SARAH RICHARDS, LIBERAL CANDIDATE FOR MACQUARIE: Thank you, Louise. I think the trick is to hold it nice and close, so I'll do that. So good morning and welcome everyone. What a turnout. It's amazing to have your company today. Thank you so much for coming. I'm Sarah Richards, the Liberal candidate for Macquarie. Which is the most marvellous and the most marginal seat in all of Australia. It is made up of the iconic Blue Mountains and the historical Hawkesbury where we are standing today. In fact, we're in the town of South Windsor. And like so many other towns and villages across Macquarie and across Australia, it is made up of small businesses, of mums and dads and families who need and deserve a return of the Morrison Government to make sure we stay on the right path of our economic recovery. Also just down the road is the Richmond RAAF Base, where I lived as a child with my military family. This defence community here, like so many others across Australia, rely on the Morrison Government to maintain its focus on our national security.
Now, I can't wait to get cracking in 2022, or even now. We came this close in 2019, this close, and that was because of local help and support. But the real winners of the last campaign were the community of Macquarie. I fought for and secured hundreds of millions of dollars for the Hawkesbury River third crossing, which has evolved into a half a billion dollar infrastructure investment, getting families home sooner and safer and creating more local jobs. We also opened a Headspace in Katoomba, showing the Morrison Government's commitment to mental health. We are building an all inclusive playground in Blaxland, sporting infrastructure in Glenbrook, and we secured funding for a local group here in the Hawkesbury who concentrates on suicide prevention. And there's a lot more that we can do. But the only way we can keep doing that, or the best way to keep doing that, is to ensure that we turn this seat blue next year in 2022, that you have a Liberal representative, someone who wants to deliver rather than Labor locally, who just delays. It is therefore my greatest pleasure to welcome back to the electorate of Macquarie today, the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison.
PRIME MINISTER: Thank you very much, Sarah. Can I also acknowledge the indigenous people of these lands on which we meet and thank you so much for the welcome to country. Can I acknowledge any veterans who are here with us today or any serving men and women of our Defence Forces, which is so central to the community here in western Sydney and particularly here in the Hawkesbury and across the mountains. And can I acknowledge Robyn and the local member here at the state level and my dear friend Louise Markus, who we have known each other for a very long time. It's wonderful to see you, Lou, and to be here with you.
Can I particularly though acknowledge Sarah. And can I thank all of you for your tremendous support of Sarah. It's been great to get around you all this morning and then catch up and thank you for coming out. It's, seeing some great old friends, some of which I haven't seen since before COVID, and it's great to see this tremendous community Sarah, bouncing back from those floods earlier in the year, and that's something that the community here is no stranger to. But when I was here on that occasion, I could see, as always, the great spirit of this of this local community, as we saw in the mountains communities over the course of the Black Summer bushfires as well. And the many threats that still are present. And the way the community rallied around, I think, is what I've seen, I know it's what I seen, every single day that I have had the great privilege to serve as prime minister of this country. I have seen Australians doing it their toughest, as recently as just on the weekend with Jen, we were down at the Hillcrest Primary School and all of Australians' hearts are just so [inaudible] for the people of Devonport and we can't acknowledge them enough in, and I'm sure you join me all here today in sending our love and our best wishes to them as they continue to deal with this awful tragedy, this unthinkable tragedy.
