Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has pledged to bring Australians together in 2023 in a speech outlining his priorities at the Woodford Folk Festival in Moreton Bay.
Battling against the chants of protesters at the beginning of his speech, Mr Albanese “gave them a minute” before he spoke on his vision for a better future, including his government’s determination to enshrine an Indigenous voice to parliament in the constitution, and to support the arts.
Albanese criticised the former Coalition Government for not understanding that the arts is not a luxury.
“We cannot separate ourselves from the arts; the arts are central to our culture.”
“It is through the arts that we build our identity as a nation and as a people,” he said.
The six-day celebration of music and culture is being held for the first time in almost three years. Albanese paid tribute to former prime minister Bob Hawke, one of the festival’s greatest fans, saying he left a great legacy of going the distance and making life better for his fellow Australians.
“An extraordinary leader who understood that no leader stands alone.”
Mr Albanese said Mr Hawke’s ambition was able to rally a nation and encouraged people to move forward together.
“No one’s time in government is infinite. The clock is always ticking.
“I firmly believe that a good way to make the best possible use of that time is to carry Bob’s example in your heart.”
Mr Albanese said Australians voted for change and they are working hard to deliver it, citing his party’s achievements in establishing a stronger climate target, paid domestic violence leave, a national anti-corruption commission, establishing the Royal Commission into Robodebt and repairing international relations.
He said they are prioritising working to close the gender pay gap and achieve gender equality, appropriate for the first ever caucus that has a majority of women. He also said his team was more diverse and representative than has ever occurred since federation.
But he said it was only the beginning for his government and they will continue to build on the momentum of the first seven months, and be a mature government that will keep delivering on the commitments made to the Australian people.
Albanese also pledged to make Australia a renewable energy superpower, which should be welcome news to the New England with our significant renewable assets and developments.
“As a nation, we are blessed with so much sunshine and wind that it would be an act of perversity to not harness them.
“They are there for the taking. With them, we can drive down emissions.”
“We’ll bring our powergrid into the 21st century, creating the infrastructure for transmission that is essential if we are to transition.”
Towards the end of his speech he committed to holding the referendum on the Indigenous voice to parliament before the next Woodford Folk Festival.