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Transcript - 24454

Address to the Liberal Party New South Wales division Post-Budget luncheon

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/05/2015

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 24454

Scott, thank you so much for that very warm introduction. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for the warm welcome that you’ve given to me, to my ministerial and parliamentary colleagues, particularly Scott, particularly Mathias and Marise, my ministerial colleagues, to Karen McNamara and to Nick Varvaris who I think are the most marginal seat holders here. They need a special round of applause because it’s people like them who keep us in Government.

Thank you so much for being here to support the best possible government in our country right now.

I regard every one of you as people who are doing your patriotic duty, because when you come to a gathering like this you are helping the Liberal Party to be the best it possibly can be and we could not be a Government, we could not win elections without your support.

So, in being here today you are being, above all else, patriotic Australians. So, thank you so much for what you’re doing.

Now, you’re also here because you’re interested in our country, its future, its prosperity, its economic welfare and I want to remind you of what I said on election night in 2013. I said that this country is now under new management and once more open for business.

We needed to be open for open for business because over the six years of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Government, you've been loaded up with more taxes, more regulations and you knew that you did not have a friend in Canberra – you did not have a friend in Canberra.

But you do now and you have a Government in Canberra which is every day striving to do what we said we would do pre-election: to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia.

That's what we are trying to do every day and it was so necessary because when we took office, our country had been saddled with debt and deficit the like of which we'd never seen.

We'd been saddled with incompetence and chaos in government the like of which we hadn't seen.

Under the former Labor government, debt was skyrocketing towards $667 billion. They'd saddled us with cumulative deficits of $123 billion and it was so different from the inheritance they'd got from the Howard/Costello Government where there was a surplus of $20 billion which was more valuable then than it is now and $50 billion in the bank.

So, we had a terrible inheritance and we have set about setting things right.

That's what we've been doing for the last 18 months or so.

And, you know, we brought in a Budget last year which was tough.

It had to be tough.

We wear some bruises still, but they were bruises that we were prepared to take for the sake of our country, because this is not about political popularity; it's not about my welfare or my success; it's about your success.

That's what being in government is all about: it's about the success of our people and our country.

But the good thing about last year's Budget, as well as getting rid of the carbon tax and getting rid of the mining tax, was that we also got $30 billion worth of savings – even through this not always easy Senate – we got $30 billion worth of savings through and that set up this year's Budget.

Now this year's Budget has some tough decisions in it – no doubt about that – but this year's Budget is able to build on the success that we have already had.

Not only did we bring in a Budget last year that was tough but necessary, we've managed to cut some $2.5 billion out of business red tape costs.

We've been able to move towards a one-stop shop for environmental approvals. You know, $1 trillion worth of new projects have been approved – $1 trillion worth of new projects have gained environmental approval since this Government took office.

We've got some workplace relations changes like the restoration of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, all of which is designed to try to ensure that the creative people of our country are allowed to have a go.

Even before this week's Budget, there were signs of optimism in our economy.

Economic growth is about 25 per cent higher now than it was in 2013 – still got a way to go – but it's about 25 per cent higher now than it was when we took office.

Jobs growth is three times higher now than it was in 2013.

Despite the difficulties in the iron ore market, our exports are up seven per cent, housing approvals are up over 20 per cent, retail sales have been up for the last 10 months.

Confidence is in positive territory.

Things are getting better because we are a great people who like to have a go.

This country was not built on pessimism and despair.

This country was built on optimism and a can-do attitude.

And that's what this year's Budget was designed to foster.

Yes, a Budget for confidence; yes, a budget for middle Australia; yes, a budget for fairness, too, because in the end, it's fair to give the people who are having a go, a fair go.

It is fair to do that.

That's what this Budget is all about.

I want to assure you that this Budget was measured and responsible, as well as being fair – responsible in the sense that we do have a credible path back to surplus.

The deficits going forward are $40 billion lower than they were.

Peak debt is $110 billion lower than it was.

And every year, the deficit shrinks. It shrinks by about a half a percentage point of GDP.

Because you know and we know that government, like business and like families, has to live within its means and a government that does not live within its means is ripping off our children and our grandchildren.

A government that does not live within its means is ultimately engaged in a species of intergenerational theft and we don't want to be that kind of a government because we know that we are not that kind of a country.

But this Budget on Tuesday night wasn't just about tough decisions; it was also about unleashing the creative potential of our people.

At the heart of this year's Budget is a $5.5 billion tax cut for small business.

This is the best Budget in our history for small business because we know that small business is the engine room of our economy.

We know that small business is the place where jobs are created first and fastest and we know, as you do, that every big business started off as a small business.

