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Address to Federal Campaign Rally, Lidcombe, Sydney

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Address to Federal Campaign Rally, Lidcombe, Sydney January 28, 2013


I am so pleased and so proud to be here with so many of my fellow Liberals, with my friends and senior colleagues but particularly

with you, Joe. You have been a great friend ever since we were fellow front rowers together at Sydney University all those years ago. You are the economic and fiscal conscience of our country and you will be one of the great treasurers.

Before we talk about Australia’s future, we do need to reflect on Australia today. A lot of Australians are doing it tough - not just in

the ordinary way but in the extraordinary way. This has been another dangerous summer, a summer of fire and flood and we must remember the communities that have been so hurt by natural disaster this summer.

Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday was Australia Day, a day when we celebrate the greatest country on earth - a great country, a

great people - shame about the Government. And that’s our job. We spent yesterday reminding ourselves of all that we can achieve and now we have to achieve that by giving this country a better government.

I want to tell you my friends, for the last two years, we have been touring this country. We have listened. We have been to

hundreds of factories, dozens of community halls, hundreds of homes. We have been listening and as we have listened, we have strengthened our plans, our plans for a better Australia, our plans to give hope, reward and opportunity. The hope, reward and

opportunity that Australians so need again. We’ve been strengthening our plans and today the Real Solutions plan sets out our values, our directions and our policy priorities for this year.

I want this year to be a great year for our country. I want this year to be a year when we rediscover what it means to be our best

selves. We should put no limits on what we can achieve. I know that our best days are ahead of us but our best days will only come if we change the government.

This is a vital election. Every election is important but there hasn’t been an election in a generation as important as this. If we want

lower taxes, if we want less red tape, if we want more fairness we have to have more freedom and that’s what we have in the marrow of our bones. That’s what’s in the DNA of the Liberal Party, more freedom because we trust the great Australian people to

make the decisions and to run their own lives. We’ve had too much big government, we’ve had too much bad government. Let’s get back to good government, let’s get back to strong government. That’s what will happen this year.

My friends. It all starts with a strong economy and we know how to give Australia a strong economy. We’ve done it before. We can

do it again. We will get taxes down. The carbon tax - gone. A bad tax which hurts our people without helping the environment. The mining tax - gone. A lose-lose tax which has damaged investment without raising any revenue. Red tape reduced by $1

billion a year, and we will restore productivity. We will restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission which in one industry alone has boosted productivity by some $5 billion a year. If we get government spending down, if we get taxes down, if

we get productivity up, our economy will be strong again.

We will have a five pillar economy. We know we can mine, we know we can farm. Well it’s high time we gave manufacturing a fair go. It’s high time we gave education a fair go and it’s high time that we made the most of the creative potential of our people to

expand the service industries that we are so good at.

It all starts, my friends, with a strong economy but a strong economy is not an end in itself, a strong economy is what we need to produce the strong communities that each and every one of us belongs to. I respect the social fabric of our country. I know that

what makes this country strong is not its officials, it’s not its formal structures so much, it’s the thousand community organisations, it’s the million bonds that exist between every Australian and ultimately every other Australian. That’s the social fabric that we

believe in and that’s the social fabric that we will strengthen.

But government does have a role to play. We will have a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme, a paid parental leave scheme that allows the women of Australia to be full economic as well as social contributors, that gives them at last, at last, a historic

advance, a real choice to have a career as well as a family.

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

Page 1 of 3 Address to Federal Campaign Rally, Lidcombe, Sydney > Tony Abbott


We will do a better job with childcare. It will be more flexible, it will be more usable. And don’t I know something about childcare

because every other day Margie’s chewing my ear about just what we need to do to improve the childcare system of our country.

We will have better schools and better hospitals because we will involve the community in the running of these great institutions. We have great doctors and nurses. Some of them are our candidates for parliament this time around. We have great teachers.

Some of them are our candidates for parliament this time around. But we’ve got to work with them, not against them. The community wants to support them. Let’s have the community having more say over the schools, the hospitals which are so

important to a decent society such as ours.

We will have a cleaner environment. Isn’t it bizarre that this government thinks that somehow raising the price of electricity is going to clean up our environment, stop bushfires, stop floods, stop droughts? Just think of how much hotter it might have been

the other day but for the carbon tax! We will bring in sensible measures to improve our environment. There will be more trees, better soils, smarter technology. There will be incentives, not penalties and there will be a Green Army marching to the rescue of

our degraded bushland, our waterways under pressure. We will work with the Australian people, not against them.

