Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Tony Abbott: Labor can't say no to women on p -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

MARK COLVIN: With the election looking like the Coalition's to lose, Tony Abbott is playing safe.

The Opposition Leader is still refusing to go into detail about how a Coalition government would pay for its promises.

Today Mr Abbott was campaigning in Brisbane, where he praised the virtues of the free market, while selling a generous publicly funded paid parental leave scheme.

Lexi Metherell is travelling with Mr Abbott's campaign this week.

LEXI METHERELL: As he sells his plan for HECs-style loans for apprentices, the Opposition Leader inspects the fire trucks and ambulances built at a workshop in the industrial area in Brisbane's north.

TONY ABBOTT: If we don't have you guys going through getting trades, well we haven't got the skills of the future, have we, so…

LEXI METHERELL: The workshop belongs to the specialised vehicle business Mills-Tui. It used to make buses, but it doesn't anymore. So many are now imported cheaply from China. It's one of many manufacturing businesses feeling the pressure of the market.

But at a press conference at the workshop, Tony Abbott praises the free market and cites free market heroes.

TONY ABBOTT: John Howard left our country stronger and more confident, Margaret Thatcher left Britain stronger and more confident, and Ronald Reagan, he won the cold war, helped to make the world much safer for democracy and for the universal decencies of humanity.

LEXI METHERELL: Margaret Thatcher wasn't known for investing in paid parental leave. But Tony Abbott is glad to be associated with it.

TONY ABBOTT: I'm really pleased that Kevin Rudd is trying to make PPL one of the central issues of this campaign. I am really pleased.

Do you seriously believe Latika, that the Labor Party, in opposition after a defeat, should they lose this election, is going to say no to the women of Australia? I mean, do you really think that the Labor Party is going to say no to the women of Australia? I doubt it very much.

LEXI METHERELL: The market is central to the Coalition's plan to get the budget back into surplus. It hopes by cutting the carbon and mining taxes it can stimulate the economy and generate revenue.

Mr Abbott says he'll provide some detail on his costings this week, and the rest next week. But promises on when the budget will be in surplus remain vague.

TONY ABBOTT: We will deliver a surplus as soon as we humanly can. And we will deliver a surplus quicker and more reliably than the Labor Party.

LEXI METHERELL: At the Tui-Mills workshop, Tony Abbott has the support of employee Frank Vaux.

FRANK VAUX: I used to be Labor, that was it. I only ever knew Labor, I only voted Labor, my dad was Labor, so. But yeah, like I say it was just, yeah with the Liberals - I don't know, John Howard, they got the economy going right, going forward. Then it was a change for change's sake, which I didn't agree with. Look where we are, and now we've got to put them back in just to get it all right again. So, yeah, it's an odd world, yeah.

LEXI METHERELL: And Tony Abbott, you know, people have said in the past, people who've known him, that he's unelectable. Has your view changed of Tony Abbott, I mean now it looks like he's on the cusp of becoming prime minister?

FRANK VAUX: You're voting for the party, you're voting for the whole thing, you're not voting for a showman. You're asking for someone to do a job. It's not a personality; you've got to have someone who can, you know, do the job, so. And that's it. So it's the whole team, not just the one person.

So I think that's the biggest problem for Labor. It's a one man show, everyone can sort of see through the crap I suppose. But, yeah, so he'll win it, it'll be good.

LEXI METHERELL: But Mr Vaux's workmate, Ray Scope, isn't such a fan.

RAY SCOPE: Probably vote for Labor I would say. Yep, that'd be my pick if I had to pick one.

LEXI METHERELL: You said you're leaning towards voting Labor, but Tony Abbott, when he took the leadership, was called unelectable by people who knew him. Has your view changed of Tony Abbott over time?

RAY SCOPE: No not really. I just don't think he comes across very well as being the leader of Australia on the world stage. So as far as that goes… but that's what you can really get from the television and that is the face thingo. So no, my opinion hasn't changed on him. But yeah I wouldn't vote, purely for I don't want him to represent Australia on the world stage because I don't think he talks very well, and his laugh, yeah (laughs), his laugh is hopeless (laughing).

MARK COLVIN: Mr Vaux's workmate Ray Scope ending that report from Lexi Metherell.