The more productive and prosperous and profitable small businesses that we have now, the more prosperous and productive and profitable big businesses we will have in the years to come.

So, there's a 1.5 per cent cut in the corporate tax rate for incorporated small businesses.

There's a 5 per cent tax discount for unincorporated small businesses.

Best of all, there is the $20,000 instant asset write-off for all small businesses.

This means that the tradies can go and buy themselves a new ute.

The offices can recarpet themselves.

The restaurants can have new fittings and fit-out.

This is what we want the creative people of our country to go out and do.

People said, "Oh $20,000, you know, what can you do with $20,000?"

Well, I was watching television. I had a few moments off last night and I was watching Downton Abbey and they've dropped the price of a ute to under $20,000 so that the tradies of our country can take advantage of the instant asset write-off.

We also want to make it easier for the families who are striving to get ahead.

Now, I'm sure most of you at some stage of your life have sat down around the family dinner table and you've been looking at your mortgage and you've been looking at your expenses and you've been thinking: we just need to earn more.

It's very hard to earn more without working a little more.

Then you think: how can we do that if we can't get any child care?

Well, we want to change the economics of work for millions of Australians and that's why we've brought down our Jobs for Families package.

If you are a low or middle income family with children in child care on average you will be $1,500 a year better off.

If we change the economics of child care, we change the economics of work, we have a more creative, a more productive society.

Ultimately, we have more fulfilled people because so many of us derive so much of our sense of self from the work we do.

So, this is a Budget which is very much targeted at the people in our country who want to have a go, who want to get ahead, who want to do the right thing by their families, by their neighbours, by their country, by everyone.

The great thing about our way of providing a bit of stimulus is that we haven't said, “oh, we officials siting in Canberra think that we need more spending here or more spending there.”

That's a top-down stimulus – that's a bureaucracy driven stimulus.

But we know that the people with the best sense of where the money will work the hardest, the best sense of where the money will have its most impact, is the people who are spending their money not someone else's money.

So, by incentivising small business to spend its money because it's going to get a much better tax situation as a result, we have empowered the most creative and entrepreneurial people in our society to give our economy stimulus.

That's because we know that in the end, you are the best judges of our economic future.

Yes, there are a lot of smart people in Canberra – very smart people in Canberra – but you are the people who are putting your money at risk.

We know that the best judge of where your money will be most productive is you.

That's why the more money we can leave in your pocket, the better for you and the better for our country.

So, I think this is a Budget that all of us can be pleased with and those who are responsible for it can be proud of it.

It's great to have Scott Morrison here because so many of the initiatives in this Budget are in his area.

It's great to have Mathias Cormann here, because for two budgets running now, Mathias has been running the engine room, effectively, as the Minister for Finance.

It's great to have Marise Payne here because she writes the cheques as the Minister for Human Services and over time we want to ensure that the people who are receiving the cheques have more opportunity to make money as well as to receive money.

And all of my colleagues are part of what really has been a stupendous team effort.

I dare say many of you have heard many budget speeches over the years, and so many of the budget speeches that you hear will be quite dry discourses on policies for this and policy for that.

There's a lot of technical language in them, and inevitably even this year's Budget Speech had a bit of that, but what it also had was heart and soul and passion, because what Treasurer Joe Hockey brought to this year's Budget Speech was a real experience of small business, a real life that had depended on the success of a small family business.

So, when Joe talks about family business succeeding, or family business failing, and the difference that can make to people's lives, he knows it because he's lived it.

And when Joe said that what he was on about was giving a fair go to those who wanted to have a go, he was appealing to the best instincts of our people.

I've often said that there are two things that characterise our country, two things that are heart and soul in our DNA. They are the desire to extend to every Australian a fair go, the best possible deal that we can and the desire to make the most of ourselves and our country, the desire to have a go, and that's what this Budget is all about.

It's about encouraging people to have a go so that everyone will get a fair go, so that our country will be the very best it can be.

Because you all know that over the last few years, there's been this sense that good as we are, we aren't quite what we should be.

You all know that over last few years there's been this sense of national disappointment.

Well, I want that to go.

I want to put that absolutely in the past. I want us to be everything we can be.

I want us to grasp the achievements that are there waiting for us. That's what I want us to do and I am so confident this Budget will help us to do just that.

So thank you, ladies and gentlemen. It is so good to be with you today. So good to be with so many of my fellow Australians, the people who are out there striving every day to do the right thing by their families, by their workmates, by their neighbours.

That's what it's all about – doing the right thing by our country and I'm confident that this year your Government has not let you down.


Transcript - 24454