Wednesday 7th October, 2015 Australia/Sydney

Australian Conservative

No class or gender wars under a government I lead, Tony Abbott says

“One thing I will never do, should I have the honour of leading this country, is deliberately set out to divide Australian against Australian,” Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said yesterday.

Mr Abbott made the commitment during an address to The West Australian Leadership Matters Breakfast in Perth.

“You will never find from me invocation of a false class war. I will never try to set workers against managers because I understand, in a way I fear the current incumbents do not, that it is only by working together that we are going to generate the prosperity that all Australians have a right to expect.

“I think I can say with absolute confidence that you will never find from me any attempt to invoke the gender war against my political opponents. Never, ever will I attempt to say that as a man I have been the victim of powerful forces beyond my control and how dare any that Prime Minister of Australia play the victim card. If there is one thing which marks the current government as utterly unworthy of leading this country, it is the attempt to set one Australian against another for party political advantage.”

Mr Abbott restated the values he says will be central to Coalition government, should it win the next federal election.

In response to the Gillard Government’s call for the Coalition to reveal its policies, Mr Abbott said:

I want to assure you that you will get our detailed policies, with dotted i’s and crossed t’s in good time before the next election but there are already, right now, very substantial commitments that I have made to the Australian people which give them a very good and clear idea of what the next Coalition government will be like.

First, there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead. Ladies and gentlemen, you know that I am telling the truth. There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead because I understand and I suspect you in the west certainly understand that you don’t clean up our environment by damaging our economy. You do not reduce emissions simply by making every Australians cost of living more expensive. If we want to boost gross national income per person by $5,000 a year by 2050, very easy, very easy to do – based on the government’s own figures, repeal the carbon tax. If we want to boost our cumulative gross domestic product by $1 trillion – by $1 trillion, that’s a thousand billion dollars – by 2050, very easy. Repeal the carbon tax. The government’s own figures show that that will be the impact on our economy and on our personal incomes of repealing the carbon tax. And let me assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that there is no mystery, no magic, no obstacle to repealing the carbon tax. It is a fundamental law of our parliamentary system that what one parliament has done by legislation, another parliament can undo by legislation and on day one of an incoming Coalition I will instruct the public servants to prepare the legislation and on day one of a new parliament, the first act, once the necessary formalities have been concluded will be to introduce the carbon tax repeal legislation.

The second, important respect in which our country will be different and better under the next Coalition government is there will be no mining tax. So these two taxes which impact so disproportionately on a resource rich energy intensive state as this one will be gone. Tax reform in this country begins with repealing the carbon tax and repealing the mining tax. It doesn’t end there but that is the strong beginning to tax reform in this country.

The third clear set of commitments that we stand for that are out there, that are obvious is we will boost participation. We want to see more Australians active in our economy. We know that Australians are smart people, energetic people, we want to have a go and the best way to have a go is to be active in our economy. A stronger economy means more people making a bigger economic contribution and that’s why there will be at last a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme based on what people earn, not on the minimum wage.

The fourth thing we will do is boost productivity and boosting productivity starts with restoring the Australian Building and Construction Commission. This was one of the products of my time as Workplace Relations Minister. It grew out of the Cole Royal Commission. Thanks to the ABCC, we got at least $5 billion a year of productivity improvement in what had previously been and which is again, a very tough industry.

We will address the problems developing in the Fair Work Act. We will act responsibly, carefully, cautiously. We won’t break faith with the decent working people of our country but we will address the flexibility problems, the militancy problems and above all else the productivity problems which are now glaringly obvious in the Fair Work Act but we will do so within the parameters of the existing Act.

The full text of Mr Abbott’s address is available here.

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