Transcript: Zoe Daniel’s Campaign Launch Speech, Sunday 10th April 2022
Thank you for being here.
Thank you for finding your voices and for helping me to find mine.
Thank you for being part of history.
Because make no mistake, we are on the brink of great and optimistic change.
This grass roots movement, this community campaign has shown that Goldstein can lead.
We can do politics differently; we can come together across the political spectrum for a common cause and we can work together for a better future.
We can collaborate, we can problem solve and we can progress – if our party political system can’t do it – we will make it happen ourselves.
Someone has to.
Today, in this audience, I see people who usually vote liberal, labor, green, I see swinging voters, I see older voters, I see new voters and I see future voters.
Why are we all here?
Because it’s time to act. It’s the next 3 years that matter.
And if not us, who? If not now, when?
The same is not safe.
No matter who I talk to when I’m out and about in the community, when I ask, are you happy with Australian politics as it is?
The answer is a resounding – NO.
When I ask, do you trust our leadership?
We have the power to change that.
With our voices, and our votes.
We don’t have to tolerate poor leadership, lack of planning and strategy and dysfunctional government.
We can do better…and we must.
Because more of the same means more of the same; and the same is not safe.
The same is not safe for our climate, our economy and prosperity, our hard-earned taxpayers’ money and our women and girls.
The same is not safe for our elderly in aged care, the same is not safe for our young people.
I am no radical.
In fact, a vote for your community backed independent for Goldstein is safer than sticking with the status quo.
Because from me you will get honest and sincere leadership, reasoned decision making and someone who listens and acts, in good faith and with sincere intent.
Scott Morrison – and the one who really has control of the government Barnaby Joyce – talk about addressing climate change; the fact is the budget reveals that spending on climate would actually fall by 35 percent over the next four years under their watch..
All talk, no action. Same is not safe for our climate or our future prosperity.
The Prime Minister talks of superior economic management but where are the policies the community and business are crying out for to turbo-charge our unique opportunity to become a clean energy superpower, to ensure prosperity for our children and grandchildren.
More of the same means more of the same lack of strategy and lack of a plan.
The Prime Minister likes to talk about integrity, but on the eve of the election he’s made a bunch of partisan and unqualified appointments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
And where’s the National Integrity Commission that was promised in 2018?
More of the same means more of the same broken promises and dodgy dealing.
There is a crisis in the treatment of women, in parliament, in workplaces and in homes.
Women must feel safe at home, at work and in the community and yet the government dithers and deliberately delays the implementation of the key recommendations of the sex discrimination commissioner Kate Jenkins’ reviews.
Meanwhile violence against women and children continues to worsen, the gender pay gap is entrenched, and women cannot reach their full potential at work.
All talk, no action.
The same is not safe for our women and girls.
Aged care…the mental health system…the NDIS…the tax system…housing affordability…refugees….
Will our government, either party in our stalled two-party system address any of these things?
We need more bravery.
We need to be fierce.
Because our future as a community and a nation is at stake.
Report after report delivers recommendations that are not implemented because our major parties won’t tackle anything that’s HARD.
They will only do what’s POPULAR.
The problem with that is, that HARD things are HARD.
And taking the easy option every time to either keep power or get into power will not take us forward as a nation or a community.
Speaking of hard things.
It would be much easier for me, not to do this.
I didn’t aspire to be a politician.
Instead of fending off hit jobs in the press and grappling with the toxicity of politics, I could be running my own business, taking my kids to soccer and footy, walking the dog and hanging out with my husband at the beach.
You know, being normal.
That said, this campaign has been an inspiration in many ways – particularly in its demonstration of the power of community.
There is a realisation that together, we can achieve great things for this country.
That we can make history.
I feel so fortunate that this experience is affording me the opportunity to build so many strong and enduring friendships with so many different people from many different backgrounds.
These include Chinese Australians, people from South East Asian, and South Asian backgrounds and our Jewish community who have contributed so much.
As your community-backed, independent candidate, I make you this promise: I will always stand with you. I will always fight to keep you safe. Hate speech has no place in Australia. Holocaust denial has no place in Australia.
Nor does the co-opting of the trauma of the Jewish community for political gain.
I will fight to ensure that crucial legislation, like 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is never repealed or watered down to enable hate speech. Indeed, I will fight to strengthen it.
Where others may seek to wedge and divide, this campaign has shown the power of unity.
The cynical politics of division, hate, fear and disinformation must come to an end.
If not us, who?
If not now, when?
As many of you know, my initial response, when I was asked by the Voices of Goldstein to step into this role, was no way.
I’ve been in the room where it happens, observing, I know what goes on.
But you can only yell at the TV for so long.
You can only feel frustrated and powerless for so long.
You can only tell your kids, I can’t do anything about that darling, for so long.
There comes a time when you need to be brave, you need to be fierce, and you need to simply, try.
Those of you who are supporting, volunteering, donating, wearing t shirts, putting up signs, putting yourselves out there for this campaign – you’re being brave and fierce.
And this is your community campaign, your community movement, you are carrying me forward.
As a former journalist and three-time foreign correspondent, I have covered conflict, disasters, politics, economics and business across the world.
I have synthesized complex foreign policy issues and unfolding events often under enormous pressure. I have spent a lot of time talking to and listening to people with different views than me.
I have learnt things from all of those conversations.
I am a lifelong swinging voter. I see goods and bads in the policies of both major parties.
These things, along with my life experiences; in the Arctic, in the aftermath of floods, bushfires and super typhoons – in Australia, the US and Southeast Asia – in the Oval office, at Wall Street, in refugee camps, after mass shootings and crises, amid budgets and elections…make me the person who can press our priorities from the cross bench.
