04 August 2023



I begin by acknowledging that I am speaking to you from the lands of the Ngunnawal people and pay my respects to their elders past and present and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples joining us here today.  

I am really looking forward to campaigning for Constitutional Recognition through a Voice for Australia’s first peoples, at a referendum to be held later this year. And I thank you in advance for all the help and support you will all make to the Yes campaign.

As unionists you know – every single conversation matters.

It's really great to join you virtually today.

And to have the opportunity to talk briefly about the work we have been doing over the past 14 months to deliver on our election commitments and clean up the mess left behind by a lost decade under the former Coalition government.

Much of the platform we are implementing are commitments that have been advanced from the work that all of you, as proud unionists, have been campaigning for for years – a fairer deal for workers and a fairer deal for women.  

We haven’t wasted any time to do that and we’ve reflected that in legislation that has passed the parliament over the past year.

Like the Fair Work Act that focused on barriers for women in bargaining and pay, or our first Act to pass the parliament setting up the first paid entitlement to family and domestic violence leave.

Or through our submissions to the Fair Work Commission on aged care workers, or through the annual wage review where Government submissions have specifically focused on women, work and pay.

Or through our budget decisions – with child care and aged care the two single biggest investments made in our October and May budgets.

Supported by other decisions like:

  • extending and modernising paid parental leave;
  • abolishing ParentsNext;
  • expanding the Parenting Payment (Single);
  • Increasing transparency on gender pay gap reporting
  • And implementing all of the 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work report.

One of the other strengths of the Albanese Government is that we are also Australia's first majority women government.

Women make up 53% of the Labor caucus with 55 women out of 104 MPs and Senators.

This didn’t happen without a fight of course, as many of you will know and who would have been part of the affirmative action campaign in our party.

Well, that campaign has paid off because unlike our opponents – who have gone backwards with only 26% of their party room women (the lowest in 30 years!) – changing the rules and supporting women into parliament actually does pay off!!

You’ll be pleased to know that in their Election Review, the Liberal Party have committed to aim for 50% women in their party room in the next 10 years – or in three elections time.

Friends, we are part of the great labour movement.

Where we commit ourselves through our work and our advocacy to make Australia a better place.

A fairer place.

A more equal place.

I want to thank you for everything that you do to make this a reality. Because the work you do – informs and guides the work that I do.

And know that together and across the labour movement we are making a practical difference to the lives of millions of Australian women and girls.

And of course, we know that our work is never done – so I look forward to working with each and every one of you to

Continue our important work.

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today and enjoy the conference.