Transcript of press conference by Julia Gillard, Australia's new Prime Minister

Julia Gillard

June 24, 2010

Transcript of press conference by Julia Gillard, Australia’s new Prime Minister

Transcript of press conference

Thank you for joining me in this jam packed room.

And can I say, Australians one and all, it’s with the greatest humility, resolve and enthusiasm that I sought the endorsement of my colleagues to be the Labor Leader and to become Prime Minister of this country. I have accepted that endorsement.

And I am truly honoured to lead this country which I love.

I am utterly committed to the service of our people.

I grew up in the great state of South Australia. I grew up in a home of hardworking parents. They taught me the value of hard work. They taught me the value of respect. They taught me the value of doing your bit for the community.

And it is these values that will guide me as Australia’s Prime Minister.

I believe in a Government that rewards those who work the hardest, not those who complain the loudest.

I believe in a Government that rewards those who, day in and day out, work in our factories and on our farms, in our mines and in our mills, in our classrooms and in our hospitals, that rewards that hard work, decency and effort.

The people who play by the rules, set their alarms early, get their kids off to school, stand by their neighbours and love their country.

And I also believe that ‘leadership’ is about the authority that grows from mutual respect shared by colleagues, from team work and from hard work, team work and spirit.

It’s these beliefs that have been my compass during the three and half years of the most loyal service I could offer to my colleague, Kevin Rudd.

I asked my colleagues to make a leadership change.

A change because I believed that a good Government was losing its way.

And because I believe fundamentally that the basic education and health services that Australians rely on and their decent treatment at work is at risk at the next election.

I love this country and I was not going to sit idly by and watch an incoming Opposition cut education, cut health and smash rights at work.

My values and my beliefs have driven me to step forward to take this position as Prime Minister.

Today I want to make some commitments to the Australian people.

I want to make firstly a commitment that I will lead a strong and responsible Government that will take control of our future.

A strong and responsible Government improving and protecting the essential public services and basic rights our people depend on, including so importantly, their rights at work.

I wish to make two acknowledgments.

I take my fair share of responsibility for the Rudd Government’s record, for our important achievements and for errors made.

I know the Rudd Government did not do all it said it would do.

And at times, it went off track.

I also certainly acknowledge I have not been elected Prime Minister by the Australian people.

And in coming months I will ask the Governor-General to call for a general election so that the Australian people can exercise their birthright to choose their Prime Minister.

Between now and this election, I seek their consideration and their support.

And I seek that consideration and support as we emerge from the biggest financial crisis the world has faced since the Great Depression, with the lowest debt, amongst the lowest unemployment rates and the highest growth of the world’s economies.

This is an achievement we should be proud of – the working people, employers, employees, the trade unions, the small and big businesses, the employer associations who all made this possible.

I give credit to every hardworking Australian for hat has been achieved during these difficult economic days.

I give credit to the Labor giants, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, as the architects of the prosperity of modern Australia.

I give credit to John Howard and Peter Costello for continuing these reforms.

And I particularly give credit to Kevin Rudd for leading the nation in such difficult times and keeping people in work.

And today I can assure every Australian that their Budget will be back in surplus in 2013.

So, having seen the global financial crisis and how or nation has responded, it has reinforced in me my belief that when this nation pulls together, we can do great things.

It is my intention to lead a Government that uses that spirit and that will to do even more to harness the talents of all of our people.

To do even more to make sure that every child gets a fair go in life and a great education.

It is my intention to lead a Government that does more to harness the wind and the sun and the new emerging technologies.

I will do this because I believe in climate change. I believe human beings contribute to climate change.

And it is as disappointing to me as it is to millions of Australians that we do not have a price on carbon.

And in the future we will need one. But first we will need to establish a community consensus for action.

If elected as Prime Minister I will re-prosecute the case for a carbon price at home and abroad. I will do that as global economic conditions improve and as our economy continues to strengthen.

There is another question on which I will seek consensus and that is the proposed Resources Super Profits Tax.

Australians are entitled to a fairer share of our inheritance, the mineral wealth that lies in our grounds. They are entitled to that fairer share.

But to reach a consensus, we need do more than consult. We need to negotiate.

And we must end this uncertainty which is not good for this nation.

That is why today I am throwing open the Government’s door to the mining industry and I ask that in return, the mining industry throws open its mind.

And today, I will ensure that the mining advertisements paid for by the Government are cancelled.

And in return for this, I ask the mining industry to cease their advertising campaign as a show of good faith and mutual respect.

Negotiations will occur with the mining industry. They will be led by the Treasurer and new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Martin Ferguson.

Can I say as well as dealing with these issues that as incoming Prime Minister I want to say to our troops, men and women at home and abroad.

We are a grateful country and we acknowledge your sacrifice.

Our country relies on you to keep us safe.

To keep the peace and to honour the U.S. and the other alliances that are so important for our nation.

The most recent loss of life of brave Australian soldiers in Afghanistan and the injuries that have befallen our troops remind us all of the depth of the sacrifice that our serving men and women can be called on to make.

Our thoughts are certainly with the grieving families.

Ultimately, Kevin and I disagreed about the direction of the Government. I believed we needed to do better.

But Kevin Rudd is a man of remarkable achievement.

He made wonderful history for this nation by saying ‘Sorry’ to Indigenous Australians.

He was the Leader who withdrew our troops from Iraq and had the foresight to reinforce our commitment in Afghanistan.

The Leader who saw us through the global financial crisis.

The Leader who turned his intelligence and determination to health reform, combating homelessness and closing the gap for Indigenous Australians.

And he came within a breath of brokering an international agreement on climate change.

Truly remarkable.

Of course I will be talking to Kevin Rudd about his future in the Parliamentary Labor Party.

I am also delighted to be standing here with the new Deputy Prime Minister, Wayne Swan.

Wayne guided us through the very difficult waters of the global financial crisis. Now he’s guiding us back into surplus, getting the Budget back in the black.

Wayne is an outstanding Treasurer of this country and I know he will make an outstanding Deputy Prime Minister.

Of course, there will need to be some consequential changes in our Cabinet and ministerial arrangements and I will announce them at an appropriate time.

In conclusion can I say to my colleagues assembled, to the men and women off the press, I will dedicate my abilities to what I believe in.

A nation where hard work is rewarded and where the dignity of work is respected.

A nation that prides itself on the excellence of its education system.

Where Government can be relied upon to provide high quality services for all Australians.

An Australia that can achieve even greater things in the future. We should not be afraid of the future.

A strong Australia respected as a global force for progress, for peace and for tolerance.

A bright democracy for the world to admire.

And a sanctuary for all of our people.

Can I say to the Australian people there will be some days I delight you; there may be some days I disappoint you.

On every day, I will be working my absolute hardest for you.  

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