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Statement [on standing for Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party]



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THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP Member for Maribyrnong

12 September 2013

STATEMENT

Thanks everyone for being here.

Today I am announcing that I am standing for Leader of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party.

I want to lead the rebuilding of our movement and the fight to win back government.

I am running because I believe Labor can win the next election.

I have taken the decision to stand with the interests of the great Australian Labor Party and the interests of my family at the forefront of my mind.

I have spoken to my Caucus colleagues and along with each of them, firmly believe that now is the time to stand and fight for what we believe in.

I want to see Labor win the battle of ideas and put our party back into serious contention for the next election.

I am under no illusion as to the task ahead of us.

It is devastating to have lost Government.

And we must learn the lessons of this defeat and take up the fight.

We cannot afford to sit back and bide our time in Opposition.

Labor cannot afford it - but more importantly, Australia cannot afford it.

Labor owes it to the millions of Australians who love a strong democracy and who want a unified alternative to vote for.

I want to lead the party to grow our membership and win back government so we can continue to make Australia a better place.

To do that, Labor needs to reach out beyond its traditional constituencies.

To do that, Labor needs to reignite our base.

We must fight and defend as hard as we can to protect those we know the Abbott Government’s policies will hurt the most.

I shall not sit by and watch the wreckers of Australian politics tear down everything we have built to make Australia stronger and fairer; the NBN, better schools, disability insurance, a fair go at work, more super and a price on carbon pollution.

That’s not the Labor way.

I have the commitment, the passion and the ideas to lead the Australian Labor Party and to take the fight up to the Coalition.

I want this period in Opposition to be about our ideas and vision for the nation’s future over the next 10 and 20 years, as much as it is about holding the Government to account.

The idea that we need to lift up every Australian school to give every child the best start in life.

The idea that Australians should not work hard all of their lives to retire poor.

The idea that Australians with disability and their carers should be equal and able to fulfil their potential.

The idea that we should be an innovative, productive outwardly focused job creating nation.

Labor can win the next election if we are the party of ideas, not just personalities.

I submit myself to my Caucus colleagues, whom I have spoken to over the last few days, and I welcome a ballot of Labor Members.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACT: Kimberley Gardiner 0419 778 229