Albanese: 3 Times Optimistic for the Voice

"say yes to the invitation to walk together to a better future with humility and hope and optimism"

Speaking in Parliament on the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 Bill Second Reading, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese opened with optimism:

"I rise to contribute to the debate on the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023. 'We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.' That's the closing line of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. On Friday, it will be six years since that patient, gracious, generous and optimistic invitation was extended to the people of Australia; a hand outstretched, a powerful show of faith in the innate decency and fairness of all Australians. Through this legislation and this referendum, our government is giving the people of Australia the opportunity to take up that invitation, to grasp that hand. If not now, when?"

He then concluded: "In conclusion, Australians will cast their vote in this referendum 60 years after the Yirrkala bark petitions were tabled in the old parliament; 56 years after the 1967 referendum; 48 years after the sand poured through Vincent Lingiari's hands; 32 years after the Barunga Statement, painted and planned by Yunupingu, was hung on the wall of this parliament; 31 years after the High Court upheld Eddie Mabo's call for justice and overturned the discriminatory fiction of terra nullius; 15 years after we said sorry to the stolen generations. All of those were opposed at the time. All of those we were told would lead to bad outcomes. All of those are celebrated now. We hold them up as milestones of national progress. We see them as testament to the instinctive generosity and optimism and character of the Australian people. A 'yes' vote at this referendum is a chance for all of us to take the next step on the journey of reconciliation, to be counted and to be heard on the right side of history—more than that, to be part of a better and more reconciled future and nation.

"If not now, when? In this chamber, we are each of us one vote among 151. In this referendum, we will be one vote among 18 million, because this historic opportunity belongs to the people. This is a chance for Australians from all faiths and backgrounds and from all walks of life to celebrate the best of our nation, to show the best of ourselves, to vote yes for constitutional recognition, to vote yes for the form in which it has been asked for—through a voice—to say yes to the invitation to walk together to a better future with humility and hope and optimism. I commend this bill to the House."

Optimism is the key to contemporary leadership.





Previous Albanese Comments on Optimism and Australian Optimism

The 2023 Budget

"The issue of dealing with climate change presents an enormous opportunity, but I'm very optimistic about Australia's future."

So said Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese answering a question from Andrew Clennell on the 2023 Federal Budget.

Read Quotable Quotes on Climate Optimism

Andrew asked, "Okay, now you have electricity bill price relief going to pensioners and the unemployed and the like. The fact you've got that flowing, does that make you more reluctant to increase JobSeeker, or is JobSeeker and single parent payments, could we see possible increases there, given the cost of living crisis?"

The PM answered: "Well Andrew, of course, two weeks to go till Budget. I know that you are anticipating greatly the Treasurer's speech during Tuesday night, May 9, 7:30. Stay tuned there, that's when we make budget announcements. But a Labor government will always look for ways in which we can provide assistance to those in need. We'll do so, of course, though in a context. The context here is we don't want to add to any inflationary pressure and we inherited a trillion dollars of debt from the former government without any plan for future economic growth. And that's what investment in child care and addressing skill shortages, addressing the new economy through our National Reconstruction Fund is about as well. So you'll see a comprehensive plan from the Government, consistent with the commitments that we took to the federal election in 2022. We fulfilled so many of our commitments in the Budget that we handed down in October. But we'll be continuing to work there, and we'll also be considering the context we’re dealing with globally, those economic headwinds which are there. The pressure that’s there through measures as well, like the Inflation Reduction Act, meaning that there's pressure on where capital is invested here in Australia compared with the United States. That is placing pressure on future economic activity as well. So we're dealing with all of these challenges. The issue of dealing with climate change presents an enormous opportunity, but I'm very optimistic about Australia's future. My Government has plans for economic growth, job creation, new industries, making more things here in Australia. But we also have plans for social equity and for particularly dealing with gender equity as well. Sam Mostyn’s done some great work on women's economic equality and we'll be considering those issues as well. And of course our environmental program is one that has opened the door again to international engagement. So you'll see in the Budget as well that context, our need to be more engaged in Asia and the Pacific as well. You had a number of measures put in place in the last budget, but you'll continue to see that reflected and you’ve had in the last two days, you've had the Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, give a substantial speech at the National Press Club, and today Bill Shorten give another substantial speech. So, I'm very proud to lead a government that has ministers of substance who are out there setting a future positive agenda for Australia."

The Voice

"I am very, very optimistic."

"this is about whether we as a country can be optimistic."

So said Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responding to the Australian Parliamentary Liberal Party's decision to oppose the Labor Government "The Voice" referendum legislation.

