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Transcript 40025

Address to NSW Liberal Party State Council

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 10/10/2015

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 40025

Thank you for your very much Philip and thank you fellow Liberals for your very warm welcome. It is wonderful to be here among you today.

Before I say anything else, may I add to the acknowledgement and the thanks and the honour to Tony Abbott.

All of us serve the Liberal Party. We serve the values of the Liberal Party. We endeavour to take those values, turn them into policies to win Government and hold Government.  In doing so, we do that with no other object in mind than the advancement of Australia. Tony Abbott has held firm to those Liberal values throughout his career in public life. He held true to them as Opposition Leader, he held true to them as Prime Minister. He took us out of the wilderness of Opposition and took us back in to Government and achieved great things, great reforms, great commitments. He has helped build the future of our economy; he has helped ensure the prosperity of our children and our grandchildren. I say to you as his successor, all of us owe him an enormous debt.

Turning to my good friend, our good friend, Mike Baird the Premier. Mike is leading a remarkable Government here in NSW. NSW under those 16 desperate dark years of Labor misruled, and worse, do nothing and worse, we were falling behind.  Now right now, here and now, our Australian economy our nation has the driving force, the engine room, genuinely the fastest part of our economy is here in NSW.  It is in large part due in large part to the confidence the leadership, the vision of Premier Mike Baird and his team here in NSW.

Mike and I have spent a lot of time in recent weeks and I look forward to working closely with your as Premier, with your team, Gladys the Treasurer, with all the rest of our team to deliver the great outcomes we all seek for the people of NSW and indeed Australia.

Can I acknowledge my other Parliamentary colleagues, State and Federal – and, in particular, two of my Federal Cabinet colleagues with very significant new responsibilities.

Firstly, the former NSW State Director and now Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia, Scott Morrison.

And I do not believe he is here at the moment, but I should also acknowledge, we should all acknowledge, the formidable contribution as the former Treasurer and in various other roles the Member for North Sydney who has announced his forth coming retirement from politics, Joe Hockey.

I also note and acknowledge Senator Marise Payne, Australia's first ever female Defence Minister. That is a big statement. I'll have a little bit more to say about the representation of women in politics in the Liberal Party in these remarks. Words are great, but deeds, actions, are so much more emphatic. What a great symbol. What a great sign to every young women thinking of entering politics, to every young woman who wants to serve, or is serving, in our armed forces to be able to see there is a woman as the Defence Minister and she was appointed in a Liberal National Government.

My friends we are without any question living in the most exciting, disruptive time in human history. The rate of economic growth in the world today is utterly without precedent. During the lifetimes of most people in this room, in less than 40 years, China alone has gone from being barely part of the global economy, to becoming arguably the word's single-largest economy. If it isn't the largest today, it won't be very long until it is. The opportunities that are opening up around the world of globalisation super-powered by the internet and technology are without precedent.
If you look at the big technology companies that are transforming the way we live, if they were humans most of them would still be at school, some of them would still be in primary school. The old ones, the venerable ones, Microsoft 40 years old, Apple 39 years old. The pace of this transformation is without precedent. This offers enormous opportunities for Australia. We have a highly educated, naturally innovative nation. We are not differential, we are happy to try new things. We are smart. We are a big multicultural nation.  There is no nation in the world that is as diverse as us. There is no comparable developed nation in the world without such a high percentage of the population born beyond its shores from so many different parts of the world. 
No Australian could look in the mirror and say Australians look like me. We look like every race, every ethnic group, every cultural group in the world. We do so with great harmony. I'll come to that again in another sad context.
There is no country better able to take on the world and its opportunities than Australia. We have during the time of the Abbott Government and finalised under my Government, but with the hard work I have to say put in by the Abbott Government, and particularly by Andrew Robb, we have now concluded the largest single multilateral trade deal for many decades.
That comes on top of a free trade agreement with Korea, with Japan and of course with China. You see the Labor Party frightened of the future, terrified of the challenge, endeavouring to frighten Australians back or into poverty - righten them out of prosperity into poverty. You see those appalling campaigns run by the CFMEU, which if you read in the paper, Mr Shorten doesn't entirely agree with, so we read in the paper, he has yet to disown them publicly - until he does he just a cork bobbing along in the slipstream of the CFEMU.

I want to pay tribute to the work of Andrew Robb. Andrew as a Trade Minister has presided over very these huge agreements. They are very tough negotiations. Negotiating with economies much larger than our own. Through the process, finalised in Atlanta only a few days ago, in the final week and days of negotiation, negotiations that went on for two extra days because Australia took a very strong and steadfast position. We held steadfastly and consistently to our position on issues such as safeguarding the cost and availability of new medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Under the TPP none of our laws or regulations relating to pharmaceuticals, relating to biologics will change. Andrew Robb and Australia held firm. We got the right outcome for trade and we got a fair outcome for Australians.

