George Simon is the Acting NSW Assistant General Secretary
On behalf of the NSW Left, I’d like to thank you all for coming along to the launch of Mark Butler’s campaign for President of the ALP.
Comrades, we have a hell of a line up of people to talk about Mark tonight. But before I hand over to Penny Wong, I’d like to make a few remarks about why the NSW Left is supporting Mark Butler.
Friends, here in the Left, we can spot a fake from a mile away. Time after time, we watch as some in our party profess socialism while voting for neo-liberalism. Year after year, we watch so-called comrades sheepishly vote against us at conference while privately whispering that they support our cause. On issue after issue, we’re forced to watch some people in our party have a road to Damascus moment on ideological positions that we’ve been advocating for decades.
Comrades, we know a fake progressive when we see one. But we also know the real deal.
Mark Butler is no fake. He’s the real deal.
Mark knows that change is hard and progress is long.
He knows that being left-wing means you don’t wait until you’ve retired to tell people what you really think.
Comrades, we know Mark believes this, not from what he says, but by his record.
The road to marriage equality was long and painful. You know who was with us from the start? Mark Butler.
He didn’t have an epiphany once a poll showed him that the majority of Australians were on our side. He voted for Marriage Equality in 2012. He fought for marriage equality at consecutive Labor party conferences before that.
The journey to real action on climate change is difficult. You know who has been there from the start? Mark Butler.
In one of the most insidious campaigns waged by conservatives against renewables, Mark has never waivered. Mark would never let a Labor Government walk away from real action on climate change.
The path to lifting workers out of poverty and combatting inequality is more than just a slogan. You know who has been there fighting inequality from the start? Mark Butler.
As a unionist representing aged care workers and cleaners, Mark was on the frontline of the war against inequality. Before he went into parliament, Mark spent 15 years fighting to improve the lives of workers and their families.
Comrades, we don’t support Mark for what he believes in now. We support Mark for what he’s always believed in.
The National President is the only voice in the national organisation of the Labor Party that represents all rank and file members. It’s the strongest voice we have in standing up to the conservative forces that want to control our party. That voice matters.
We want that voice to be someone who doesn’t wait for a majority in an opinion poll before they decide their position on important issues. We want that voice to be someone who sticks to what they believe. We want that voice to be Mark Butler.
When voting opens in May, we’ll be voting for a real left-winger.
This is an edited version of a speech given at Mark Butler’s launch on Friday 6 April.