One Year To Go


Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith

25 March 2018

My friends.

With respect,

I acknowledge that we meet on Darug land.

With humility,

I pay my respects to their elders, past and present.

And with hope,

I look forward to the second Monday in June next year…

a public holiday dedicated to Indigenous culture

and history.

And on that day,

the Aboriginal flag will fly high above our Harbour Bridge. 

As it will every day!

But before we can share that celebration, we must pass the test on

March twenty-three.

The test of Election Day is less than a year away.


That is the beauty of democracy -

the people, decide.

And the central message here today… is that New South Wales Labor is ready.

Ready to speak up...

To stand up...

To earn the confidence of the people.

And we are ready to govern.

Ready to deliver.

To deliver for the people.

But friends… I want to let you in on a secret.

I’m going to be a premier for

parents and pupils,

for patients and passengers

I’ve got no interest in delivering for a handful of power-brokers on the SCG Trust. 


That little secret -

let me share it with you

Schools and hospitals - before stadiums!

A fairer New South Wales.

So now…

This government’s in its 8th year.

In the last four years…

the conservatives have had three Premiers,

three Deputy Premiers and four Treasurers.

All that personnel … hardly the model of stable government.

All those changes...

But only one idea…

The grand record of their achievement…

the sum total of their plan for your future…


Selling $50 billion worth of assets...

…and they’re not even very good at it.

Ask the deal makers who picked up Vales Point power station... Up in Yasmin’s electorate.

Built in 1978 by the Wran Government to secure Sydney’s power supply.

Sold by this Government … for just one million dollars.

You’d struggle to find a house for a million dollars around here...

and they sold a one thousand three hundred and twenty megawatt power station for that.

And the new owners... revalued it at

seven hundred and thirty million dollars.

Nice work if you can get it!

Seven hundred and thirty million dollars that could have been spent on your hospitals, your transport, your schools.

The genius in charge of that transaction?

The then Treasurer,

Ms Berejiklian.

Just as well she had those couple of years working for the Commonwealth Bank.

Imagine the deal she’d have done without that priceless banking experience!

A Treasurer out of her depth then… a Premier out of her depth now.

With a Cabinet out of touch… and a Sports Minister out of control.

We will put a stop to their mismanagement and waste... This reckless stadium splurge.

I will say it every day until election day. 

Labor will not build these new stadiums.

Labor will build

new schools!

My friends.

Sydney hit forty degrees a week ago -

on March 18.

Seven of Australia’s hottest years ever have been recorded since 2005.

On January the 7th the hottest place on Earth was in Western Sydney.

Hotter than the Sahara, hotter than the Sinai.

School was back three weeks later.

Edel and I know how wrung out our three are when they get home from school on a good day.

The door bursts open …

the shoes fly off …

they smash open the pantry and tear the door off the fridge...

leave weet bix and muesli bars and slices of cheese all along the route from the kitchen to the TV.

It’s a horrific sight.

But seriously,

in summer it’s appalling.

Every grandparent knows how hot our schools are at end of year concerts and presentations.

Every parent knows what it’s like at three thirty... The kids melt in the door.

Every teacher knows what it’s like at two thirty...  They melt at their desks.

If the kids can barely breathe...

How can they learn?

I saw it first-hand this week... Here in Western Sydney... At the Ponds High School.

A new school…

It opened just three years ago.

It’s already full...

1150 students

The Liberals just didn’t build a school big enough... even for the needs of today.

Next year the Ponds High School will need twelve demountable classrooms.

And in just five years they’ll require fifty demountables!

Roland De Pree, who runs the Ponds P and C, is here today.

On Friday, he told me about the overcrowding, the lack of resources, and the ridiculous situation of the teachers and kids trying to do their work in forty-degree heat.

Roland’s words;

They are roasting,

not learning.

Our classrooms are not air conditioned.

Compare that to our prison cells.

I can assure you murderers, drug dealers and terrorists serve their time in air-conditioned comfort… a necessary evil.

Architects, accountants, systems administrators work in air-conditioned spaces... Rightly so.

Members of parliament have air-conditioned offices.

And every corporate box at the Sydney Football Stadium and the Olympic Stadium is


Every single one.

In the last twelve months I've held town hall meetings right across the state…

in Queanbeyan,

in Panania

and Holsworthy

and Camden…

and many other towns and suburbs.

This last week I’ve visited communities

right across the state…

on the far north coast,

the far south coast,

in western New South Wales and in suburbs throughout Sydney.

No one said to me we should spend less on the comfort of our teachers or less on the education of our kids.

No-one said to me we should spend more on facilities for big private sponsors of major sport.

Now, friends...

our teachers work,

and our children learn,

in conditions that are simply unprofessional.

There are very few indoor public spaces in the state which are not air conditioned.

So I announce today…

That if Labor is elected to Government next March…

We will allocate

300 million dollars...

To air condition hundreds of schools across the state.

Here in Penrith…

in this electorate…

all 22 local public schools will be


Across Sydney’s west and in regional New South Wales, thousands of classrooms and tens of thousands of children will have air conditioning for the first time.