But whether it's times like that or the floods or the fires or COVID, the cyclones. Australians' character has been called upon and proven time and time and time again, and that's why I am confident about Australia's future. We have stared down over these last three years, the worst that can be thrown at us. We've gone through recessions, we've gone through pandemics and as I said we've faced the worst of natural disasters. But here we are in this wonderful club, in a wonderful community, about to celebrate Christmas together, which is tremendous. How good is it going to be celebrating Christmas together as families and communities and having this special time over the summer that everyone's worked so hard to ensure that we can have that. And so I do look forward with Sarah to a confident future for Australia because there's a quiet confidence in Australians. People, they don't big note themselves. They have big ambitions. But that don't big note themselves. They just just get on with it quietly. Running businesses, looking after kids, raising families, looking after elderly parents or family members, particularly children with disabilities, serving their country, dealing with having to be apart from one another, particularly in Defence Force families, just quietly getting on with supporting each other, taking responsibility for the things that you can take responsibility for supporting the community that is the heart and soul of this community and always has been. Many years ago, about 225 years ago, to be precise, the first members of my family became Australian, settled right here. William and [inaudible], their whole family is over there [inaudible] and they came out in the first fleet. Like so many from those who came out at that time, they came in and settled here and the community was born. And it's it's arguably apart from down The Rocks, it's the oldest community in the country and here it is today. Still vibrant, still strong.
So who would I want to represent the Liberal Party as we would go into a federal election? I would want someone who is of this community who understands this community. I would want someone who has the experience of the life of this community and has made a major contribution to it. That lives the life that everyone in this part of Western Sydney lives, understands its challenges and struggles, understands the contributions that so many people make that makes this whole place tick. Whether it's down here in the Hawkesbury or up in the mountains, I would want someone who understands the challenges faced by young families. I would want someone who has the professional wherewithal to know how to get things done and who has been able to demonstrate that already by serving their community in public office. That was my checklist. And I know that was the checklist of all the local members of the Liberal Party here, when they sought to endorse a candidate and they made the right decision at the last election. And they've made the right decision again. And I'm very pleased that Sarah has taken on this role again to be our Liberal candidate here for Macquarie at the next federal election because she has all of these qualities, she speaks for the Hawkesbury. I mean, you just heard her list, the things she's been able to achieve as the candidate for Macquarie. Imagine what she'll be able to do if she's able to join my team as part of our government, as a key member of our team. We were able to see that when Louise Markus was the Member, we were able to that when Kerry Bartlett was the Member, did tremendous work, did a tremendous job for this part of Sydney and the outer reaches of the Greater Sydney metropolitan area. And Sarah will be the same, and I suspect both of those former members will say [inaudible], because her passion is here. She has chosen this and she has offered herself up and she has not stopped from the day she was first endorsed as a candidate before the last election, and she's continued on through all sorts of challenges, so I could not be more pleased.
And it's going to come down to seats like this one here in Macquarie at the next election, as it often does and has in the past. And we'll be relying on the people of Macquarie to ensure that Australia can remain in the safe and steady and capable hands that will keep our economy strong as we emerge from this pandemic, as we keep Australians safe. It one of the most challenging times, whether it's from the pandemic, where we've got the lowest death rate in the world of many countries all around the world, we've got the strongest, one of the strongest economies and advanced economies, jobs coming back, 188,000 more jobs today than there were before the pandemic began. And of course, we now have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, which means we can face Omicron. And as more and more people go and get their boosters, we can face Omicron and we can stare it down with sensible, common sense measures that enable Australia to keep forging ahead and we're going to keep Australians together. We have been through so much over these last three years as I look out and is quite confident community, I see a community that's stuck together and stuck with each other to get through these terrible challenges, just as we will as we face the challenges of the future and a community that sort of sits between rural and metropolitan Australia, right there in the intersection. And I want to ensure that Australia grows together and doesn't grow apart in the years ahead, that we don't have the country divided between rural, regional and metropolitan areas and no more is that more important than right here in the seat of Macquarie between the Hawkesbury and the mountains.
So Sarah, I want to thank you very, very much. You're a great mum. You're a great councillor. You're a great small business person. But most importantly, you love your community and you put it first, and I could not hope for a better candidate to be representing what we believe as Liberals, and our outlook for the future of this country. And particularly our outlook for the future of this wonderful community. So thank you, Sarah. And I look forward to campaigning side by side with you between now and the next election, which is next year by the way. And us all working together to achieve this great result that Australia, I know will need, as we face the future together. Thank you very much, Sarah.