Abbott attacks 'do nothing' Government


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24-11-2010 08:08 AM


ABC Canberra 666

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ABC Canberra 666


24-11-2010 08:08 AM



24-11-2010 08:49 AM

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2010-11-24 08:08:58

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RUDD, Kevin, (Former Prime Minister)


CURTIS, Lyndal


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Abbott attacks 'do nothing' Government -

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Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has used the anniversary of the election of Kevin Rudd as prime
minister as a chance to attack Mr Rudd's successor, Julia Gillard. Mr Abbott says the current Labor
Government does nothing and is beholden to the Greens. He also told AM the Opposition has policies
which are more attractive to the Australian electorate. Kevin Rudd rejects this.

TONY EASTLEY: Three years ago Labor came to power with Kevin Rudd as leader.

A lot has happened in that time with a new Labor leader, two new Opposition leaders as well as a
hung parliament.

Today, Tony Abbott is using the anniversary to push his claims that in the three years Labor has
been in office it's been a do nothing government.

Mr Abbott is speaking to chief political correspondent, Lyndal Curtis.

TONY ABBOTT: If you look at the record of the Rudd-Gillard Government's first three years where
there's been far more talk than action and compare it with the first three years of the
Howard-Costello government, or the first three years of the Hawke-Keating government, really it's
chalk and cheese. What you've got now is a Government with no agenda, with no vision.

You've got Labor in Government but the Greens in power and the Green lean is exemplified by the
fact that next year Parliament is sitting for the first time in July so that the Green's Senate
can, amongst other things, put in place a Green version of the mining tax, which will be much worse
for our economy than anything the Labor Government has proposed so far.

LYNDAL CURTIS: You say the last three years were a lot of talk and not a lot of action, doesn't the
Coalition have its part to play in that? There were measures that you blocked in the Senate that
could have gone through.

TONY ABBOTT: There's no point Opposition's supporting bad policy just because the Government keeps
demanding that we get out of the way.

Now the first duty of Government is to do no harm and what we've got on top of massive cost of
living increases over the last three years is a Government which is about to make a difficult
situation worse with its mining tax and with its carbon tax.

LYNDAL CURTIS: You talked in the party room yesterday about wanting, not just to be negative but
also to be positive. Was that a new year's resolution or something you'd like to start now?

TONY ABBOTT: It's something that I've always been determined to be. Through the election campaign
we talked about people power in schools and hospitals, we talked about moving from a welfare state
to an opportunity society.

All of that will continue. Obviously we've got Joe Hockey's nine point plan for better banking,
more competitive banking. We will have a plan for lower, simpler, fairer taxes. So this is going to
be a very positive Opposition. But, in the end, it is the Government that's running the country and
this is a bad government getting worse.

LYNDAL CURTIS: One of your MPs told that party room meeting that the Party needs to be on the front
foot about core Liberal Party values and they mentioned the unfair dismissals. Given you gave up on
industrial relations reforms at the last election, does that show the Liberal Party's lost its way
as well?

TONY ABBOTT: The Liberal Party will always support the enduring values of lower taxes, smaller
government, greater freedom, support for families, respect for values that have stood the test of
time, policies that work and which will make our country stronger. We'll always support that.

But when it comes to issues such as workplace relations I've made it absolutely crystal clear and
I'll do it again, the old WorkChoices policy is dead, buried and cremated.

LYNDAL CURTIS: But you also said at the election time that you wouldn't seek to make any changes to
the Fair Work Act had you won government. Do you still believe, do you believe now, that the unfair
dismissal laws need to change?

TONY ABBOTT: Well we're in Opposition and so almost by definition we can't make those laws. What

LYNDAL CURTIS: But you can put in a private member's bill.

TONY ABBOTT: What we'll be doing, what we'll be doing Lyndal, over this term of parliament is
carefully watching what happens, talking to people about how Labor's laws work out and let's see
what problems emerge.

TONY EASTLEY: The Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott speaking to chief political correspondent
Lyndal Curtis.

Well the former prime minister, Kevin Rudd, rejects Tony Abbott's claims and is keen to defend
Labor's record.

KEVIN RUDD: Well I'm not in the business of responding to Mr Abbott on anything. I would simply say
this: one core fact remains which is unassailable in any objective political debate. Mr Abbott and
his Liberal leader predecessors attacked the Government's response to the Global Financial Crisis,
they were wrong.

The Government's response was correct because the Australian Government kept the Australian economy
out of recession. Had we gone into the same recession as the rest of the world we would now be
having double digit unemployment, with up to half a million more Australians out of work.

That is a fundamental, fundamental achievement of the Government over the last three years and if
we look at the rest of the international economic wreckage around the world any objective mind
would conclude that what the Government did was absolutely right.

TONY EASTLEY: The Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, speaking there.