And All new schools built... will be built with air conditioning...

- Frankly, I can’t believe this isn’t  the case already -

Powered wherever possible with renewable energy - rooftop solar.

Installed by skilled and licensed local workers in trades inspected and regulated by the state.

Labor will air condition children’s classrooms.

The Liberals will

air condition the corporate suites at their new stadiums.

Labor’s Cool Schools policy is the newest element in our comprehensive plan for education and training.

Surplus Government land will go to build new and expand existing schools… an unprecedented schools building program.

Every new public school will have childcare or before and after school care facilities, on site.

All new schools…

public, Catholic and independent…  exempt from crippling local infrastructure charges.

Every primary school student… taught a second language.

Every child able to access to at least

15 hours of affordable preschool education per week, in the year before school.

A minimum 70% of vocational education and training funding going to TAFE... Guaranteed.

15 percent of jobs on major Government construction projects - allocated to apprentices, trainees, indigenous Australians and the long term unemployed.

And a new way for our local libraries...

The heartbeat of local learning.

The state Government’s per resident subsidy for local libraries has been frozen for years.

The result?

Shrinking collections, dwindling staff,

shorter hours.

We cannot be a state where everyone learns throughout life... if we're not a state where everyone has a great local library.

So today I can announce...

A Labor Government will double per capita funding to local public libraries all over our state.


Because we’re here today campaigning for hospitals and schools, the Premier's followed us…

Today she’s reannouncing a policy she announced in March last year... stage two of Nepean hospital’s upgrade.

The fact is,

Ms Berejiklian and the local member here,

Mr Ayres, will build an entirely new stadium in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs by 2021…

…but make people here in the west wait for years longer for the Nepean Hospital upgrade.

When it comes to hospitals, we will do so much more than the Liberals… because we won’t splurge 2.7 billion dollars on new stadiums.

NSW Labor has a plan for health and education.

The Liberals have a policy for corporate suites.

They always have the wrong priorities.

No wonder the Government will put big bucks into the Northern Beaches tunnel.

Sydney doesn’t need a new toll road on the North Shore.

Our city needs a rail link to the new Western Sydney airport and improved rail lines between the Sydney and Parramatta CBDs.

The Liberals have always ignored the west.

And now the leadership of the National Party is bored with representing the bush.

They’ve got to like city life... They quite enjoy the air conditioned stadium suites.

And the people who have so long relied on the Nationals can tell.

I've heard it myself.

In Wilcannia and Menindee, on the banks of the Darling River, where the Nationals have stolen the water from their own constituents.

In Broken Hill...

where the students and teachers at the TAFE campus told me their courses have been cut and the Government’s advice?

Go to Dubbo for class!

Eight hours drive east!

At Coonamble in our west, north of Dubbo -

Actually in a paddock twenty seven kilometres north of town - where 150 farmers converged to tell me how angry they are at the Nationals.

I’d been expecting to talk to 20.

Life long National Party voters... whose precious water from the great artesian basin is now at risk from a National Party intent on expanding the coal seam gas industry.

Now, you all know I don’t mind a punt at the track.

I was at the Golden Slipper yesterday.

The Miracle Mile at Menangle last month.

At the Coonamble greyhound carnival they have a Thank You Luke Foley Stakes...

530m... The inaugural winner: a dog named

Lunatic Desley!

I’m always searching for a trifecta... But here’s the National Party’s trifecta.

A greyhound ban...

Coal seam gas...

And a Sydney stadium splurge.

That’s the National Party trifecta!


Four more years of a Liberal National Government would be dismal enough.

Four more years of a Liberal National Government in coalition with

One Nation would be dreadful.

Labor will not give

One Nation a single preference anywhere in New South Wales.

Here’s my challenge to Ms Berejiklian and

Mr Barilaro… the Liberal and National Parties must do the same.

I fear the Premier just doesn't have the strength to do the right thing.

The Premier seems bound by a vow of silence.

Ms Berejiklian, you should know better.

John Howard, when he led the Liberal Party federally, put One Nation last.

Do the right thing

and say it today.

I would rather lose an election than cosy up to a political party that advocates racial discrimination.


In New South Wales politics, every seat has always counted.

I think of 1976 and 1995 that were so hard fought  - Wran and Carr forming Labor Governments with a majority of just one seat.

There are people here who have worked on every Labor campaign in those forty plus years.

There are people here who are chomping at the bit to work on their first great Labor campaign.

Every vote counts.

Every door knock,

every phone call,

every conversation,

will make a difference

Here in Penrith today we well recall that Neville Wran so famously remarked...

It was said of Caesar Augustus that he found Rome brick and left it marble.

It will be said of Gough Whitlam that he found the outer suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane unsewered and left them fully flushed.

This is always the Labor way.

Essential public services… the building blocks of a good life… for everyone.

Schools and hospitals, before stadiums.


not coliseums.

The people want a fairer New South Wales.

The people are ready for good Labor government.

We’re ready to campaign...

We’re ready to govern…

We have one year to go…

Let’s get out there

and get this done!