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Transcript of press conference: Parliament House, Canberra: June 26, 2013: Labor’s soap opera



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Press Conference, Parliament House, Canberra June 26, 2013

Subjects: Labor’s soap opera.

E&OE……………………….……………………………………………………………

TONY ABBOTT:

I do congratulate Kevin Rudd. I commiserate with Julia Gillard because, yet again, the powerbrokers of the Labor Party have changed the prime ministership of our country.

I want to say directly to the people of Australia: you deserve better than this. You deserve strong and stable government, but the only way you will get strong and stable government is through an election so that you, the people, and not the faceless men of the Labor Party choose the Prime Minister and the government of our country.

Just a couple of simple facts. In 2007, you voted for Kevin and got Julia. In 2010, you voted for Julia and got Kevin. If you vote for the Labor Party in 2013, who knows who you will end up with?

So, again, I say to the people of Australia: if you want real change, if you want a strong and stable and unified government, there has got to be an election and there has got to be a vote for the Coalition.

Finally, let me just say that the issues in this election are clear. Who do you, the people, trust to stop the boats, to abolish the carbon tax and the mining tax and to get the budget black in the black?

After three years like the ones we have just had, it really is passing strange that the Labor Party can stand up and seriously ask to be rewarded with three more years.

Now, I know it is very late but I am going to take a few questions, unlike any of the others who have been doing press conferences this evening.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, how will this alter your strategy coming into the election? Is it going to be different with Mr Rudd at the helm?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, Mr Rudd is obviously an effective politician. He has obviously orchestrated the change of leadership that we’ve seen this evening and it takes a skillful politician to bring that kind of thing about. But what we have seen from both Mr Rudd and from Julia Gillard is an abundance of clever politics but almost no good government. What the Coalition has been on about - since the 2010 election - is, first, holding a poor government to account, and second being a strong alternative. That is exactly what we have been. People know what will happen under the Coalition. We will put back in place the policies that worked to stop the boats. We will abolish unnecessary and destructive taxes. We will get the budget back into the black by eliminating unnecessary spending. What we have to do is spend less on lower priorities so we can spend more on high priorities and, obviously, the absolute priority - as well as protecting our borders - is to strengthen the

economy and that means giving taxes down, getting regulation down and building the infrastructure of the 21st century.

QUESTION:

Do you think that Mr Rudd should test his support on the floor of the Parliament before going to visit the Governor-

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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General? Would you consider moving a motion of no-confidence in the Government tomorrow?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, look, that’s really a matter for Mr Rudd. I’m not interested in playing parliamentary games. I think the people of Australia are sick of parliamentary games. I am interested in giving the people their say as soon as possible and it was really quite odd that Mr Rudd didn’t confirm the former Prime Minister’s chosen election date - or indeed announce an earlier date, which I think would have been something of integrity - but that’s not what we got from Mr Rudd tonight. But, certainly, I’m not interested in parliamentary games. It is up to the Prime Minister to specify when the election will be. For all the previous Prime Minister’s faults, she at least was upfront and came clean with the Australian people about an election date and I think the first duty of Mr Rudd is to tell us when the election is going to be.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, have you taken constitutional advice today, this evening, or in the last few days? Have you communicated with the Governor-General or have your heard from her?

TONY ABBOTT:

No, I haven’t spoken with the Governor-General because, in the end, it is my very strong conviction that it is now for the Australian people to determine who is the Prime Minister and who forms the Government and at this very late stage in this particular parliament - a parliament which has been low and dishonourable from start to finish - it is more incumbent than ever on all of us to work towards the people resolving the difficulties, the frustrations and the failures of this particular parliament.

QUESTION:

So, Mr Abbott, you do think that Kevin Rudd should be sworn in as Prime Minister?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, as I said, that is a matter for the Governor-General. What I believe should happen is that we should move as quickly as possible to an election on September the 14th or preferably earlier and Mr Rudd must now say when he intends to have the election. The Australian people are yearning to make a choice. The Australian people are well and truly over this low and dishonourable parliament. It’s time for the people, not the faceless men, to resolve the big question of who should be the Prime Minister and who should form a government.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, have you actually spoken to Kevin Rudd or Julia Gillard this evening and, if so, what did you discuss?

TONY ABBOTT:

No, I haven’t. Obviously, they’ve all been rather busy and, as I said, my absolute determination is to ensure that the Australian people come out of tonight with the conviction that there is at least someone in this parliament who is thinking of the people and what will help our country and not simply thinking about who can be prime minister or who can hold onto the prime ministership.

QUESTION:

Mr Abbott, you said you’re not interested in playing parliamentary games. Does that mean you won’t move a no-confidence motion tomorrow and what do you call the two attempts by your party to move suspension of standing orders today?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, the short answer is it is up to the Prime Minister to demonstrate that he has sufficient support to form and maintain a government. As far as I am concerned, what counts now is that we have an election as soon as possible. Now, under Julia Gillard, we were going to have an election on the 14th of September. It is now up to Mr Rudd to say when the

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election will be and I think he owes it to the Australian people who have been expecting an election on September the 14th to tell us when the election will be and I would very much suggest to him that the Australian public’s patience with this particular parliament is very much at an end and the election should be on September the 14th or earlier.

QUESTION:

If he said that the election was going to be November 24 you have only got one day to force the issue tomorrow. Are you willing to force the issue if you are faced with a long election timeframe?

TONY ABBOTT:

Well, let’s wait and see what Mr Rudd says. If Mr Rudd were to try to hold on that long, I think he would be met with an overwhelming wave of abhorrence from the Australian people, but in the end it is first and foremost a matter for the Prime Minister to determine when the election will be. The previous Prime Minister - for all her faults - was upfront with the Australian people and said there would be an election on September 14th. Having seized the Prime Ministership from his predecessor, having had the support of the Labor Party powerbrokers to protect their position by becoming Prime Minister, it really is incumbent on Mr Rudd to now tell us when the election will be. The only question that matters tonight is will Mr Rudd persist with September 14th? Will he have it earlier? Will he have it later? He needs to tell us.

As far as the Coalition is concerned - and as far as the Australian people are concerned - we need an election so that the people and not the powerbrokers, not the faceless men, finally determine who the Prime minter of this country should be and who the Government should be.

Thank you.

[ends]

© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

www.tonyabbott.com.au

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