Opposition leader Bill Shorten has surprised everyone last night putting the ALP within striking distance of forming government after everyone expected that it would take at least two, if not three elections following Tony Abbott’s comprehensive win in 2013.
Many expected Shorten’s leadership of the ALP to be short-lived when Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister, but after a tight election result, it’s now starting to look like Shorten has landed a potentially fatal blow on the PM’s grip on the top job.
Here’s what Shorten told the party faithful late on Saturday night:
We will not know the outcome of this election tonight.
Indeed, we may not know it for some days to come.
But there is one thing for sure – the Labor Party is back.
Every single one of you and thousands and thousands of our supporters and members right across this marvellous country, you should have great pride in what we have accomplished.
In the past three years – we have united as a party.
In the past eight weeks – we have run a magnificent campaign.
We have argued for our positive plans.
And three years after the Liberals came to power in a landslide, they have lost their mandate.
And Mr Turnbull’s economic program, such as it was, has been rejected by the people of Australia.
Whatever happens next week, Mr Turnbull will never be able to claim that the people of Australia have adopted his ideological agenda.
He will never again be able to promise the stability which he has completely failed to deliver tonight.
Friends, whatever happens next week – whether we are in government or in Opposition – the Labor Party is re-energised, it is unified and it is more determined than ever.
And we promise the Australian people that from government or indeed opposition, we will save Medicare.
Every single member of the Labor and every of our supporters of our cause, should be happy and proud and ready to keep on fighting for the things we believe in.
I would not swap a single day of the last three years – and I would not swap a single person who I’ve fought alongside.
We are a great team in Labor.
There are so many people to thank. But I wish in particular to acknowledge my friend and my deputy leader, Tanya Plibersek.
Tanya, you are all class and all heart.
I’d also like to thank my leadership group in the Senate, Senator Penny Wong and Senator Stephen Conroy.
Indeed, my leadership including Chris Bowen, Tony Burke and Jenny Macklin, my whole shadow cabinet.
My caucus colleagues, branch members, staff and volunteers.
And of course I wish to thank you the mighty trade union movement of Australia!
For your energy, your loyalty, your solidarity, your hard work.
And I also want to thank, amongst my many key advisors, I wish to acknowledge our National Secretary, George Wright.
I do have some very key advisors, they know who they are, but I know that my success is their success.
Thank you very much to the team that’s been travelling with me. And the Bill bus, love that.
But on a more serious note, I think I speak for all of us who are in politics, no one in public life can serve in politics without the love and support of our families.
Chloe – wherever you went in this campaign, you brought the sunshine with you.
The secret is out, you all know how lucky I am.
And to my children – Rupert, Georgette and Clementine – you mean everything to me. Thank you for the last four years.
Friends as happy and proud as we should be tonight, it is not about us.
Tonight is about the Australian people: their lives, their futures, the country that they want to live in. The dreams they have for them and their families.
And after the longest campaign in 50 years – it is time for our parliament to get back to work.
Millions of Australians have voted for Labor, expecting us to do just that.
Labor ran for government as a strong and united team.
We ran as the party with the most comprehensive policy agenda for this election and the plan to pay for it.
Tonight, we stand by our program, our mandate:
– Jobs with fair pay and penalty rates
– Education and Gonski
– Affordable Housing and reform of negative gearing.
– Real action on climate change
– And protecting our great national institution and one the greatest Labor achievements – Medicare.
I promise Australians, the Labor Party I lead will endeavour to find common ground with people of good will in the 45th parliament.
People who have been elected to serve their communities and are intent upon doing that.
In that spirit, I wish to congratulate every member, from all parties and those independent of party, those who’ve been newly elected tonight.
And equally, offer my commiserations to those who have lost their seats.
Being called to serve your country in our Parliament, for any period of time is a rare honour and privilege indeed.
And I thank the people of Maribyrnong for entrusting me with that great responsibility on a fourth occasion.
My fellow Australians, we live in a remarkable and gifted country.
We are a generous, diverse nation, enlarged by the compassion and courage of all who call it home.
At this election, Labor has shown we are a party for all Australians from every generation and in every part of our nation.
In our cities and our regions, from the grand country towns to new and growing suburbs.
Battlers and small business people, our farmers and our teachers.
We are the party for the first Australians and all those who have followed from every faith, and every nation and every tradition.
We are the party for people who love each other and deserve the right to get married.
We are the party for women seeking equal opportunity at work and apprentices looking for a start and older workers looking for a new start.
We are the party that includes every citizen of the great Australian aspiration of the fair go all round.
We are the party for the people whose voice all too often goes unheard.
And I in particular tonight, I say to all those Australians who feel marginalised and forgotten, alienated and excluded. And to all those Australians who feel politics as usual simply doesn’t work for them.
Labor will not leave you behind.
Labor will not let you down.
We are the party for all those who serve, all who strive, all who care for one another, all who make our country what it is.
Your futures and your opportunities, this will always be our mission.
Together, there is nothing that we cannot achieve.
Together, we will build a better country, for all Australians.
Thank you very much for your support.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.