Abbott delivers stinging rebuke to the Turnbull Government

Abbott delivers stinging rebuke to the Turnbull Government, by Joe Kelly.

Tony Abbott has delivered a stinging rebuke to the Turnbull Government sharpening his own vision for the country and politics in Australia, promising he is “in no hurry to leave public life because we need strong liberal conservative voices now, more than ever”.

In an address delivered in Brisbane this morning, Mr Abbott urged the conservative faithful to “stay on course and fight the good fight”, and quoted former Prime Minister John Howard in saying “while compromise is necessary in politics, conviction is the foundation of success”.

Tony Abbott

Make Australia work again:

“The next election won’t be won by drawing closer to Labor,” Mr Abbott said. “The next election can only be won by drawing up new battlelines that give our people something to fight for; and the public something to hope for.

“We can’t even look across the Tasman without a twinge of acute embarrassment”.

“We have an abundance of energy -– but the world’s highest power prices; an abundance of land –- and property prices to rival Hong Kong’s; some of the world’s smartest people -– yet with school rankings behind Kazakhstan.”

“We need to make Australia work again –- because our country, plainly, is not working as it should. We are letting ourselves down. We are not what we should be; and we know it. That’s why most of the attempted pep talks sound so hollow.” …

Climate:

Addressing energy policy, Mr Abbott called for a moratorium on new wind-farms, a freeze on the renewable energy target at its current level of 15 per cent and the construction of another “big coal-fired power station.”

“As a party room colleague put it the other day, people who have it all worry about emissions but people doing it tough worry much more about paying their bills,” he said. “It’s the renewable energy target that’s doing the damage because subsidised unreliable and intermittent power is making base load coal and gas power uneconomic”.

Immigration:

Mr Abbott uses the speech to strengthen his call for a slowdown on immigration, arguing it would take “downward pressure off wages and upward pressure off house prices” while complementing the proposed citizenship reforms to encourage greater integration into Australian society.

“It would give harder-to-assimilate recent migrants more time to integrate with the wider Australian community before many more came in,” he added. “It would reassure Australians that our country is in our own hands and is being run in our best interests. It would complement the government’s correct insistence that to become a citizen you must be able to speak the national language.”

Debt:

Mr Abbott also returned to the theme of budget repair, arguing that Australia has a spending problem rather than a revenue problem. He said it is possible to persuade the public to accept hard decisions.

“The best way to get federal spending under control, and to end the intergenerational theft of sustained deficits is to avoid all new spending other than on national security or economic infrastructure,” he says. “It can be done. In two elections 2010, 2013, the Liberal National coalition made big gains promising spending cuts, tax cuts and regulation cuts.”