We will have stronger borders. The mark of a good government is the ability to protect and secure our borders. If you cannot secure the borders, you cannot run the country. The first duty of government is to control our borders and in the last five years of

the Howard Government we had just 150 illegal arrivals by boat. In the first five years - which will hopefully be the last five years - of the Rudd-Gillard government we’ve had 500 boats, more than 30,000 people, a town the size of Alice, a town like Alice arriving

illegally. Well my friends we will restore the policies that were proven to work.

But ladies and gentlemen, good government doesn’t just start in the waters to our north. It doesn’t just start in the instructions that we give to the public servants in Canberra. It doesn’t just start with the wave of deregulation that will flow through our economy

and liberate the creative energies of our small business people. Better government starts just a few hundred metres from here, where the WestConnex will start to link up the great and dynamic western suburbs of Sydney with the rest of this great metropolis.

For too long this city has been asleep. For too long, this great city of ours has been resting on its laurels. We need to get this city

moving again. We need to get Melbourne and Brisbane moving, but this city above all needs to be moving again and that’s why within 12 months of the election of a Coalition government in Canberra, WestConnex will be happening. There will be cranes over

our cities, there will be bulldozers on the ground because the people of our cities, the people of our great regional towns should not be choking on their own traffic.

My friends, we are all Australians and one of the things that makes me so proud is the way the candidates that this great party is

putting up for election in 2013 represent the diversity of our country. We’ve got teachers, we’ve got nurses, we’ve got doctors, we’ve got small business people, we’ve got farmers, we’ve got a publican. No sinners, but we have publicans! We’ve got former

soldiers, one runs a multicultural youth centre, one runs a children’s charity, one is a former Father of the Year - take a bow, Ron Delezio. We’ve got medical researchers - take a bow, Michael Feneley. And you know, if all of our new candidates get elected the

most common surname in the Liberal Party room in Canberra, it won’t be Smith, it won’t be Jones, it will be Nguyen, spelt N-G-U-Y-E-N. Andrew Nguyen, take a bow.

This is the party of modern Australia. This is the party which represents the diversity and the unity of modern Australia. My friends,

diversity is desirable but unity is essential and we will go forward as a united party to the rescue of this great country of ours.

I want to tell you how proud I am to be here. To represent a seat in the parliament is an extraordinary honour. To lead a great political party, to be the custodian, the standard bearer of the hopes and dreams of millions of Australians, is just about the

greatest honour anyone could have. I am so proud to have this honour. I am so grateful to you. I am so grateful to my parliamentary colleagues for giving me this honour and I am so grateful to Margie my wife for allowing me to undertake these


We are a pretty normal family, with a mortgage, with bills. We’ve struggled with the school fees, we’ve struggled with the hospital bills and yes, it’s easier now, but we know what it is like to struggle. We know what it is like not to be sure whether you’ve got

enough money in your bank account at the end of the month. We have got to do the right thing by the ordinary, decent working people of our country. We will not let them down and the best thing we can give to them right now is government which is

competent, government which is trustworthy.

When I say there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead, I am telling the truth. When I say that we will deliver competent, fair dinkum government, you know we will because we did. Sixteen members of the Shadow Cabinet were ministers in

the best government Australia has had in living memory: the Howard Government, and I want some of them to stand up. Malcolm, please stand up and take a bow. Philip, please stand up and take a bow. Arthur Sinodinos, please stand up and take a bow - the

Prime Minister’s chief of staff. Sussan, please stand up and take a bow. Our country is safe, our country will be safe, in the hands of these great Australians.

Page 2 of 3 Address to Federal Campaign Rally, Lidcombe, Sydney > Tony Abbott


Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve had a terrific morning. I can feel the excitement, I can feel the enthusiasm. But it’s not enough to keep it in this room. We have a job to do. It’s a hard job. Sometimes it’s a thankless task. But it is a necessary job. As John

Howard once said, politics is a hard and unforgiving business, but it’s the highest and noblest form of public service.

There is nothing wrong with our country right now that a change of government would not improve. That is our mission - to change the government and to give a great country the better government it deserves.

Thank you so much.


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

Page 3 of 3 Address to Federal Campaign Rally, Lidcombe, Sydney > Tony Abbott