2007 Budget Reply Speech: Kevin Rudd
Mr Speaker, I am an optimist when it comes to our country’s future. Tonight I want to outline our plan for our country’s future.
I believe budgets should not be about the next election. They should be about the next decade. They should reflect the ambition we have for our nation’s long-term future.
Mr Speaker, we are truly blessed to be Australians. We live in a stable democracy, when many in the world do not. We have enjoyed great prosperity – and have benefited from a time of unparalleled world economic growth.
And to cap this off, we have prospered from the rise of China, the rise of India and the global resources boom.
The benefits of this are washing through the economy, creating jobs, generating new businesses and boosting government revenues to an all time high.
Mr Speaker, there is nothing to hold us back as a nation and as a people – except a lack of long-term vision. We are part of a world that is changing faster than ever before.
In 2004 the world pumped out a staggering 26.6 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions into our atmosphere just from fuel combustion alone. China graduated half a million scientists and engineers. India graduated more PhDs than we can imagine. Italy will soon be laying out a broadband network for two-thirds of its population of up to 100 megabits per second.
Big changes are coming. Big challenges are waiting around the corner. They will dramatically influence almost every aspect of our lives – some for the better, others for the worse. And some will be upon us in the blink of an eye.
Mr Speaker, how we respond to these future challenges will define the security and prosperity of our nation for generations to come. The same for our communities. The same for our families.
We can either wait for these challenges to swamp us and be left behind. Or we can anticipate them and act now while there is still time. We can either seize the great opportunities that have been presented to us. Or we can squander them.
Or as a great American President once said “the time to fix the roof is when the sun is shining”. The truth is the sun is shining right now on Australia. We must seize the day and get our house in order.
I believe Australia faces three core challenges to secure its future:
• First, to build long-term economic prosperity, beyond the mining boom, by rebuilding productivity growth.
• Second, to deal with, rather than avoid, the great challenge of climate change and water before the cost of inaction becomes far too great.
• Third, to make sure the fair go in Australia has a future, not just a past – both within the workplace and outside the workplace as well.
And beyond these three great challenges is the underlying challenge of remaining vigilant on our national security in an increasingly uncertain and threatening world.
Which is why Budgets need to be about the next decade, not simply the next election....... etc