Former Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Federal Secretary Ged Kearney is on her way to Federal Parliament after securing an underdog victory for Labor in the Batman by-election last month.
A registered nurse for 20 years and most recently the former president of the ACTU, Ms Kearney secured the inner-city Melbourne seat with a 3.6% swing, capturing 54.63%.
During her victory speech at the Thornbury Theatre, flanked by Labor leader Bill Shorten and overlooking a rapturous crowd of supporters, Ms Kearney declared the win a triumph for “true Labor values” and validation of a campaign that paid attention to schools, healthcare, workers’ rights, climate change and national progressive values.
Ms Kearney thanked the community of Batman for engaging with her throughout the campaign and promised to act on their concerns in her new position.
“You were wonderful. You invited me into your homes. You stopped me in the streets to talk. You sat me down in town halls and told me what for. I thank you for putting your trust in me and I won’t let you down.”
She also thanked the trade union movement and made special mention of her own union, the ANMF, for their ongoing support.
“I want to thank Bill Shorten and the Labor Party for putting their trust in me to run in the seat and guess what everybody? I’m on my way to Canberra,” Ms Kearney said proudly.
ANMF A/Federal Secretary Annie Butler congratulated Ms Kearney and said her experience working in the health system meant nurses, midwives and carers finally had a true advocate in Federal Parliament.
Ms Butler said the new leader for Batman had already pledged support for challenging the federal government’s attacks on Medicare, the need to protect penalty rates, and fixing the aged care crisis.
“We know that Ged understands the work of nurses and midwives and the struggles they face daily in their efforts to provide quality care for their patients. So our members will welcome a Member of Parliament who is prepared to stand up and fight for them.”
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said Australia’s democracy was richer for Ged’s election.
“Ged has been a tireless advocate for working people for decades – in our hospitals, as the national leader of nurses and midwives, as ACTU president and now as the member for Batman,” Ms McManus said.
“As working people fight to change the rules so Australia is a fairer and better country, they will have an ally in Canberra in Ged Kearney.”
To read more articles from ANMJ, view the full journal online at https://issuu.com/australiannursingfederation/docs/anmj_april_2018_issuu