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Address to the WA State Liberal Party Conference

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The Hon Julie Bishop, MP Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Deputy Leader of the Opposition Member for Curtin

Address to the WA State Liberal Party Conference

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Federal President Alan Stockdale, Vice Presidents Danielle Blain and Tom Harley, President Barry Court, parliamentary colleagues and delegates, former Premier Richard Court, and I particularly acknowledge the Premier of our great state Colin Barnett.

Colin has so ably demonstrated how a Liberal Government can deliver strong economic management, turn a state’s fortunes around and provide competent leadership based on enduring Liberal values and beliefs that families should be at the heart of society and the hard work and individual initiative of enterprising Australians ought to be at the heart of the economy.

Colin has shown courage and conviction, resisting the power grab in health from the Rudd-now-Gillard Government, fighting off the attempted daylight robbery of 30 percent of our share of GST and revealing that 65 percent of the mining tax will be grabbed from our state to fund Labor’s reckless spending on cash giveaways and pink batts and school halls and propping up failed state Labor Governments.

Colin congratulations on the work you are doing for our state!

Ladies and gentlemen there is something so fundamentally flawed about this Federal Labor Government. There is something so fundamentally rotten at its core that it now conducts most of its business in secret, saying one thing to the public and doing another in secret.

For weeks a handful of union bosses, both in and outside of Parliament, were hatching a plot to remove the Prime Minister from office. Complicit in the plot was the Deputy Prime Minister playing the lead role of smiling assassin.

The Deputy repeatedly expressed her loyalty to the Prime Minister, said she was 100 percent behind him all the while manoeuvring into the perfect position to stab him in the back.

Kevin should have known better. After all, Julia Gillard pledged loyalty to Kim Beazley and then joined forced with Kevin Rudd to knife Beazley. Then she pledged loyalty to Kevin Rudd only to join forces with that precocious secretary of the Australian Workers Union Paul Howes to knife Kevin Rudd. Is there a pattern here?

The secrecy surrounding the Government’s deals is disturbing.

The Government says it fixed the mining tax but the deal is so secret that 3,000 mining companies know nothing about it let alone the public.

The Government says it fixed the asylum seeker issue because it is negotiating with East Timor to build a processing centre. But the negotiations are so secret East Timor knows nothing about them.

The Government says it fixed the climate change issue but the policy is so secret it can’t tell us what it is. But one day a citizens’ assembly of 150 Australians will emerge blinking from a windowless bunker at a remote location and they will tell us what it is.

And the preference deal between Labor and the Greens is so secret that neither Julia Gillard nor Bob Brown know anything about it. Preference deal, what preference deal?

And the deal that Julia Gillard struck with former Prime Minister Rudd is so secret that she will take it to her grave. Fortunately Kevin doesn’t feel so constrained.

Laurie Oakes put it this way over the East Timor episode and I quote, “Julia Gillard just looked silly and slippery, slimy and shifty...a very, very bad start to her Prime Ministerial career.”

But Labor’s precedent of topping a first term Prime Minister before the Australian people could pass judgement on him at an election has put Julia Gillard in an invidious position. She is just one unpopular decision, just one bad poll, away from that midnight knock on the door. That is why she’s gripped by policy paralysis - all talk, no action, all spin, no substance - lest the focus groups mark her down for making a tough decision.

In contrast the Coalition has a track record of action.

Last time we were in Government we said we would put the budget back into surplus and we did it and kept it there. We said we would pay off Labor’s $96 billion debt and we did, we reduced it to zero. We said we would focus on jobs and unemployment was halved. We said we would dismantle the people smuggling trade and we did.

We’ve done it before and we will do it again!

Sixteen of our shadow frontbench were Ministers in a competent Coalition Government. We know how to govern. We are not a bunch of amateurs more focused on what you can get out of being in Government than what you can do for the Australian people.

Our leader, Tony Abbott, was a Cabinet Minister in a competent Government. He was an outstanding Health Minister who did consult with all relevant parties.

Women across Australia may not be aware, but Tony Abbott did more for women’s health than any Health Minister before or since. It may have something to do with the fact that he has got a strong mother, three strong sisters, his strong wife Margie and three strong and very beautiful daughters!

Tony focused particularly on women’s cancers. He established a centre for research into gynaecological cancers. He established a national screening program for bowel cancer - the second most prevalent cancer amongst women. He put an early treatment for breast cancer on the PBS. More controversially he put a late stage treatment for breast cancer, Herceptin, on the PBS and he introduced a free vaccine for cervical cancer for girls aged between 12 and 24.

I’ve known Tony Abbott for over 12 years. We worked together in the health and ageing portfolio. Now I’ve worked with men in my professional careers in law and in politics. I’ve worked with my fair share of blokes over my life and I can pick them. My professional relationship with Tony Abbott as his junior Minister was one of the most enjoyable and satisfying professional relationships I’ve experienced. He backed my judgement, he supported me without fail, he was available to give advice, he didn’t interfere. There was a mutual respect.

Tony Abbott is a bright guy, a Rhodes Scholar no less. He’s brim full of ideas, he’s brim full of energy. Tony Abbott is a game changer. Through his energy and his efforts the Coalition is now in contention in this election and Tony Abbott has made it winnable!

Ladies and gentleman will you please stand and welcome Margie Abbott, her husband, our leader, Tony Abbott.