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Good afternoon Australians one and all.

Can I say good afternoon to members of the Canberra press gallery and at least say to them they'll
be relieved to know their days of standing on street corners waiting for the election to be called
are over.

And can I say to Australians on the 24th of June I had the very great honour of becoming Prime
Minister of this country, the greatest country of all.

And on that day I acknowledged that I had not been elected by the Australian people. And I said
then to the Australian people that I would ensure, that in the near future, they would to able to
exercise their birthright, their vote, to select their Government and their Prime Minister.

Today I honour that pledge, and today I seek a mandate from the Australian people to move Australia

This morning I asked Her Excellency, the Governor-General, to dissolve the House of Representatives
so that elections can occur for the House and half of the Senate on Saturday, August 21.

This election, I believe, presents Australians with a very clear choice: this election is about the
choice as to whether we move Australia forward or go back.

Our great nation, our very great nation, has been built by generations of men and women who had the
courage to move forward.

Moving forward, of course, requires conviction, it requires confidence, it requires a willingness
to embrace new ways of thinking, accept new challenges, to listen and to learn and to embrace new

Moving forward with confidence also requires a strong set of convictions and a clear set of values.

All of my adult life I have been driven by a very clear set of values and over the last few weeks
I've had the opportunity to share those values with the nation.

I believe in hard work, I believe in the benefits and dignity of work, I believe in what comes as
an individual when you do your best and you earn your keep.

I believe fundamentally in the importance of respect and valuing other people, something that can
be shown from simple courtesy to making sure that we give each other a helping hand in times of
need and times of distress.

Overall, and most importantly, I believe in the transformative power of a high quality education,
the kind of high quality education that with rigour and discipline enables a child to get the
skills and the character that they will need for the rest of their life.

Now I learned these values in my family home, from my father and my mother who migrated to this
country and, like millions of other Australians, worked unbelievably hard so that their children
could have opportunities that they could never have dreamed for themselves.

Throughout my adult life I have learned to face the future with confidence; I believe our nation
too can face the future with confidence.

I believe absolutely, I believe to my core, that the best days of this nation are in front of it
not behind it, and there's no challenge too big, no challenge too tough, that we can't conquer it
if we work together.

And so in this, the forthcoming election campaign, I'll be asking the Australian people for their

I will be asking Australians for their trust so that we can move forward together.

And moving forward means moving forward with plans to build a sustainable Australia - not a big

Moving forward means making record investments in solar power and other renewable energies to help
us combat climate change and protect our quality of life.

Moving forward means moving forward with budget surpluses and a stronger economy that can offer
Australians the opportunity to get a job, keep a job, learn new skills, get a better job and start
their own business.

A stronger economy that offers Australian families security, opportunity and fairness at work. A
stronger economy that builds on what we've achieved by working together, employers and employees
alike, in the face of the Global Financial Crisis and global economic uncertainty.

And of course that uncertainty is not behind us yet and economic challenges are still very much
with us, and hard-working Australian families, who are doing it tough, can attest to that.

Moving forward of course means bringing the Budget to surplus by 2013 - three years ahead of
schedule, a surplus that I will protect in this election campaign by not going on an election
spend-a-thon, by making sure that any promise we make to spend money is offset by a promise to save

By making sure that the Budget bottom line doesn't change by one cent during the election campaign.

Moving forward also means moving forward with stronger protection of our borders and a strong plan,
a real plan, that takes away from people smugglers the product that they sell.

Moving forward means first-rate services for hard-working Australians.

In health, it means increasing our expenditure on hospitals by 50%, it means training 3,000 nurses
and 1,300 General Practitioners over the next three years, all the while as we expand our GP
Superclinics and implement our health reforms.

And moving forward above all in our schools means putting at the centre of our agenda getting every
child, every child, a quality education. I believe so passionately in this because a high quality
education has been the centrepiece of my life.

I have worked hard to increase information and choices for parents through the My School website,
and we will build on it, and we will deliver our new national curriculum with its focus on the
basics of reading and writing and mathematics.

We will move forward with our plans to deliver better quality teaching, computers in schools, Trade
Training Centres so that we can train students and apprentices. I want to move forward so that
young people in this country have real skills for real jobs.

And so this is my commitment to Australia:

Under my leadership we will move forward, we'll move forward together with a sustainable Australia;
a stronger economy; budgets in surplus and world-class health and education services and other
essential services that hard working Australians and their families rely on.

Now my commitment to this country stands in stark contrast to the commitment of the Opposition.
Their gaze is fixed in the rear view mirror rather than on the road ahead.

The Coalition proposes to take this country backwards, backwards to the days when people somehow
believed you improved education and health by cutting funding to them.

Mr Abbott, who of course cut $1 billion from our public hospitals - enough to rip away 1,000
hospital beds, has a track record in cutting health.

He's now calling for that same backwards looking approach to other services that hard working
Australians need. Instead of creating GP Superclinics, he would eliminate them. Instead of
expanding Trades Training Centres, he would end them. Instead of providing computers to children in
schools, he would see none of that.

The Opposition's economics approach is also backwards.

When the Global Financial Crisis hit, they opposed the stimulus package, they would have sent our
economy downwards into a spiral of lower incomes, lost jobs, and reduced services. Now that's a
spiral that they would have recommended for this country but the wrong thing for Australians, it
would have taken us backwards.

And now, Mr Abbott, whatever words he tried to camouflage it in, remains committed to bringing back
the worst aspects of WorkChoices.

In terms of the words he seeks to disguise his intent with, we've heard all of that before.

Mr Abbott is also trying to hold Australians back by making them afraid of the future.

Instead of moving forward to tackle climate change, Mr Abbott is in climate change denial. Instead
of building a national broadband network - the electronic infrastructure we need to modernise our
economy and help regional communities grow - Mr Abbott would down tools.

Instead of supporting computers in schools and e-health, he would abandon all of it.

Mr Abbott would even deny hard working Australians increased superannuation, he would even deny
regional communities new infrastructure, he even wants to stop small businesses getting the tax
relief my Government will provide.

Now at this moment there is clearly an opportunity for us to look forward in this nation. Australia
needs many changes, this is not a moment to turn back. We've come too far as a country and we've
evolved too much as a society to risk that kind of backwards-looking leadership.

Instead, I believe this is a moment for all of us to strengthen, to innovate, to learn - in short,
to move forwards, not backwards.

This choice is very, very clear, and I look forward to presenting our case for judgment to the
Australian people over the weeks ahead.

Thank you very much.