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Address to Victorian Federal campaign rally, Melbourne
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR FEDERAL MEMBER FOR WARRINGAH
29 June 2013
TRANSCRIPT OF THE HON. TONY ABBOTT MHR ADDRESS TO VICTORIAN FEDERAL CAMPAIGN RALLY, MELBOURNE, VICTORIA
Thank you, thank you ladies and gentleman, thank you my friends, thank you John Howard. When our former Prime Minister, John Howard, just a moment ago passed the microphone to me, I thought: yes, the baton change has been effected.
The longer a bad government lasts, the better a good government looks. The longer a bad Prime Minister lasts, the better a great Prime minister looks. I was thinking to myself this morning even 48 hours makes a difference in that sense. I was watching a press conference yesterday and I suddenly thought to myself: you know, I now understand what Julia Gillard was on about when she was so down about blokes in blue ties.
I make this prediction. I make this solemn prediction. At some stage under Kevin Rudd people will get nostalgic even for Julia Gillard. And you can say what you like about Julia Gillard but I also say this: the first female Prime Minister of our country did not deserve to be dragged down by internal treachery. She did not.
She did not. It is the job of the Australian people to change the Prime Ministership. It is not the job of the faceless men. There is a rent in our polity, there is a rent in our polity, because twice in just three years an incumbent Prime Minister has been dragged down by faceless men inside the Labor Party. Not only have we seen the Prime Minister dragged down, but we have seen one third of the Cabinet resign. This is a political crisis. It is a political crisis.
An exasperated people are looking for stability and certainty and the only place they will find that stability and that certainty is with the Liberal National Coalition. For three years my friends we have had the same strong team and the same clear policies. On Monday, we will have the fifth reshuffle in just five years. On Monday, Australia will have the sixth small business minister in just three years. And Labor wants three more years of this.
This is the clearest choice in a generation. It is the clearest choice in a generation and it is not just between two different teams and two different policies. It is not just between unity and stability on one side and division and dysfunction on the other. It is a choice about fundamental values. It is a choice about what we believe in as a people and as a nation. And I say to the Australian people the Labor Party right now is addicted to big government. They just can’t help themselves. Here in the Coalition we believe in strong citizens, Labor is only interested in wealth redistribution. But we the people understand that you have got to create the wealth before you can distribute it.
Labor obsesses about the state but we the people understand that it is in community that Australian people will be strong, and strong communities and strong individuals are what we need if the social fabric of this great nation is to improve in the months and years ahead. My friends, for three years everyone has known what the Coalition stands for - our policies, our team, our values. Sixteen members of my Shadow Cabinet were ministers in the last government that put the Budget back into the black and actually stopped the boats. We won’t need to learn on the job because we have done the job before and I want to pay tribute to my team. To Julia Bishop, the most respected Shadow Foreign Minister this country has ever seen. I want to pay tribute to Joe Hockey. Joe knows in the marrow of his bones - slightly shrinking bones - he knows that you cannot have a strong country without strong communities and you cannot have strong communities without a strong economy and you cannot have strong economies without profitable private businesses to sustain them. Joe knows that. We get it. You get it. The people of Australia get it. The only people who don’t get it I am afraid is the current government.
They know how to create a thriving small business - start off with a big business! I tell you what; they’ve done a great job of shrinking Ford haven’t they.
Ladies and gentleman I pay tribute to my team, I pay tribute to Sophie Mirabella, someone who really will fight to give manufacturing industry a future in this country. How dare Kevin Rudd talk today about boosting manufacturing employment when he still wants to hit manufacturing industry with a jobs destroying carbon tax. How dare he. Then of course there is Bruce Billson, not just the Shadow Minister for Small Business, the evangelical Shadow Minister for Small Business! And of course there is Greg Hunt. Greg understands that it doesn’t matter how you rebrand it or re-badge it, a carbon tax is simply socialism masquerading as environmentalism. Then of course there is the rest of the strong team in Parliament. There is Josh Frydenberg. Most of you here today I believe are cousins of Josh Frydenberg, and then there are the great candidates that we have got running for election right around our country this time.
I am so proud of the people who have put their hand up to serve our country in the Parliament. It is a difficult life. It is a great honour and it is a great privilege, but it is a difficult life and some of our candidates have given up a very good life, a very good life indeed to aspire to join our Parliament. There are doctors who are aspiring to become politicians, to go from being the most respected profession in our country to one of the least respected but I tell you what, our job is to change that. Our job is to change that. Our job is to make politics a respected vocation once again.
There are doctors, there are nurses, there are teachers, there are policemen, there are army officers; there are all sorts of people representing the breadth and depth of our country. There is a former father of the year in Ron Delezio running in NSW, there is a former mother of the year in Bernadette Black running in Tasmania. And you know, if every one of our candidates were to be elected the most common surname in the Liberal Party room would be Nguyen, N-G-U-Y-E-N. Take a bow John Nguyen!
That’s why you will never see from us the kind of nonsense that we have seen from this government, dividing Australian against Australian on the basis of class, on the basis of gender and on the basis of where you were born. I look at people rich and not so rich, all trying to do the right thing by their families. I look at people, men and women, trying to do the right thing for their communities and I look at people immigrant and native born all trying to build a better Australia. Kevin Rudd says he wants to end all of these wars that he wants to bring Australians together. You know the first legislation passed by the Parliament under Rudd-revived was the 457 legislation, demonising skilled migrants. This is a government which can’t stop people coming illegally and unsafely by boat to this country. They can’t stop that, so what do they do? They start to demonise people coming legally and safely by plane to this country and working and paying taxes from day one. Well I say that people who come to this country as skilled migrants, they are not stealing our jobs, they are helping to build our country.
