Australia

Vote for change: Bill Shorten makes his closing bid

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Bill Shorten has declared an elected Labor government would take a climate "emergency" seriously in his final major speech of the campaign.

Bill Shorten has sharpened his focus on wages and climate change, urging a "vote for change" in his final major campaign speech.

The Labor leader told a room full of supporters his first item of business in cabinet would be a new submission to the Fair Work Commission advocating a real wage increase for workers.

Restoring Sunday penalty rates and implementing income tax cuts would be his first legislative priorities.

Bill Shorten
Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten delivers his final speech at Bowman Hall in Blacktown, Sydney,
AAP

A Labor government would convene parliament to put climate change action high on the agenda, expanding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to drive 50 per cent renewable energy in the grid, Mr Shorten told party faithful in Blacktown on Thursday.

"I promise, we will send a message to the world, when it comes to climate change: Australia is back in the fight," he said.

"We will take this emergency seriously and we will not just leave it to other countries or to the next generation."

Not long after Prime Minister Scott Morrison was grilled at the National Press Club in Canberra, Mr Shorten was among a room of die-hard supporters cheering every other sentence.

He outlined Labor's expansive policy agenda headlined with the party's cancer package, childcare subsidies, funding for schools and hospitals and protections for the ABC and SBS.

"Vote for Change. Vote Labor," his refrain went.

The speech was at Blacktown's Bowman Hall in Sydney's west, where Gough Whitlam delivered his It's Time address at the start of the 1972 election campaign.

While Mr Whitlam's speech started a tradition of kicking off with "men and women of Australia" - a phrase first used by Labor prime minister John Curtin - Mr Shorten started with "women and men".

He later said equality for women and opportunity in education would be championed by his deputy Tanya Plibersek.

In another nod to the Whitlam years, Little Pattie - one of the singers of the It's Time jingle - attended the speech.

Aside from Ms Plibersek, Mr Shorten was keen to talk up other members of his shadow ministry continuing his theme of comparing opposing frontbench line-ups.

He noted "father of reconciliation" Pat Dodson would be indigenous affairs minister, Chris Bowen would be treasurer and Penny Wong would be on the world stage as foreign minister.

"Tell people you're voting Labor because you want to see the most talented, experienced and passionate shadow ministry in a generation become a great Labor government," Mr Shorten said.

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