Only hours after the counting of votes started for the Federal Election, the Labor Party had enough support to oust the former Liberal/National Coalition.
Over the weekend former Prime Minister (PM) Scott Morrison conceded defeat as the early counting of votes showed the Coalition would not win enough seats to form Government.
The leader of the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, was sworn in as Australia’s Prime Minister today.
In his victory speech, PM Albanese spoke of his commitment to greater equality across Australia.
"During this campaign, I have put forward a positive, clear plan for a better future for our country and I have shared the two principles that will drive a Government that I lead,” says PM Albanese.
"No one left behind - because we should always look after the disadvantaged and the vulnerable. But also no one held back, because we should always support aspiration and opportunity.
“That is what my Government will do.”
He spoke of his upbringing and his hope that the actions of his Government will support Australians to achieve their dreams.
"My fellow Australians, it says a lot about our great country that a son of a single mum who was a disability pensioner, who grew up in public housing down the road in Camperdown, [New South Wales], can stand before you tonight as Australia's Prime Minister,” says PM Albanese.
"Every parent wants more for the next generation than they had.
“My mother dreamt of a better life for me and I hope that my journey in life inspires Australians to reach for the stars.”
In mentioning the action a Labor Government will take, PM Albanese highlighted policies on climate change, lifting wages, strengthening Medicare, protecting superannuation, and providing universal childcare.
He also mentioned fixing aged care, prioritising economic and social opportunities for women, establishing an anti-corruption commission and embracing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
While the Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is yet to be formally appointed, it is expected Bill Shorten will take the portfolio.
Mr Shorten has previously said Labor, the party that created the NDIS, will return it to its original vision by appointing people with disability to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and committing to co-design of the Scheme.
Other NDIS related changes Mr Shorten has committed to are lifting the staffing cap at the NDIA and adding a further 380 staff, reviewing the NDIS’ design, operation and sustainability, reviewing the use of external lawyers and consultants and streamlining the planning process, as well as fixing the reviews and appeals process.
The new Government Cabinet is expected to be sworn in next Wednesday.
Former PM Scott Morrison opened his concession speech on Sunday by congratulating PM Albanese and wishing the new Prime Minister and his Government the best.
He said it was important that he acknowledged defeat early on so that the country had certainty and could move forward.
“This has been a time of great upheaval over these past few years and it has imposed a heavy price on our country and on all Australians and I think all Australians have felt that deeply,” says Mr Morrison.
“We hand over this country as a Government in a stronger position than we inherited it when we came to Government those years ago under Tony Abbott.
“Unemployment today is at the lowest level in 48 years, Australians leaving school, leaving university, getting their trades, know that they have the confidence of being able to go out there and get a job and be able to realise their aspirations.”
Mr Morrison highlighted that his Government had invested in Australia’s defence force, doubled the support for mental health, increased the pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and assigned record funding to Medicare.
He announced he would step down as leader of the Liberal Party, but remain the Member for Cook.
Advocates welcome new Government
Chief Executive Officer of Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA), Mary Sayers, welcomes the Albanese Government and says the organisation looks forward to working with the new Ministers to achieve change.
Ms Sayers says the work will be on priorities promised by Labor in the lead up to the Election, including:
- Measures to improve the NDIS including co-designing any changes with the disability community
- Doubling existing support for disability advocacy, investing an additional $10 million over four years
- Creating an evidence-based Centre of Excellence to get more people with disability into long-term jobs
- Conducting a rapid review of the impact of COVID-19 on students with disability
However, Ms Sayers adds there is a lot more for the Government to do to address the inequality for children and young people with disability and that CYDA will also be meeting with Ministers to advocate for the priorities that were part of CYDA’s Election platform.
People with Disabilities Australia (PWDA), peak body for people with disability, has congratulated Labor on the win, as well as other successful candidates, and says it looks forward to working with the new Government to advance the rights of Australians with disability.
The organisation says it will continue to consult with its members to inform work with the newly elected members of Parliament in the key areas of COVID-19 response, the NDIS, employment, housing, safety, education and community attitudes.
PWDA will also use its Election campaign to ask the new Government for commitments in these areas.
Every Australian Counts, the organisation that runs the Defend Our NDIS campaign and was involved in advocating for the introduction of the NDIS a decade ago, directly thanked PM Albanese.
“We thank you for genuinely listening to us. For promising to Defend Our NDIS, we will hold you to that!" says the organisation.
“We look forward to meeting with and working with you, your party, the Greens, and independents new and old.
“We look forward to culture shifts - both in Parliament and in the NDIA - where the people in charge are proud of working in partnership with us, and proud to work towards a better future for people with disability.”
Among Every Australian Counts’ demands for change are; ensuring people who are ineligible for the NDIS can still get the support they need, making NDIS processes fair, transparent and accessible, improving planning processes, and bringing trust, pride and transparency back to the NDIA.
The Election requests of other disability organisations can be read here.