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Address to the South Australian federal campaign rally, Adelaide
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH
27 April 2013
TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR ADDRESS TO THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL CAMPAIGN RALLY, ADELAIDE
Christopher, thank you so much for that splendid introduction. Thank you for that litany of various adventures that I have been off on over the years. It’s funny, you know, Christopher mentioned the fire fighting. I was late for my first ever Cabinet meeting because I had been called out with the local fire brigade and I finally got to the meeting a couple of hours after I should have, smelling like a barbeque and one of my colleagues expostulated with me and she said, “Tony, you’re a Cabinet Minister now” and I said, “you’ve got to be a human being before you can be a Cabinet Minister.”
My friends, I want to thank all of you for being here today. I want to thank every single one of you, led by Christopher Pyne who has slipped magnificently into the shoes of Nick Minchin and Robert Hill, as the senior South Australian Federal Liberal. I want to thank Steven Marshall and Vickie Chapman because we are one big Liberal family here, state and federal and local. I want to thank all of my colleagues for the work they have done. We are a great team and we are ready. Simon Birmingham, who from Opposition has done as much as anyone to save the Murray-Darling. Andrew Southcott, who has helped to expose the fact that this government’s super clinics are super buildings without doctors and nurses in them. Jamie Briggs, a Member of Parliament who has produced more front pages than most senior journalists, that’s what sort of an operator he is. We are a very good team. David Fawcett the man who came back, Anne Ruston who is bringing serious business experience to our ranks in Canberra. We are a very good team and we are ready to save this country from what is almost certainly the worst government we have ever had.
We are a good team but we are going to be an even better team. We are going to be an even better team because we are going to take some great South Australians to Canberra. Matt Williams, stand up Matt, a senior lawyer who is prepared to put that at risk to serve his country. Sue Lawrie, stand up, candidate for Makin, who helped to expose the secret women’s business sham. Damien Mills, a teacher at university. Tom Zorich, our candidate for Wakefield a footy club president. Tony Pasin, a country lawyer. Carmen Garcia, a multi-cultural charity worker. Right around Australia we have got terrific candidates who are putting up their hands to serve their nation, who are doing the patriotic thing by Australia. We have got doctors, we have got nurses, we have got farmers, we have got small business people, we have got former military officers, we have got a former father of the year, a former mother of the year and I am so pleased to tell you ladies and gentleman that if all of our candidates got elected the most common surname in the Liberal Party Room wouldn’t be Smith, it wouldn’t be Jones, it would be Nguyen because we represent the breadth, the depth and the diversity of modern Australia. We know that our country is doing it tough right now. We know how hard it is for families. We know how hard it is for small business people because we are the families, the small business people and the workers of this country. Not the organised workers necessarily but the ones that do the work - the people there in the shops, in the factories, on the farms, in the public
service. That is the people that we represent. In Bob Menzies’ immortal phrase we represent the lifters not the leaners of modern Australia.
We know how tough it is. We know how tough it is. We know that your health costs are going up. We know that the school costs are going up. We know that power bills have almost doubled under this Government and the carbon tax is just making it worse. We know that gas bills and water bills have gone up by 50 per cent plus under this government and the carbon tax is just making it worse. We know because we're all Australians that we can be better than this. We know that we are a great country and a great people being held back by a bad government. So, that's our challenge, ladies and gentlemen, to give this country the better government that it deserves. And we will not fail. We will not fail. We do need a better environment, but you don't get that by clobbering our economy with a carbon tax. We need a fairer economy, but you don't get that by whacking our most successful sector with a mining tax. We need better broadband, but you don't get that by spending $60 billion of borrowed money, more than is necessary, and in the process dig up every person's front yard. We need integrity in government and you don't get that by saying one thing before an election to win votes and doing the opposite afterwards to stay in the Lodge.