Just about every policy issue, I have some life context for. And if I don’t, I know how to find and ask people who do.
When you scratch the surface of what needs to be done, wow, it’s a lot.
But as my 13-year-old daughter told me when I was grappling with whether to do this or not – you thrive on pressure mum!
Or as my 15-year-old son said, you have to do this mum, someone has to do this for us.
Because while all of your futures are at stake it’s our young people who will pay the price for continued inaction, continued self-interest, the continued absence of vision.
To our young people, our kids, our babies, I’m sorry – sorry that your generation is going to pay the price for the failure of those who have come before you, for failing to make government take the action we need to future proof our nation and the globe from the devastating impact of climate change on your lives and those of your children.
I’m pleased – so pleased that you are here; that you haven’t given up the fight; that you’re prepared to take up the fight.
You are so inspiring to me.
Importantly, I know that you will use your votes to make up for lost time.
Even more importantly – your presence here demonstrates that you will convince your friends to enrol to vote, join our effort and come election day – VOTE.
And vote the issue. In the house and in the Senate. If it’s climate – vote the issue.
We don’t have much time – it is what we do in the next three years – between now and 2025 that can change our direction.
That was the big message contained in this year’s IPCC report. We must act now and what Scott Morrison is proposing – net zero by 2050 with no actual or set roadmap – means nothing without more action now – and it is government action that is the key.
Inaction means next to no snow at Buller and Falls, surfing spots on the Surf Coast wrecked, no Reef, no koalas, but also fewer and lower paying jobs. The way we live, our prosperity, our safety are in jeopardy.
The IPCC projects that without action wages could fall by 50 percent by 2060 – seems a long way off, but by then many of you will have kids your age.
Less money to help you get them to uni; less money to help you help them buy a home.
More of the same means more of the same – and that’s simply not good enough.
That’s one of the main reasons I decided to step off the sidelines, get onto the field and try to start kicking goals.
We are at the three quarter time mark of the preliminary final, we are the underdog and we are still a couple of goals down, but we have a sniff of victory.
With determination, with focus, with drive and with teamwork we can pull off this upset together.
We can win, with your support and that of the people you know – friends, colleagues, mums and dads, people you meet at the pub – we can do it.
And when I am elected …
…that’s the grand final and then we kick the goals inside the parliament.
So let me be specific for a moment about the pillars on which I am standing, starting with climate, the issue that always emerges as a top priority for the Goldstein community:
- At least a 60 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2030
- an independent climate body with teeth, to hold governments of all persuasions accountable.
- A binding legislated emission reduction target that is not tied to elections.
- An end to taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels
- Subsidies to be redirected to clean, renewable industries, technologies and jobs
- No new coal or gas developments.
- Orderly closure of coal fired power plants while delivering structured transformation of affected communities ensuring their economic security and future prosperity.
- Electrify everything! Continuing and strengthening solar rebates and subsidies
- Fix the grid to support more solar energy
- Make solar batteries affordable and part of the national grid
- Accelerate the transition to electric vehicles
- A National Integrity Commission with teeth – a properly funded, fully independent with broad jurisdiction
- A code of conduct for elected representatives
- Root and branch reform of political donations including timely disclosure of donations
- A requirement for ministers to disclose their diaries and for all lobbyists to register and disclose their meetings with politicians and advisers
- The introduction of caps on spending by candidates, political parties, and entities that campaign in elections, to even the playing field
- Whistleblower protection
- And Truth in political advertising
On Gender Equality
- And Gender equality, which is pivotal to Australia’s progress: socially, morally and economically.
- Invest in well-paid, secure jobs in health, education and care industries including early childhood education and care, aged care and disability care
- Make quality early childhood education and care accessible and affordable delivered by a well-supported and properly funded workforce
- Expand the Commonwealth Paid Parental Leave scheme for all parents to 26 weeks immediately
- Extend the superannuation guarantee help reduce the superannuation gap between women and men at retirement
- Implement in full all 55 recommendations of the Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner’s Respect@Work report, particularly a positive duty for employers
- Implement the recommendations of the Set The Standard report on behaviour in parliament
- Include 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards
- Invest in crisis housing for older women and people experiencing family and domestic violence
- And Include clearer actions, targets and appropriate funding for the National Plan to end Violence Against Women
Some of the people I meet – on the street, when I’m door knocking, in my local cafe ask me who I’d support if neither of the major parties has a majority.
But here’s my question: how can I be expected to answer it when we haven’t even voted?
The result of the election is in your hands – and I hope you’ll elect me.
But here’s what I can say: the leaders of the parties of government – and that’s the Liberal and Labor parties – aspiring to be Prime Minister will know exactly why I’ve been elected.
Because of your desire for more and better action on climate, on integrity and on gender equality.
Because the status quo is not good enough.
I will assess how close either of the men – and they will be men – come to meeting what you want and what I have campaigned on – on climate, integrity and women, in particular.
And then, in consultation with you, the Goldstein community, I will make my decision.
There’s also the question of preferences.
Contrary to some of the lies being spread about the electorate I will not – repeat not – be directing preferences.
I believe you all have the intelligence to decide that – after voting 1 Zoe Daniel – where YOU will direct your preferences.
It’s entirely up to you and that is just as it should be.
I ask you to trust me with your number one.
Beyond that, your preferences are your choice.
So, here we are, on the cusp of great change, on the brink of history, with the hope and capacity to change Australian policy for a generation.
To make our voices heard as a community.
On climate, on integrity, on equality, to reframe our thinking through an optimistic lens, to stop looking backwards, to start looking forward.
The same is not safe.
But the future can be.
Let’s find our voice and make history together.
Because, if not us – who?
If not now, when?