Accepting Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s call for a September 7 election, Tony Abbott released the following statement that is republished here and is as follows:
I want to directly address the people of Australia about the choice which now faces our country.
At last, the choice is yours, it’s not the choice of the caucus, it’s not the choice of the faceless men, it’s your choice about the government you have, about the PM you have.
And the choice couldn’t be clearer.
The choice is between the positive plans of the Coalition and more of the same under the Australian Labor Party and Mr Rudd.
I am determined, my team is determined, my team is determined, to build a better Australia, with specific improvements that we will deliver, we will build a stronger economy so that everyone can get ahead.
We will scrap the carbon tax, we will get the budget back under control, aye we will build the infrastructure of the future and we will stop the boats.
Now, Mr Rudd talked about who do you trust?
Well, it’s really about who is more fair dinkum, who can you rely on to build a better future?
The people who have been stable and consistent for the last three years or a government which has been wracked by division and dysfunction and which promises more of the same if it is re-elected.
Who do you think is more fair dinkum? The people who actually stopped the boats in the past, or the person who started them up again in 2008?
The people who have actually delivered surpluses or the man who started the spend-a-thon which has got us into the fiscal position we are now in where the budget is blowing out by $3 billion a week?
The people who have been stable and united for three years of opposition, or a government which has not had the same policy from one week to the next and has given us over a little more than three years, two prime ministers, six small business ministers, five assistant treasurers and four ministers for immigration.
That is the kind of thing that the Australian people will have to judge and I am happy to place myself in the judgment of the Australian people.
You have got to ask yourself, what are the real functions of government?
The functions of government are to deliver a stronger economy, to provide national security, and to build a stronger and more cohesive society.
We will deliver a stronger economy by getting taxes down, we will abolish the carbon tax, we will abolish the mining tax and as soon as it is responsible the there’ll be a modest company tax cut.
We will get regulation down, we believe based on the work of the Productivity Commission that it’s more than possible to deliver $1 billion a year in red tape cost reduction particularly to small business, so if we get taxes down, if we get regulation down, then we can get productivity up.
It’s all very well talking about productivity, but you’ve got to have a plan to deliver it, the Coalition does, our opponents do not.
We will deliver on border protection. We have done it before, we can do it again. And we would not simply rely on another country doing the job for us.
Yes, we will work with our friends and neighbours but we will never rely on another country to do the job for us, because no one can more committed to the welfare of the Australian people than the Australian people than the Australian Government and no-one should be more determined to help the country than the Australian PM.
And we will deliver a stronger and more cohesive society with better services, with better schools, with better hospitals and they will be better not simply because they will be properly funded, they will be better because we will trust you, the people, with more control over the schools that your children attend, and over the hospitals that you use and need whenever you are sick or in trouble.
One thing that I am determined to do is build a country where no one ever feels like a stranger, to build a country where the bonds of social solidarity, the bonds of social solidarity, the bonds of community are stronger and stronger.
One thing that has been most dismaying about the current government is their attempts to turn Australian against Australian, and, yes, when Mr Rudd came in, he said that divisive rhetoric would cease, but the first bit of legislation passed under Rudd when he came back to the prime ministership was the legislation making 457 visas more difficult.
Now, it’s extraordinary that a government which has failed to stop people coming illegally to Australia by boat has tried consistently to demonise people coming to Australia legally and working and paying taxes from day one.
You will never find this kind of divisiveness from me. I am proud of Australia as an immigrant society, I am proud of the fact that people from all over the world have come here not to change us but to join us and that’s social . . . will increase under a Coalition government.
Mr Rudd talks a lot about a strong economy and yet it’s plain that this government has no plan to manage our economy, no plan whatsoever, and that was crystal clear on Friday when it was revealed that the Budget balance has been deteriorating by $3 billion a week since May when it was revealed that our gross debt is skyrocketing towards $400 billion and when it was revealed that the numbers of unemployed marching towards 800,000.
What’s Mr Rudd’s solution to this? Three new taxes. Well, the last way to build a strong economy is to clobber people with taxes, you get a company car, there’s a tax on you, you put your savings in the bank, there is a tax on you, you light up a cigarette, there’s a tax on you, and if this is what the government does before an election, just think what it would be like after an election.
So there is a clear choice, it is in the hands of you, the people and the question that you’ll be weighing as you begin this election campaign – do you really want three more years like the last six?
Do you really think that Australia needs another three years like this six years that it has just had? I know we are a great country, I know we are a great people, you know that too. There’s almost nothing wrong with our country that wouldn’t be improved by a change be improved by a change be government. That is what we need, a change of government.
Our best years are ahead of us but only if we seize our opportunities and one opportunity that we must seize is the opportunity to change the government.
I am ready, my team is ready, you have watched us for three years, you have seen the unity, you have seen the stability, you have seen the strength, we would not let you down.
There are two final observations that I just want to make. If you do want to change the government, there is only one way to do it and that’s to vote for your local Liberal-National candidate.
And there is a commitment that I want to give you – there will not be a minority government led by me. There will not be deals done with independents and minor parties under any political movement that I lead.
Australia needs strong and stable government, we do not need another three years of like the time we have just gone through, that is why it is so important as we face the future as a nation, to choose your Liberal-National candidate and his or her positive plans for the future.