Ladies and gentlemen, when I say there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead, I am telling the truth. You know, there's a fellow called Wayne Swan, some of you might have heard of him, he's the bloke who kept promising us a surplus and never actually delivering it. Well, I gather he's in the paper today saying that his value is the fair go. Well thanks, Wayne. Thanks, Wayne. What about a fair go for the millions of Australians struggling to pay back the debt that you have saddled us with? What about a fair go for all those fair dinkum refugees stuck in camps in our region because of your border protection failures and the fact that this component of our immigration programme has now been subcontracted out to the people smugglers? What about a fair go for all of those low paid workers in hospitals whose union dues have been ripped off by corrupt officials sitting in the Parliament of this country? And what about a fair go for Australians who are sick of being deceived by national leaders? What about a fair go for all those people who believed Wayne Swan and Julia Gillard when they said not once, not twice, but more than 500 times between them, that they would deliver a surplus, finally, this year? Even when they said they were going to deliver us a surplus, it was going to take 100 years of Swanny surpluses to repay just four years of Swanny deficits, but the fact is he's not going to do it. There's $300 billion of debt hanging over this of country when just five years ago we did not have debt. We had assets, thanks to the hard work of John Howard and Peter Costello. Well, I say to the Treasurer when you talk about a fair go, you are not fair dinkum. You are not fair dinkum because we know what you are like. We know what you do. By contrast, we know what a good Coalition government can do.
So, ladies and gentlemen, my pledge to you, my pledge to the Australian people, my pledge to each and every one of the decent people who know in their hearts that we can be better than this, who want to be everything they can be, who want our country to be everything that it can be, is that we won't let you down. We will rebuild an Australia with hope, reward and opportunity. We will build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia. We do have specific solutions. We do have real solutions and workable, affordable, understandable plans for our future and we will deliver. We will deliver. We will build a strong economy by getting our budget back into the black by living within our means. You all know because you have run businesses and because you have household budgets to manage that you cannot spend what you haven’t got. If you keep spending what you haven’t got sooner or later you get foreclosed upon. Sooner or later it all comes crashing down. Well, governments aren’t that very different. Yes, there are a few tricks available to government that aren’t available to businesses and households but in the end you have got to be able to pay for it and we know in the Coalition, you know because you are fair dinkum, that no country has ever taxed its way to prosperity. No country has ever regulated its way to wealth. No country has ever got rich by endlessly increasing the size of government. What we need to do if we are going to boost our nation’s wealth and spread the prosperity around is do what is necessary to get the businesses of Australia going again because that means that the workers of Australia have work and have the higher pay that they deserve.
So, our plan for the economy starts with abolishing the carbon tax, with abolishing the mining tax and getting rid of at least $1 billion worth of unnecessary red tape and regulation every single year. Our plan for stronger communities rests on trusting the people. As I look around this room I see about 700 people. You know what is good for you. You know what is good for your communities. So, why don’t our public schools and our public hospitals run in accordance with your patterns and your needs and your rhythms rather than those of the unaccountable bureaucrats in head office? We will work with Coalition state governments right around the country to try and ensure that we do have better public schools and better public hospitals because they will be run by the community rather than by the distant bureaucrats.
We will have a cleaner environment because we know that the farmers and the foresters and the fishers of Australia want to protect and conserve the resource upon which they depend for a living. We want to work with people not against people. We know that the environment is important. We know that we only have one planet to live on. We know that we have got to rest lightly on the planet and we understand that the best way to protect the environment is through incentives, not a great big tax on everything. We know that as important a duty as any that government has is to protect our borders and we know that John Howard inherited a problem and crafted a solution. We also know, the Australian people know, that Julia Gillard and Kevin Runs, Rudd inherited. Kevin run away, that’s what Simon Crean calls him now. We know that they inherited a solution and created a problem. So, what we are going to do is put back in place the policies that work. The proven policies that will protect our borders that will restore our borders and that will restore faith not just in our refugee and humanitarian immigration programme but will restore faith in our immigration programme generally. We want everyone to understand that this is a nation of immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants. We know that the people who come to this country chose this country because they want to join this country, not change it and we want them to be respected members of the Australian community. We want them to be first class citizens in their new home and the best way to guarantee that is to restore the integrity of our border protection policies.
