Thank you very much. It is so great to see so many of you here tonight to celebrate what has been an amazing election.
Can I thank my deputy, Andrew Barr for working with me over this campaign. Your loyalty and your support has meant a lot to me, so thank you very much.
Now friends, this was always going to be a tough election for Labor, seeking a fourth election victory after eleven years in government.
But look at what we have achieved tonight.
We have held all of our seats.
We have increased our vote.
We are the party with the most votes.
We have seen a swing to an incumbent Labor Government.
But friends, tonight is not the night for victory speeches, for any party, not for any party. The final count will not be known for some time. There is still doubt about the fifth seat in Brindabella and the seventh seat in Molonglo, and we need to take time to see how those votes and the preference distribution actually falls.
We’ve done everything we could do in this campaign and all of you here in this room are testament to that.
We have run seventeen individual campaigns, we’ve run a central campaign, we’ve responded to an incredibly deceitful, negative campaign from the Canberra Liberals.
The Labor Party and the Labor Party I lead will never campaign on a lie. We will never, ever, ever, campaign on a scare campaign.
We campaign with honesty and integrity and we campaign with a vision about what we’d like to see Canberra be in the future.
We’ve campaigned on health, we’ve campaigned on education, and we’ve campaigned on jobs.
We’ve campaigned with a positive message for Canberra. We’re optimistic, we don’t go on the TV and talk Canberra down, we talk it up in this city.
So to you the supporters of ACT Labor, we couldn’t have done it without you. Every time we are out at shopping centre stalls, door knocking, every time we face the media; we do it on behalf of the people that believe in the things that we believe in; and that is a fair, progressive, just society where everybody gets the chance to be the best that they can be.
We are proud of the city we live in, and tonight that vote has been reflected where over 50 percent of this city have voted for progressive government. They want to see a progressive government in this city.
But we are not arrogant. We are not coming out and saying we have won this election, but we are proud of what we have achieved.
As I said at the beginning, we’ve won the highest primary vote, we’ve increased our vote, we’ve held our seats, and we’ve seen a swing towards us.
But, friends, there is much more to do and we enter into that time with a preparedness to talk and a preparedness to negotiate.
So while the campaign has been long and hard, and whilst for many of us we would prefer that it was resolved tonight that is not going to be the case.
We will be back at work on Monday. We’ll be there doing the jobs that we’ve been doing for some time.
We might just take Sunday off, well maybe Sunday morning. We might need the afternoon to work.
So I would just say; politics is a tough business, you know. And for individual campaigns, for individual candidates, this election may throw up results that we had not expected. And I think we should reflect on that and that is not just for us in the Labor Party lets think of other people tonight who may have lost their seat or be thinking about a new future and for those who didn’t win when they thought they would, let’s think about them as well.
And to the two other leaders in this campaign, Mr Zed Seseljia and Ms Meredith Hunter; whilst we’ve had our disagreements, in relation to Mr Seseljia they’ve been probably more than disagreements. But to them I acknowledge the efforts that they have put in, their campaigns that they have run and the leadership they have shown. I think that is probably a fair thing to do at the end of what has been a long campaign.
But it is a tough game and I would like to acknowledge all of my colleagues here tonight. Those that have worked within the government as MLAs; Andrew, Simon, Joy, Chris, Mary, and of course the retiring John Hargraves. Thank you for the support you have shown me in my sixteen months as Chief Minister.
To the other candidates here and I can see you dotted through the room and all of your campaign teams, thank you very much for going out and spreading the Labor message. I have never been involved in such a disciplined, positive campaign as I have been in the 2012 election and you should all be very proud of the role you have played in that, so thank you.
To the central campaign team led by Mr Elias Hallaj; the stories I could tell you about him, but I won’t because we’re on television. But to Elias thank you for your patience and your leadership, your preparedness to take a call. Elias for acknowledging when you were wrong – that you were wrong – and also for not being too smug when you were right and we were wrong, thank you.
To my staff in my office who I have worked most closely with thank you, I won’t name you individually but you all know who you are and I couldn’t have done my job without you.
Finally to my family who are here, to Dave who’s put up with me though this pretty stressful time. To my children; Abby, Charlie, and Evie who are here and behaving themselves which is so lovely to see. Thank you very much darlings I know you’ve missed mummy and she will be around a little bit more.
To my sister who unusually got dragged into this campaign I apologise for that. I know I’ve done it personally; I’m sorry you were, but thank you for all the support you have provided me as well.
So, really at the end of it I think we have got so much to be proud of. Thank you, all of you. You really do help me in the job that I do every day and as I said we’ll be back at work Sunday afternoon.