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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 12311


Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/11/2001

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 12311


Thank you very much. Thank you for that very wonderful welcome. First of all can I congratulate all of you who have been re-elected and that of course means most of you in this room. There are a few continuing Senators. But can I say to all of you I know and understand just how hard fought it has been and in a few moments after the cameras have left us and we';ve dealt with a few other formalities I want to welcome to the Party Room the people who are coming here for the first time.

But we are entitled as a party, as the great Liberal Party of Australia formed in 1944 by Robert Gordon Menzies, and now clearly the most successful political party since the federation of Australia. We are entitled to savour for a moment but only for a moment the victory that we won on the 10th of November. It was a victory let it be said against the odds. We were, to use that great Australian aphorism, we were gone for all money seven or eight months ago. There';s no doubt about that. And our opponents were already selecting their staff and they were allocating the Ministerial….. their rooms, they were. They were selecting their staff and we know that. And they were allocating the ministers. And we did stage a great recovery and in so many ways different people played a part in that.

But having savoured that victory just for a moment we then have to get on with the job. The Australia public has reminded people in my position, in our position time and time again that if we have attacks of hubris or get carried away, we';re quickly brought down to Earth. They';ve done that before to others and they';ll do that to us again. And that is a warning many of you will remember I gave when we had a similar gathering such as this in 1996.

But we shouldn';t underestimate what';s been achieved. To have gone to the1998 election on tax reform and to have undertaken the herculean task of implementing that. I mean we shouldn';t forget it. It';s sort of slipping now into history because it';s been done. But it was done against the odds. Everybody said you were crazy to go in 1998 with tax reform as a policy and then others said having won in 1998 well they';ll lose in 2001. And there are a few journalists who wrote that and there are a few of our critics who wrote that and we all remember it.

But we do have, now that we have won, we do face as I said on election night because of the world economic situation so sadly exacerbated by what happened on the 11th of September, we do face a very difficult international economic climate. Peter at lunchtime today is going off to a very important IMF meeting in Ottawa to be attended by Alan Greenspan and all the other major central bankers and his equivalents in the industrialised world. So we are living in a difficult economic climate and also in some respects there';ll be other challenges on the international scene and particularly in our own region. So the Australian public will want us to get down to work and to get down to work immediately.

I think it is also very important that we remember that the genesis of our success at the last election was our determination at the previous election to pursue a reform agenda. And it would be a terrible mistake if in this term we thought everything had been accomplished and no more reform were necessary because there will always be a need to have an activist reform agenda. It will change, it will differ according to the political clime, but it will always be there. Good government is a combination of getting the right synthesis between reforming and changing those things that need change and reform, but defending and preserving those other things in our society that provide Australians with a sense of continuity and a sense of cohesion and a sense of stability. And getting that synthesis right is one of the reasons why we';re still here and the Labor Party is somewhere else and we';ve got to continue to do that.

Finally can I thank all of you again. Can I thank particularly Peter Costello as Deputy Leader of the party. And I also want to thank the other members of the leadership group – Robert Hill and Richard Alston. And can I send a special thank you to Lynton Crosby, the Federal Director. I couldn';t have had better cooperation between my office and the federal organisation than I received. I would also like to record my gratitude to Arthur and Tony in my office – Arthur Sinodinos and Tony Nutt, and Tony O';Leary and others in the Press Office, and all of my staff. But it';s been a great team effort for the Liberal Party this. The Liberal Party has had a very good election and the main reason the Liberal Party had a good election if I may say so is that we';ve had outstanding candidates. And of course none of you would argue with that, with that proposition. But it has made a great difference.

But finally, and then I';ll ask the ladies and gentlemen of the media to leave us, can I just again say on your behalf to all of the people of Australia it';s an incredible honour and incredible privilege and a great trust that';s been given to us for a third time. We must not let the Australian people down, we will not let the Australian people down. We will govern well and face them boldly and with confidence in three years time. Thank you.


Transcript 12311