I am proud of you. Australia is an immigrant nation. Always has been, always will be. It is what lends a heroic dimension to our national story. The fact that people can come to this country from all over the earth,
join our team and make a life for themselves is what makes our country almost unique. It is what makes our country a beacon of hope and optimism right around the world. I am so proud of that and it must never change.
My friends, we have the right team and we have the right plan and the right plan starts with scrapping the carbon tax. We don’t rename it, we don’t re-badge it, we just scrap it. We scrap it because you do not help the environment by hammering the economy. In particular you do not help the great state of Victoria by pricing out of existence the brown coal mines and the brown coal power stations of the Latrobe Valley, that great legacy of Sir John Monash. You do not price out of existence that which has been the industrial foundation of this great state.â¨
We need to make more of our strengths, not to deny them, not to apologise for them and not to close them down.
Our plan goes on with scrapping the mining tax because you do not speed up the slow lane by slowing down the fast lane. So, we will scrap the mining tax, we'll scrap the carbon tax. The beginning of tax reform is to scrap the carbon tax and to scrap the mining tax. It is not the end, but it is the beginning.
We will get the Budget back into the black because you know, my friends, you know in your families and in your small businesses that you have got to live within your means. If you spend what you haven't got for too long, eventually you are in big trouble and nations in the long run are no different. We must live within our means, which is why - and it won't always be easy - as far as I am concerned, the next election will not be an auction, we will not be trying to bribe the Australian people to vote for us, we will be saying "vote for us because we will govern in the national interest". â¨â¨
So, we get taxes down. We eliminate unnecessary spending. We get productivity up by taking an axe to the regulatory jungle which is now threatening to choke the decent businesses of our country. You try to start a mine in this country today; just to get the regulatory approvals takes more than three years. Six years ago it took less than 12 months. Less than 12 months. Is it any wonder that investment is fleeing this country? Australian investors are fleeing this country to invest in more stable countries like Mongolia and Angola, where they don't change the Prime Minister in the dead of the night twice in three years.
We will bring the industrial relations pendulum back to the sensible centre because if we want to have the best-paid workers in the world, and we do, and we should, they've got to be amongst the most efficient and the most productive workers in the world, and they can be because the workers of Australia are smart people. And when you are smart people, you can work smart and earn more and that's what needs to happen under a Coalition government.
My friends, you know moving around this great city of Melbourne, sometimes our roads here in this city are the world's longest parking lots. It's got to change. It's got to change and in consultation with our colleagues in the states and territories, in partnership with our colleagues in the states and territories, it will change. We will have cranes over our cities. We will have bulldozers on the ground, and here in Melbourne it starts with building the East West Link! The missing link at the heart of this city! It will be built under a Coalition government. And I hope - I take nothing for granted, ladies and gentlemen - but I absolutely hope that in four or five years’ time people will say "yes, that Tony Abbott, he did all sorts of things but, by God, he was an infrastructure Prime Minister. He was a builder. He built this nation because he built the roads and the other infrastructure that we so desperately need.”
But my friends, at the heart of any self-respecting country is security of its borders. You cannot be a self-respecting country if you have subcontracted out a significant part of the immigration programme to people smugglers. The thing that I hold against Kevin Rudd - and look, this isn't negativity, this is just a fact - when Kevin Rudd scrapped the proven policies, the policies that John Howard and Alexander Downer and Philip Ruddock put into place, when Kevin Rudd scrapped those policies because he wasn't man enough to
leave well enough alone, he made himself the best friend the people smugglers had ever had. He gave them back their business model. John Howard took it away. Kevin Rudd gave it back to them. You know what he did? He rolled out the Rudd carpet. He rolled out the Rudd carpet. Let's roll it up; let's take it away. We will stop the boats. We will stop the boats. â¨â¨
He is interesting, he stands up there and he says "we need a kinder, gentler polity" twelve hours after dragging down Australia's first female Prime Minister, who he had been stalking for three long years and three long nights. He stands up and he says he wants less negativity and then launches a ferocious negative attack on the Opposition and its leader. The whole point, he says, of becoming Prime Minister again - this was his whole pitch for the leadership - was to stop someone else. To stop someone else. Well, I say that our politics should be better and nobler than that. Politics should not be about stopping someone. It should be about starting something. What I want to start, what I want to start is a better government, a stronger economy and an Australia where more come closer to being their best selves.
I have a message for Kevin. I have a message for Kevin: Kevin, it's not all about you.
I know how bad you have felt for three years and three days. Yes, it was tough but, frankly, political parties should be more interested in the people's pain than in their own. They really should. It is not about Kevin. It's not about me. It's not even about us, ladies and gentlemen. It is about the Australian people. I say to the Australian people you deserve better than three years like this. You deserve better than three more years like this. And we will give you three of the best years you've had. â¨â¨
Kevin Rudd says: "I don't want to talk about the past". I can understand why. You know, this government, they can't talk about their first term because they dragged down Kevin Rudd. They can't talk about their second term because they dragged down Julia. They can't really talk about the future because in 2007 we voted for Kevin and we got Julia. In 2010 we voted for Julia and we got Kevin. And if we vote Labor in 2013, who knows what we'll end up with - but his electorate is not too far from here. He has wielded the knife twice. He can do it again.
I think the public are sick of it. The people are sick of it. So, I have a simple message for the Australian people. The faceless men got rid of Kevin Rudd. The faceless men got rid of Julia Gillard. Let's get rid of the faceless men!
I say to the Australian people: we are a great people. You are a great people. We are a great country. There is nothing wrong with this country that wouldn't be improved by a change of government and our duty, our duty, every day between now and the election is to work to give that better government to the Australian people. That is our duty and we must pledge every fibre of our being to bring that about.
Thank you my friends. Thank you.