The Prime Minister said,  I'm still very optimistic that the Australian people, who we will give the opportunity to, to vote between October and December this year, this is about them. Peter Dutton will have one vote. I will have one vote. But so will every Australian. And this is about whether we as a country can be optimistic, can be enlarged, can come to terms with the fullness and richness of our history, can express our pride in sharing this continent with the oldest continuous culture on earth, or whether we shrink in on ourselves. This is a divisive position that Peter Dutton has taken. This is opportunistic. They have opposed just about every piece of legislation that’s been before the Parliament and now they’re shrinking further into negativity with their opposition to what is a gracious and generous offer..."

"I am very hopeful and indeed optimistic that the Australian people will seize this opportunity to not just show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but feel better as well about ourselves, knowing that we can make practical improvements. This won't make an enormous difference to most Australians who are non-Indigenous. It will not change their lives. But it might just make the lives of some of the most disadvantaged Australians better. We have a ten-year gap in life expectancy, gaps in education and health and housing and infant mortality. We have one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, and we need to acknowledge that with the best of intentions and goodwill, what we have done up to now is not working. We need to consult on matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We know from programs like Indigenous rangers that are working to help the bilby, that when we consult Indigenous people, when they’re involved in the programs, whether it be Indigenous rangers, justice reinvestment, community health programs, you get better outcomes. So I am very, very optimistic. I was at an event last night with Imams from all around Australia at Iftar, who expressed their very strong support going forward. All of the religious organisations that I have spoken to have welcomed constitutional recognition and the opportunity that this has to find a better path."

PM Announcing the Voice Referendum Wording: Fundamental Optimism

"A chance to show the very best of our national character – our fundamental optimism"

So said the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in a press conference announcing the wording of the referendum question for incorporating "The Voice" in the Australian Constitution.

Opening the Press Conference, the PM said, "The Uluru Statement from the Heart invites all Australians to walk together to a better future. Today, we take a very important step forward on that journey. After many months of careful consideration on the draft form of words that I presented at Garma last July, the Referendum Working Group and the Government have agreed on the provisions that all Australians will vote on in this year’s Referendum. I want to thank, sincerely, all the members of the Working Group and all who have engaged with them. For many, this moment has been a very long time in the making. Yet they have shown such patience and optimism through this process. And that spirit of co-operation and thoughtful, respectful dialogue has been so important at arriving at this point in such a united fashion."

He went on to say, "The Uluru Statement from the Heart – and this Referendum – also presents every Australian with a historic, democratic opportunity. A chance to show the very best of our national character – our fundamental optimism, our deep sense of fairness, our instinctive respect and kindness for each other. If not now, when? That is an opportunity that doesn’t belong to the politicians, it belongs to every Australian. One person, one vote. People from all faiths, backgrounds and traditions. All of us will have an equal say. All of us can own an equal share of what I believe will be an inspiring and unifying Australian moment."

What's Your Optimism Superpower?

Read More on Fundamental Optimism

Other References to the Optimism of Australians by the Prime Minister

On the weekend of the 2022 election, the then-PM-elect said "I want to lead a government that has the same sentiment of optimism and hope that defines the Australian people. I want to be positive and channel the opportunity we have to shape change, so we bring people with us on the journey of change."

In an essay published on Australia Day 2023, Anthony Albanese wrote,  "Today we welcome new citizens joining us in the great Australian family.  In choosing Australia as their home, they are embracing the values and qualities we hold dear: our belief in opportunity for all, the respect we have for hard work, the optimism that drives our aspiration and the Australian instinct for fairness, decency and care and respect for each other. Australians uphold these qualities every day, in good times and bad. As we've also seen in times of pandemic, fire, drought and the recent devastating floods, the worst of circumstances bring out the best in our people.  If there is an upside to tough times, it is that they have shown us we can be confident that whatever challenges the future brings, Australians will rise to meet them. In our joys, our blessings and our hard-won triumphs, we celebrate what we have. Just as importantly, we celebrate what we can be: the even greater Australia that is at our fingertips."

In his 2022 Ministerial Statement on "Closing the Gap", the PM said, "Reconciliation relies on what I believe are innate qualities of our national character: optimism, decency, generosity of spirit."

In his speech to the National Press Club and referring to the proposed referendum on "The Voice", the Prime Minister said, "moments of national decision, such as this referendum, are also an opportunity for our people to show their best qualities: their generosity, their sense of fairness, their optimism for the future. That’s why I’m optimistic for the success of the referendum – because I’ve always been optimistic about the character of the Australian people."

With President Biden and PM Sunak at the Naval Base Point Loma in San Diego announcing the AUKUS Submarine Agreement, Anth9ony Albanese said,"We embark with great confidence in the capacity and creativity of our people.  With optimism in the power of what our partnership can achieve.  And with an unwavering conviction that whatever the challenges ahead, the cause of peace and freedom will prevail."

Read our "Framing an Optimistic National Narrative"

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