21 May 2022 - “The fear and smear that we’ve had for too long in Australian politics has to be over. I think it is time for change.”
ZALI STEGGALL: ACCEPTANCE SPEECH, 21.5.2022
Thank you everyone, isn’t it amazing? I’m actually quite emotional. It is such an amazing feeling to be here with all of you. You are a most unbelievable amazing team, so joyous, joyful energetic. You are the heart and soul of this campaign. Thank you so much Team Zali.
I have to thank first and foremost, my family. Tim, Rex, Remy, Chloe, Mum and Dad. It takes a village to make this happen. It is a huge commitment to serve your community, and to do this. So I’m incredibly thankful for the energy, the love and support that I get from them.
You are my extended family – a very important family as well.
Now the other family that I have to thank incredibly, and right at the front, is my electoral office staff. First, Bronwyn, my Chief-of-Staff. You all know that she has been my co-pilot on this jumbo bus for the last three years. The team is all here. They’ve done an incredible job in serving Warringah. Helping whether it’s been visas, NDIS, aged care, help along the way, policy, putting forward the Climate Change Bill, Stop the Lies – so many phenomenal legislations that we absolutely need to pass. Thank you to the team. Your passion has been amazing.
Now, here I have some very special team people whom you all know have put in an amazing amount of time and effort. Led by Kirsty, Tina, Ann-Charlott and Rob Purves. People ask me, how did we do it: fourteen hundred volunteers whose energy and passion over three years that has not dimmed. We have just gone from strength to strength. It is these amazing people who behind the scenes calling, organising, rallying the troops, but with a passion and vision for what politics can be. Politics can be about positive policies. It can be about our community and a better future for our kids. And it is their vision that has made it all possible. So thank you.
Now many of you have been out for long, long hours for the last two weeks of pre-polling. And all the dancing with umbrellas, all the fun we’ve had but I have to acknowledge all the AEC staff that have just been amazing over the last two weeks – very long hours, sometimes under so tough conditions, sometimes very excited …. pro-active volunteers. So, I’d like to thank all the AEC staff for their work. Importantly, all the other candidates in the race here in Warringah – it takes a lot of courage to step up, to want to represent your community and serve your community. For them a lot of energy goes into it. So, thank you to them and their volunteers. We had some great chats over the last two weeks and today when we went around from booth to booth. The enthusiasm from so many who are often from within the community, no matter what colour T-shirt they were wearing. It was great to see a congeniality and collective, for the joy of serving democracy.
So, for them as well, I do acknowledge them. But I have to say, for tonight, right? Three years on, this is a win for community. This is a win. It is time for a new kind of collective. We want, absolutely, we want policies and representation in Canberra that matters. It’s not about holding on to power or wedging the other side. It’s about vision. It’s about how great we can be. And the athlete in me, the Olympian, I want to win! And we have the smart people. Look at you. We absolutely have the smart people. And we have the technology and the opportunity. But at the moment we lack the political will in the major parties and in government. And communities are saying, ‘it’s time for a new style of politics’. We need to change the climate in Canberra if we want to have positive, future-focussed policies. And that is what Warringah started in 2019.
Today I did visit about eighteen booths and I’m sorry for those that I didn’t get to see. But I had some amazing conversations. One was actually at St Kieran’s Primary School where I got to see some Year 6 kids and they talked about what they were worried about, and what they’re passionate about. They asked me to take care of their environment and take care of climate. But more importantly, they – there were a lot of girls in that group, and they said, ‘girl power’ was what they wanted. Then the boys in the group said. ‘boy power’ and then, together, united, they all said, ‘equality power’. And to me that so resonates. That is what we all want. We want a parliament that is respectful; that debates the ideas; that looks to the future; puts in place policies that will help our kids and our grandkids and look to future generations. We can do this. The fear and smear that we’ve had for too long in Australian politics has to be over. I think it is time for change.
It is absolutely time for integrity in Australian politics. We want a federal integrity and anti-corruption commission with teeth, with real powers. We want a respectful and inclusive society that celebrates everyone within our community. It’s when we appreciate everyone that we will all lift to be the best we can be and that is what we have to strive for and I pledge to do for you.
It’s been a rollercoaster three years since the 2019 election. Certainly no-one could have predicted the years of Covid and lockdown and the challenges and the unbelievably challenging situations when it’s come to the bushfires and floods. We have seen climate refugees on our coast. We have been smoke blanketing our communities. It is time we looked to these issues and we absolutely need leadership and courage to tackle these problems. Sweeping them under the carpet or denying their importance just won’t do anymore. So, it is incredibly exciting to know that Warringah in 2019 inspired so many other communities to change the status quo.
I want to wish the very best of luck to fellow independents running around the country. I think it’s time for a parliament of balance where all of our community voices are heard and I just really look forward to that opportunity to take to Canberra that sensible voice and expert base and real solutions that can have an impact on those big challenges of our time.
So Warringah, Team Zali, thank you so much. It is an incredible honour and privilege to have your trust for another three years; I really appreciate it. You know, back in 2019 there were a lot of naysayers and doubters who thought this was just a flash in the pan and we know what they all said but what we’ve shown is that movement grows and positivity and a vision for the future where we actually all do better is something we all look for and the community wants.
So let this be a new wave of politics; a new wave of opportunity; let’s change the climate in Canberra. Thank you Warringah!
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