with which he extended those congratulations.

We should celebrate and honour the way in which we conduct this great Australian democracy of ours, and itís been on display again tonight.

I want to acknowledge now for the entire Australian nation and publicly recognise Mr Howardís extensive contribution to public service in Australia. There are big differences between us but we share a common pride in this great nation of ours, Australia. And I want to wish Mr and Mrs Howard and their family all the very best for the future.

Today Australia has looked to the future. Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward to plan for the future, to prepare for the future, to embrace the future and together, as Australians, to unite and write a new page in our nationís history to make this great country of ours, Australia, even greater.

Today many people across Australia have voted Labor for the very first time. Today many people across Australia have voted Labor for the first time in a long, long time and I want to thank all those people in Australia who have placed their trust in me and my team.

And I say tonight to the nation, I will never take their sacred trust for granted. I understand that this is a great privilege and I will do everything to honour the trust which has been extended to me.

I also understand there is a great responsibility involved in national leadership and I stand ready to accept that responsibility. I am determined to honour the confidence which has been extended to us by the people of our great land. And I say to all of those who have voted for us today, I say to each and every one of them, that I will be a Prime Minister for all Australians.

A Prime Minister for Indigenous Australians; Australians who have been born here and Australians who have come here from afar and have contributed to the great diversity that is our nation, Australia. A Prime Minister for our cities and our towns; a Prime Minister for rural Australia, which right now is experiencing the worst drought our country has known; for our men and women in uniform, serving in difficult and dangerous environments around the world; for all our States and Territories of this great nation and Commonwealth of ours.

I will be Prime Minister for all Australians. And I make this solemn pledge to the nation: I will always govern in the national interest. And my door will always be open to men and women of goodwill who want to participate in making our country even greater in the future.

Friends, tomorrow the work begins. Australiaís long-term challenges demand a new consensus across our country. Iím determined to use the Office of Prime Minister to forge that consensus. It is necessary for us to embrace the future as a nation united, forged with a common vision.

I want to put aside the old battles of the past, the old battles between business and unions, the old battles between growth and the environment, the old and tired battles between Federal and State, the old battles between public and private.

Itís time for a new page to be written in our nationís history. The future is too important for us not to work together to embrace the challenges of the future and to carve out our nationís destiny.

We have put before the Australian people a plan: itís our agenda for work. And you know something? Everything I have said through this election campaign, and in the year leading up to it, is our agenda for work.

To start building a world class education system.
To embrace the long-term funding needs of our public hospital system
To act, and act with urgency, on the great challenges of climate change and water.
To build a 21st century infrastructure for a 21st century economy.
And to get the balance right between fairness and flexibility in the workplaces of the nation.
And to ensure by that and by other practical assistance to working families in Australia that the great Australian fair go has a future and not just a past.
And through all this to make sure we keep our economy strong but make sure it delivers for working families as well.

And this task as well; to remain ever vigilant in the defence of our nationís national security. The task ahead will not be an easy one. I understand that, I grasp that. But this government that I will lead will work with energy and determination and vigour and with fresh ideas to embrace each of these challenges and to prosecute this agenda for work for the nation.

I also say this on this national occasion to our friends and allies around the world that I look forward, as the next Prime Minister of Australia, to working with them in dealing with the great challenges which our world now faces.

I extend our greetings tonight to our great friend and ally, the United States, to our great friends and partners across Asia and the Pacific and to our great friends and partners in Europe and beyond, we look forward to working in partnership with all those nations.

And now to say some thank yous. I begin by thanking the people of Brisbane south-side who have done me the great honour again of returning me as their Member of Parliament, the Member for Griffith. My local community is the rock upon which all other things are built and I thank them again for the trust theyíve extended to me.

I also want to thank the great Australian Labor Party. This Party that I joined 25 years ago, this Party which embraces the great mission of how we can build prosperity for our nation without ever throwing the fair go out the back door. I want to thank the members and supporters of our Party for the work they have put in right across this nation today.

Each and every one of them. Each of those volunteers. Every electorate contest across the breadth of Australia. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. For you have kept the faith in good times and in bad and I admire your contribution, your patience, your perseverance, and the blood, sweat and tears youíve dedicated to this election victory today.

I also want to make special mention tonight of Bernie Banton. Bernie, a fighter for the victims of asbestos who is gravely ill in hospital in Sydney tonight. I say to Bernie, if he is watching this broadcast, mate, youíre not going to be forgotten in this place.

The values for which you have stood and fought and the fact that you have been supported in your fight by the great Australian trade union movement, when so many others were prepared to simply cast you to one side, Bernie, you stand out as a beacon and clarion call to us all about what is decent and necessary in life and mate, I salute you.

I want to thank my Deputy, Julia Gillard. Julia, I know youíre not in Queensland tonight but you got a fantastic reception from a Queensland audience. She has been fantastic as the Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party. Sheíll be fantastic as the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia.

I want to thank all my Shadow Ministers, led by Wayne Swan here in Queensland. You can take the boys out of Nambour but you canít take Nambour out of the boys.

I would like to thank also, all members of my parliamentary team across Australia, and all those candidates who have gone out there and held high the flag of our Party on this election day Ď07. I thank them one and all.

To our Party President, John Faulkner, who has been with me throughout this campaign, and whose job on Senate Estimates will be of a different type now. To the national campaign team led by our fantastic National Secretary, Tim Gartrell. And to my great friend in New South Wales, Mark Arbib, and the great support right across the machinery of our Party to deliver this election outcome today, I thank you one and all.

To my staff, my fantastic staff, I think you are just remarkable. The work you have done, the blood, sweat and tears that have been poured out, I just couldnít ask for better from any of you. Thank you one and all.

To David Epstein, my Chief of Staff, thanks David. To Alister Jordan, my Deputy Chief of Staff, thank you, Alister. Heís had to put up with me for five years. Gina Tilley and Nev Conway from my Electorate Office. And they are a fantastic local team, and I thank them one and all.

I would also want tonight to thank my life partner, Therese. I joined this Party 25 years ago. We were married twenty six years ago. She has been an extraordinary support to me. And you know something? Therese has had a tough year as well. I cannot speak more highly of the great support and the great love and encouragement sheís extended to me in this political career upon which Iíve embarked. Darling, I really appreciate it.

To each of my wonderful kids, Marcus, to Nicolas, to Jessica and her husband, Albert, I just say this family means everything to me. I also honour my wider family, my brothers Malcolm and Greg and my sister Loree, who have been great supports for me for a long period of time.

And tonight I would also honour the memory of my mum and dad. Dad died nearly 40 years ago. Heíd be surprised about tonight, particularly as he was in the Country Party. And mum who died the day before the last election. I honour their memory and I salute the values they delivered to this, their son.

Because you know something? Without family we are nothing.

Friends, history has given our generation the opportunity to shape a new future for this nation of ours, Australia. Let us be the generation that seizes the opportunities of today to invest in the Australia of tomorrow. Thatís the mission statement we have as the next Government of this country. But I want to do it by us all working together as one.

Tomorrow, and I say this to the team, we roll up our sleeves, weíre ready for hard work. Weíre ready for the long haul. You can have a strong cup of tea if you want in the meantime; even an iced Vo Vo on the way through, for the celebrations should stop there.

We have a job of work to do. Itís time, friends, for us, together as a nation, to bind together to write this new page in our great nationís history. I thank the nation.