By Jonathan Isaby
Julia Gillard, who replaced Kevin Rudd as Australia's Labor Prime Minister just three weeks ago, has today called a general election for August 21st.
Jason Groves wrote this informative piece for ConHome as she took office last month, correctly predicting that Gillard would call an election "during her political honeymoon" and explaining why Labor could face defeat at this contest.
The Australian Liberal Leader, Tony Abbott (pictured), has now put out his first official statement – carried in full on his website – setting out the platform on which he will fight the election (NB Coalition Government in his statement refers to the Liberal's Alliance with the small National Party).
There are a number of similarities between many of the key messages which he is putting out and those used by the Conservatives at our general election. He emphasises:
- His desire to end Labor's spin and incompetence
- His intention to tighten the Government's belt
- His belief in devolving power to people and communities
That said, his "respect for the environment" is tempered by an even stronger desire not to damage the economy and his reference to "stopping the boats" indicates a very tough stance on asylum seekers.
Here's Abbott's statement in full:
"This election is about giving a great people a better government. We are a great country but we have been let down by our government at least for the past three years. Australia will be at its best when all of our people are empowered to be at their best. But the only way to change for the better is to change the government.
"Only a Coalition government can end the spin and incompetence that has marked the Rudd Gillard Government and which has just got worse over the past three weeks since Labor’s faceless men executed the elected prime minister. Three weeks ago the government had lost its way but since then its just got worse.
"Why should people trust Labor’s 2010 promises when you couldn’t trust its 2007 promises; why should people trust a new prime minister who said she’d fix the messes her own government had created – failed to do so – and now has rushed to the polls before she’s established her credentials to govern; why should people trust Julia Gillard when even Kevin Rudd couldn’t?
"Why should people trust a government which can’t say who the finance minister, the defence minister or the foreign minister would be if it is re-elected; why should people trust a prime minister who can’t guarantee that she will serve a full term because she can’t guarantee that the factions will let her?
"There is a better way. We’ll stand up for real action. A Coalition government will respect the taxpayers’ dollar. We know that households and businesses have had to tighten their belts. We’ll make government tighten its belt too. A government which is borrowing $100 million every single day is taking away $100 million that would otherwise be available to small business and that’s hurting every family’s budget.
"We will respect people’s judgment too. The government trusts parents enough to help them buy school uniforms but not enough to let them decide the classrooms or halls or canteens that their schools need. We’ll give local communities a real say over the schools and hospitals that they so rely on. We’ll respect the environment because we only have one planet to live on. But you don’t help the environment by damaging the economy. We’ll reduce emissions in ways that help our farmers and establish a standing Green Army, 15,000 strong, to care for our country.
"There is a real risk in this election. It’s that a bad government will get the second chance that it doesn’t deserve and that Australia can’t afford. The election isn’t about glib slogans. It’s about competent government that works for everyday Australians and their families and that’s what the Coalition stands ready to deliver.
"The Prime Minister wants to move forward because the recent past is so littered with her own failures. If we stay with Labor we’ll be moving forward to more spending, more taxes, more debt, and more boats.
That’s why Labor needs to move out for our country to move on.
"We’ll stand up for Australia. We’ll stand up for real action. We’ll end the waste, repay the debt, stop the new taxes and stop the boats."