We will give our country the modern infrastructure that a first world country in the 21st century really needs. I have already made some big announcements about the economic infrastructure that would start to go within 12 months of a Coalition government being elected. I want to see cranes over our city. I want to see bulldozers on the ground. I want to see the traffic moving. I don’t want you to be stuck in traffic jams on your way to work, on your way to university, bringing the kids home from school. I want to see our traffic flowing. That’s why we will have a WestConnex in Sydney, the East West Link in Melbourne, the Gateway upgrade in Brisbane, the Pacific Highway duplicated from Newcastle to the Queensland border, the road to the west of Geelong upgraded and improved but here in Adelaide, here in Adelaide in this the most livable city of our Commonwealth, the city where it was once said you could get anywhere in 20 minutes, until now, you get stuck in traffic jams on the South Road for 20, 30, 40 minutes at a time, we will invest $500 million in the Darlington Transport Study Improvements, effectively we will extend the Southern Expressway. I am delighted to see that according to the Automobile Association, this is the most important road project in Adelaide right now and it will happen thanks to an incoming Coalition government in Canberra.
There are a few people who get stuck in traffic more often than Members of Parliament and Candidates so it is good that you leapt to your feet to welcome that announcement. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a great state. I love coming to South Australia. I come to South Australia often and I will come to South Australia even more often in the weeks and months ahead. I don’t like leaving South Australia which is why tomorrow when I do leave I will leave by bike because that means it will take me three days to get out of South Australia.
The one thing that I want to do for South Australia above all else is restore economic dynamism. Now, getting rid of the carbon tax will help the manufacturing industries of this state. Getting rid of the carbon tax for instance will make the cost of producing a motorcar in this country $400 per car cheaper, obviously a help to some of the great manufacturing industries of this country. If you look at me you will see I am always wearing RM Williams boots, product of South Australia, proof that the people of South Australia can manufacture and export to the wider world.
Above all else what I want to do is give the Olympic Dam expansion a chance. Olympic Dam is not on hold because of the quality of the ore body, it’s high. Olympic Dam is not on hold because of the dynamism of South Australians, that’s high too. Olympic Dam is not on hold because there is any lack of work ethic amongst local people, they want to work, they want to make it happen. Olympic Dam is on hold essentially because state and commonwealth Labor governments have not created the climate in which this kind of investment can go ahead.
I can’t promise that Olympic Dam will go head, but I can promise that there will be no obstacles from government that will impede its process. No obstacles from government that will impede its process and that means that South Australia will have a fighting chance of becoming, once more, one of the richest states in this great Commonwealth.
Ladies and gentleman, the challenge that I have as a Party Leader, the challenge that Christopher and my colleagues have as Members of Parliament and as frontbenchers, the challenge that Steven Marshall and Vickie Chapman have as leaders of the South Australian Liberal Party, our challenge is to build a better nation. Our challenge is to help unlock the potential that exists in our country and in our state. Our challenge is to try to ensure that every single Australian is helped, encouraged, enabled to be the very best self that that person can be. As I look around this audience I can see optimism, I can see confidence. Yes, we have got 140 days to go and sometimes those 140 days will drag on and on and endlessly on but we know things can be better. We know we can have a government that doesn’t try to divide Australians. We know we can have a government that doesn’t play the outdated class war card. A false war if ever there was one in this country. We know we can have a government which doesn’t try to set people against people with this class war, with this gender war, with this birthplace war, we know all that is so wrong because Simon Crean himself has said so. Labor to the bootstraps and what has he said? He said, ‘the government in which I was a cabinet Minister is setting Australian against Australian, trying to start a class war, betraying the best values of the Party I thought I knew because it is led by someone with a tin ear. It’s led by someone who is delusional.’ That’s what he said in the paper today. Well, it is time for a change. It is time for a change. That is what we will deliver this country. This is the supreme challenge that I face. This is the supreme challenge that all of us face and I tell you this, we will not let our country down.
Thank you very much.