JENNY MACKLIN - STATEMENT - DECISION NOT TO CONTEST THE NEXT ELECTION
July 06, 2018
Today I am announcing that I will not recontest the next election.
By 2019 I will have been in the Parliament for 23 years.
As the longest serving Labor woman in the House of Representatives, ever, 'It's Time', as Gough so famously said, for me to move on.
It is time for me to spend more time at home, especially with our new grand-daughter.
It's also time for the next generation. Although I still want to contribute to policy debates, it's time for me to step back.
Nominations for Victorian electorates will be opened soon, now that the redistribution is completed. So now is the right time for me to make this announcement. I will serve the remainder of my term on the backbench, so that a new shadow minister for social services has the time to get across this huge portfolio.
I want to thank Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek for their unity of purpose, policy leadership and determination to build a fairer Australia. Together, we have defeated the worst of Abbott and Turnbull’s cuts to families, pensioners and the unemployed.
I am confident that with their leadership, Australia will elect a Labor Government that understands the importance of investing in people and supporting them when they need it. I wish Bill, Tanya and the Labor team every success whenever the election is called. I’ll be right there with you.
I thank the people of Jagajaga, in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, for re-electing me at eight federal elections. I have loved being their representative. From the first campaign, we stood together in the fight to keep our hospital from privatisation. The Austin and Repat and Mercy Hospitals deliver for us every day. On this and on all issues important to our community, I have sought to be the strongest advocate I could for them.
There are so many other local community groups where we have been able to work together, and I thank them all for their commitment to the people we care so much about. I have been especially fortunate to get to know the Somali community in West Heidelberg. This has been an extraordinary privilege.
To my Labor colleagues, all those in the union movement, and to my local Labor Party branch members – thank you for the enormous support and friendship you have given me. It is wonderful to see so much talent in the caucus and to see the success of affirmative action. When I was elected in 1996, there were only four Labor women in the House. Now there are twenty-seven. I was the first Labor woman elected as Deputy Leader, and there have already been two more after me – with Julia Gillard as the first female Prime Minister. I have no doubt there will be many more Labor women in leadership positions.
To my family – my partner Ross, our children, Josie, Louis and Serge, now all adults with their own contributions to make, and our newest delight, our grand-daughter – thank you for standing with me. My parents and my sister continue to be a source of strength. The love of this family has sustained me through the good and hard times.
To my electorate staff: every constituent who has been helped, every local group that has received the extra funding they needed, every campaign that has been run for our hospitals and schools, none of this would have been possible without the dedication of my staff. I thank you all. In particular I thank my long-time staff member, Antony Kenney, for leading the team, and for his loyalty and support.
One of the great joys of having so many staff over 22 years has been the large number of babies born, expanding the “Macklin Clan”, as they start families of their own. They have been a very fertile lot!
My Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial staff have been outstanding, as were the highly skilled public servants I have worked with. It is not possible to deliver major reforms without great staff, and I was so fortunate to have so many.
I have been on the frontbench for all of the 22 years I've been in the Parliament, and we did a lot in that time.
We introduced a national paid parental leave scheme. We delivered the largest increase to the pension in its history, that saw a million people lifted out of poverty. And we established the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which is transforming the lives of people with disability. No longer will they be the subject of charity and a totally broken system of supports.
The long-awaited Apology to the Stolen Generations was delivered by Prime Minister Rudd, the Closing the Gap framework developed, and funding secured for First Australians. This included the significant commitment to remote Indigenous Housing, a 10-year investment that had never been done before.
Kevin Rudd also delivered the Apology to the Forgotten Australians, and Prime Minister Gillard created the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Both of these were significant steps in the pursuit of justice for children so badly abused. We also developed the first National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children. I thank both Prime Ministers for the opportunity to work with them on these reforms.
I have also been on the Expenditure Review Committee for all of this time, in Government and Opposition. I especially want to acknowledge Wayne Swan for his leadership as Treasurer through the Global Financial Crisis.
I also want to thank Wayne for his personal friendship over decades. It’s been a privilege working with Wayne to ensure as many Australians as possible know the security and dignity of employment. Nothing destroys families and communities more than the devastation of unemployment – the importance of good jobs for people is what has driven us both all these years.
It has been an honour to work with the advocates, people with disability, pensioners, first Australians, unions, women's groups, care leavers and survivors of abuse, community and not for profit groups. Australia is stronger for their courage and passion.
There is much that remains to be done. Serious reductions in inequality require serious policy reform – making sure we have a strong social safety net, decent jobs with good conditions, employment-centred growth to deliver full employment, and strong pillars of Medicare and public education on which to build a prosperous and fair society.
I am leaving the parliament, but I’m not finished with public policy or public life. I will continue to do all I can for my local community and to be an advocate for a more equal Australia