Since the Albanese Labor Government took office on 23 May 2022, there have been 25 Addresses delivered to the National Press Club of Australia by 19 different Ministers.
Tracking these speeches gives an enormous insight into which portfolios have dominated public discourse over the past year-and-a-half, from Climate Change to the Cost of Living, Defence, and the Voice to Parliament Referendum.
The team at Nexus APAC have developed a summary of each NPC Address to provide an overview of this Government’s policy priorities, deliverables and announcements so far.
- The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, 29 June 2022
Given that climate change was one of the biggest issues to shape the outcome of the 2022 Federal Election, it’s unsurprising that the first Minister of the Albanese Government to deliver an Address to the National Press Club was the Minister for Climate Change and Energy, the Hon Chris Bowen MP. Just over a month after the election, Minister Bowen notified the Australian public of the next steps in implementing the Government’s climate agenda.
- The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water, 19 July 2022
Six weeks after Minister Plibersek adopted the portfolio, she publicised the latest five-yearly State of the Environment report, labelling it ‘one of the most important documents in environmental science.’
- Senator the Hon Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry & Minister for Emergency Management, 9 August 2022
In his Address to the National Rural Press Club, Minister Watt announced Australia’s first-ever national biosecurity strategy. He stated that “strong and efficient biosecurity is even more important as we respond to emerging challenges including diseases on our doorstep [like] Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever, Lumpy Skin Disease and Xylella.”
- The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, 29 August 2022
The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, made his first address as Prime Minister, entitled “Building for a Better Future,” to mark 100 days since his Labor Government was sworn in. After noting some of his Government’s achievements, the Prime Minister touched on a series of ongoing priority items – COVID-19, the Jobs and Skills Summit, and reform and renewal in the health and education sectors.
- The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, Commonwealth Attorney-General & Cabinet Secretary, 12 October 2022
“Australians deserve a Government that is prepared to be held to account,” Dreyfus told the National Press Club during his Address focused on the Government’s plans for the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). Mr Dreyfus spoke on the NACC’s jurisdiction and powers, including whistleblower protections and oversight of the Commission through a Parliamentary Joint Committee.
- The Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Treasurer of Australia, 26 October 2022
The Treasurer delivered his first Post-Budget Address as Treasurer of Australia in Parliament House’s Great Hall. Unveiling Labor’s first Federal Budget in over a decade, Dr Chalmers emphasised the need to keep spending down to keep the rising cost of living from getting worse, noting the effect of the war in Ukraine on driving high prices and interest rates.
- The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services, 3 November 2022
In the week following the Government’s first budget, Minister Rishworth announced the 10-year National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022 – 2032. Following a $1.7 billion allocation in the October budget for measures to address gender-based violence.
- The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for the Arts, and Leader of the House of Representatives, 16 November 2022
The Fair Work Legislation Amendment Act, or ‘Secure Jobs, Better Pay’ Bill, was at the centre of heated discussion in Parliament at the time of Minister Burke’s Address. Responding to what he dubbed ‘scare campaigns’, Minister Burke’s first National Press Club Address in this parliamentary term outlined how the Bill would influence multi-employer bargaining, wages, job security, and workforce casualisation.
- The Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science, 29 November 2022
Minister Husic used the NPC stage to announce that legislation on the National Reconstruction Fund would be introduced imminently. He announced the legislation would set in motion extensive consultation with investors and industry on the shape of the $15 billion fund and how it would work. Minister Husic emphasised the need for Australia to rebuild its manufacturing capacity.
- The Hon Clare O’Neil MP, Minister for Home Affairs & Minister for Cyber Security, 8 December 2022
Minister O’Neil’s first National Press Club address warned that Australia is facing “the most dangerous set of strategic circumstances” since World War II, as she announced a program to develop a new cyber security strategy.
- The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for the Arts, and Leader of the House of Representatives, 1 February 2023
In his second address in 3 months, titled ‘The Year Ahead’, Minister Burke took the opportunity to set out the Albanese Government’s agenda for the year ahead in Parliament, including the launch of new industrial relations negotiations for a second wave of workplace law reform focused on closing loopholes.
- The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia, 22 February 2023
In his second address as Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP flagged additional investment in Australia’s military capability while characterising the next steps in the AUKUS nuclear-powered submarine pact as the “single biggest leap in our defence capability in our history.” The Prime Minister also set up the release of the public-facing side of the Defence Strategic Review.
- The Hon Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development & Local Government, 1 March 2023
Titled ‘Investing in resilient infrastructure and building communities’, Minister King took the opportunity to announce the funding recipients of the $312.5 million Regional Road and Transport Recovery funds, which she said would invest in 57 projects, at her March National Press Club Address. She also flagged that Australia did not have enough workers to complete ongoing infrastructure projects, with the 94,000 shortfall expected to rise rapidly.
- The Hon Ed Husic MP, Minister for Industry and Science, 22 March 2023
In his second address to the National Press Club as Minister for Industry and Science, Minister Husic delivered a speech titled, ‘Believing in science and acting on science: revitalising science frameworks in Australia,’ as part of Science and Technology Australia’s annual Science Meets Parliament series.
- Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs, 17 April 2023
Senator Wong set out the Government’s plan to strengthen relationships in the Asia-Pacific and contribute to shaping a region that reflects our national interests and shared regional interests. She outlined her focus on diplomacy, development assistance, and support through military deterrence in her first address to the National Press Club since the 2022 election. The Minister also used the speech to defend the Government’s push to build nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS plan.
- The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme & Minister for Government Services, 18 April 2023
The Minister outlined the six policy directions for the NDIS: increase the NDIA workforce and its specialisation, move to long-term planning, address spiralling costs, review supported independent living, target the misuse of NDIS funds to eliminate unethical practices, and increase community and mainstream support.
- The Hon Clare O’Neil MP, Minister for Home Affairs & Minister for Cyber Security, 27 April 2023
In her second National Press Club Address as Minister, Ms O’Neil unveiled the Albanese Government’s response to the damning report into Australia’s “broken” migration system. She outlined her position that the major focus would be on getting skilled migrants into the Australian economy.
- The Hon Mark Butler MP, Minister for Health & Aged Care, 2 May 2023
Minister Butler used this address to outline the Government’s plan for strengthening Medicare. The package consisted of six initiatives, including supporting health practitioners to work to their full scope of practice, expanding the nursing workforce and introducing MyMedicare. He also addressed the regulation of the vaping industry in Australia.
- The Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Treasurer of Australia, 10 May 2023
As per tradition, the Treasurer delivered his second Post-Budget Address in the Great Hall at Parliament House. For a reminder of this year’s critical Federal Budget items, see our in-depth overview here.
- Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Special Minister of State, Minister for Trade and Tourism & Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, 1 June 2023
Senator Farrell reflected on the past year as Minister for Trade, acknowledging the economic impacts of climate change, pandemic recovery, and the war in Ukraine. On Australia and China’s trade relationship, the Senator said he wants “a stable and prosperous trading relationship and the full resumption of trade.” He also acknowledged the entry into force of the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement the day prior, progress on our trade agreement with India, and the Government’s commitment to a comprehensive FTA with the EU.
- The Hon Anika Wells MP, Minister for Aged Care & Minister for Sport, 7 June 2023
Minister Wells’ National Press Club address outlined her vision for aged care and why bold ambition is needed to continue restoring the dignity of older Australians. The Minister announced an Aged Care Taskforce, which seeks to solve the “unanswered question” of the Aged Care Royal Commission about how to make the system “equitable and sustainable into the future.”
- The Hon Linda Burney MP, Minister for Indigenous Australians, 5 July 2023
The Minister for Indigenous Australians sought to reset the narrative on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament amidst increasingly uncertain Referendum polls. The Address clarified its function, warned against the importation of Trumpian politics, and outlined the four main priority areas – health, education, jobs and housing, the Minister would seek advice from ‘The Voice’ on.
- The Hon Jason Clare MP, Minister for Education, 19 July 2023
In a speech focused on tertiary education, Minister Clare released the Australian Universities Accord Interim Report and announced five priority areas for immediate action, including establishing up to 20 additional Regional University Study Hubs.
- The Hon Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Treasurer of Australia, 24 August 2023
In the Treasurer’s first non-budget-related address, however, his third in this term, the Treasurer dedicated his 30-minute speech to the launch of the Intergenerational Report. For an overview of this significant report, you can read the Nexus APAC team’s insights on the IGR here.
- The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, Treasury and Employment, 29 August 2023
Minister Leigh addressed the National Press Club on ‘Evaluating Policy Impact: Working Out What Works’, maintaining that the Australian Centre for Evaluation could help save government money and make spending fairer.
- The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Minister for the Arts, & Leader of the House, 31 August 2023
Yesterday’s address was dedicated to ‘Closing the loopholes that undercut wages’ and was the third address by Minister Burke. The Albanese Government will bar gig workers from overtime rates and roster conditions as part of concessions in its gig economy regulation, which aims to set minimum pay and allow challenges to unfair terminations.
Other government speeches of note
Federal Government Ministers haven’t been the only Members of Parliament to utilise the National Press Club stage since the 2022 Federal Election. Other speakers include;
Adam Bandt MP – Leader of the Australian Greens – 3 August 2022 and 26 April 2023.
The Hon Angus Taylor MP – Shadow Treasurer – 2 November 2022 and 17 May 2023.
The Hon Dan Tehan MP – Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship – 18 October 2022.
Julian Leeser MP – [former] Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians – 3 April 2023.
Helen Haines MP – Independent Member for Indi – 16 May 2023.
The Hon Natasha Fyles MLA – Chief Minister for the Northern Territory – 1 August 2023.
Senator Lidia Thorpe – 16 August 2023.
For the next several weeks, National Press Club Addresses will be conducted at a different location to the iconic venue due to renovations. At the time of publication, there are two upcoming Ministerial addresses on the agenda. The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training, will speak on 3 October 2023, and the Hon Michelle Rowland MP, Minister for Communications, will speak on 22 November 2023.