Friends –

It’s an honour to speak with some of the people that all of us have come to rely on these past few years.

Australians owe you – our healthcare heroes – so much.

Your work has never been more important.

Your contribution to our nation has never been so valuable.

And it’s time we had a federal government that recognises your value – and rewards it.

It’s my job today to introduce you to Albo.

The election is now on.

And you might have noticed on Saturday – the day before he finally called the election – Scott Morrison posted a video on social media.

In the video, he talks a lot…mainly about himself.

He talks about the pandemic. And how, apparently… he saved 40,000 lives…

That’s right – Scott Morrison saved 40,000 lives…

The bloke who couldn’t set up proper quarantine centres –

The bloke who didn’t order enough vaccines –

Is now telling us that he saved 40,000 lives.

We know the Prime Minister is prone to stretching the truth… but really?

We know the actual truth. You know the actual truth.

He didn’t save those lives – you did.

And we will always be grateful.

You were working to the point of collapse.

While he was making excuses for his mistakes.

You were working with each other to protect people.

While he was blaming everybody else.

You did your jobs – and you did them brilliantly.

While he said, again and again, “it’s not my job”.

And after all your work and all your sacrifice –

As soon as the election is on –

Morrison is stealing the credit.

And so I didn’t want to come here today without reminding everyone where the credit really lies – it lies with you and thousands of Australians like you.

So on behalf of the nation: Thank you.

The campaign has started.

The contest is underway.

And the choice is clear.

Three more years of Morrison –

Or a Better Future, with Australian Labor.

A Better Future where we train more nurses.

A Better Future where we put more nurses into aged care homes – to give our most precious Australians the dignity they deserve.

And a Better Future where we recognise those care workers –with a decent pay rise.

Friends –

This election is critical because our health and aged care systems are under more strain than they have ever been.

The truth is, at this election we need to rescue healthcare from Scott Morrison and the Liberals.

And that starts with prising Morrison’s hands off Medicare.

Because before every election, the Liberals say they won’t touch Medicare.

Then after every election, the Liberals cut Medicare.

And they are doing it again. They are cutting it every day.

Cut, after cut.

And it’s the sneakiness, the way they cut by stealth – that should concern Australians the most.

They don’t destroy Medicare overnight.

They are too tricky for that.

A cut here. A cut there.

It’s hard to notice day-to-day, or week-to-week –

But over time –

That’s what Morrison is doing to Medicare.

900 cuts and changes to rebates, freezing it over six years.

Australians cannot risk waking up in three years’ time to a Medicare system that is totally destroyed, and beyond saving… because Scott Morrison was given three more years to cut it down.

We can’t afford to let that happen to Medicare –

Which means we can’t afford three more years of Scott Morrison.

Now there’s another person running in this election – Anthony Albanese.

This is a man who talked about Medicare in his very first speech in Parliament, 25 years ago.

This is a bloke whose very first campaign on behalf of his local community was to save the Marrickville Medicare office from closing.

He’s fought to protect Medicare since day one.

Now he wants to strengthen Medicare – for all of us – as our next Prime Minister.

Because access to timely, quality and affordable healthcare relies on strong Medicare.

And Anthony knows that.

Not from some briefing note. Not from a poll or a focus group.

He learnt it from his mum.

Who raised him on her own, while dealing with her own debilitating illness, and getting by on the disability pension.

Some just see Medicare as a line item on a budget spreadsheet –

Anthony knows that behind every cut to Medicare is a person who is hurting –

He knows that, because he saw what happened when he was young, and health funding was cut.

He saw that the quality of care his mum received was cut as well.

Behind every one of Morrison’s cuts to Medicare is a person who is hurting –

Someone who is a little sicker, or a little poorer, than they otherwise have to be.

And too often, that’s exactly the choice many Australians have to face when they get sick now –

Do I want to be out of pocket? Or do I want to be out of care?

It’s time to put an end to that terrible, tragic choice.

Let’s, instead, make at this election a different choice.

Australians will choose who they wake up with on the 22nd of May –

Morrison…. or Medicare.

That is the choice –

Morrison or Medicare.

And there is only one person who can stop Morrison and protect Medicare.

So, please welcome him –

Ladies and gentlemen –

Anthony Albanese.


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