A Plan that Appeals to our Sense of Optimism: Maria Vamvakinou MP


"We put forward a plan that appeals to our sense of optimism and hope."

I was listening to the Australian Parliamentary Broadcast and this comment by Maria Vamvakinou MP resonated with me.   Maria was speaking in the Address in Reply.

Maria Vamvakinou is the MP for Calwell and Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Migration.

The context of the sentence is: "I want to begin by thanking the people of my electorate, the electorate of Calwell, for re-electing me as their representative in the 47th Parliament. It's a great privilege, and I'm sure other colleagues would feel exactly the same. It's a great privilege to serve in this House, and I will continue to work each and every day to put our community's interests and needs firmly on the national agenda. We have a Labor government because in times of change as well as in times of crisis people come to rely on the role of government, and we as a party actually believe in governing in the interests of our constituencies and the broader Australian community. We put forward a plan that speaks to and delivers on the needs of ordinary Australians, and they are largely the people of my electorate of Calwell. We put forward a plan that appeals to our sense of optimism and hope, and, in Prime Minister Albanese, we put forward someone who leads a government that has set the policy framework for a better future."

This is very much in line with the thinking behind the Centre for Optimism's belief that Australia needs a new optimistic national narrative.

Read our "Framing an Optimistic National Narrative"

The Australian Prime Minister on Optimism

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."

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."

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