Now, my friends, we have been dealing with terrorism and its consequences now for a very long time. For a long time, terrorism seemed to be something that came from overseas, but it has become apparent – all too apparent – both here and in other countries, that terrorism, violent extremism, can emerge from among our own citizens, from our own people, from families, from neighbours, we have seen that. And we saw the latest consequence of that with the appalling brutal murder of Curtis Cheng, the police accountant, beloved father and husband in Parramatta only a week ago – doubly appalling because he was murdered by a 15-year-old boy.

A reminder, I should note, of what we owe our police and security services. We should never forget that our democracy – remarkable as it is – depends on many things, depends on political parties, depends on parliaments, depends on laws, it depends on judges, it depends on our armed forces, but it depends on the rule of law and the rule of law is maintained by our police, and every day, every day, they are in harm's way, whether they are a sworn officer or, like Curtis Cheng, an employee, an accountant, of the police service. We should never forget the sacrifice, the risk, the courage of the police and I think we should acknowledge that here today.

As a reminder of the great ties that bind us with our closest allies, only two nights ago I was discussing this issue, this case, and the challenge of dealing with this type of terrorism, this type of violent extremism, with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron. And in what says a lot about David Cameron, and a lot about the bonds between our nation and the UK, the first thing David Cameron said was to pass on his condolences on the death of Curtis Cheng and I passed them on in turn, as he requested, to Curtis' family the next morning.

Now, in recent days I have been working very closely with the Premier, Mike Baird, on this issue and you may note a synchronicity in our public remarks. Mike and I are determined that everything we say, everything we do, is calculated to make all of us safer. We are determined to be utterly resolute – utterly resolute – robust and unrelenting, in our response to violent extremism.

This is a challenge we will meet and beat. It is not easy. It is complex. It is evolving, we have to be agile, but we will do it and believe me, we are taking the closest advice from our security services, from our police. We are engaging with communities and, in particular, as you have seen, we are talking and listening and consulting with the Muslim community.

Let me make this very clear point: the Muslim community is appalled by this type of violent extremism. It is a horror for them as it is for the wider community. They are our absolutely indispensable necessary partners in the battle against violent extremism and that is why it has been so encouraging, so building in confidence to see leading figures in the Muslim community speaking up against this type of extremism, because we talk about terrorism, terrorism is violence, motivated by a political objective – that's the definition. We talk about violent extremism. But, let me say to you, every act of violent extremism begins with people who preach hatred, with people who preach intolerance, with people who preach disrespect of other groups in our community.

Now, I said earlier we are the most successful multicultural society in the world. That has not happened by accident. It has been because of the work of thousands, if not millions, of Australians over many years. It has been because of the work of great leaders - none greater in this respect than Philip Ruddock, who was the most remarkable minister for immigration.And because of his combination of wisdom, compassion, he was able, as minister for immigration, to help shape the great nation we are today, and we should acknowledge Philip as well.

But the fundamental building block of our great society, of the great remarkable unique Australian project is mutual respect. That is a golden rule, a golden rule of morality in every religion, in every ethical doctrine – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Who can argue with that? Mutual respect is a two-way street and it is something that we are entitled to demand from every parent, from every teacher, from every leader, from everybody in our community, from every boss, from every worker, we have to recognise that our great nation depends – its success, its security, its prosperity – depends on that wonderful uniquely moral value, so important to Australians, of mutual respect.

So, we acknowledge the right of each individual to observe his or her faith, to be true to their own conscience, to express freely their own beliefs, provided they do no harm to others and provided that they do not preach hatred against others. Too often we take this as a given. Too often these important values go unstated. We must state them again and again, and where we see those preaching hatred, those people who deny their commitment to mutual respect, we should call them out for what they are – they are undermining our nation, they are letting us down, and they are prejudicing our security and our prosperity. Mutual respect – that is the foundation of our great Australian society.

Now, let me turn to our party – the Liberal Party. We are Australia's largest grassroots political organisation. The Labor Party, if it was ever a grassroots organisation, ceased to be a long time ago. We are famously a very broad church, capturing a wide diversity of backgrounds and experience.

In our party in Canberra, in our Party Room in Canberra, we have a great representation of men and women drawn from every imaginable occupation. From farmers, to soldiers, to policemen, to people in small business, people from big business, every occupation, every profession. We are not run by factions, we are not run by – well, you may dispute that, but I have to tell you, from experience, we are not run by factions, nor are we run by big business, or by deals in back rooms.

We rely on the ideas and the energy and enterprise of our membership and without those committed and passionate individuals from every walk of life our party could not long survive. And one of the greatest strengths of our party is the capacity to accommodate different traditions, to acknowledge and embrace the contest of ideas, where people of goodwill can engage in robust, even vigorous, discourse, over differing opinions genuinely held.

Now, that's how our party operates. Our opponents in the Labor Party are completely different. As I said, we have a very diverse membership in our parliamentary party. The Labor Party's membership is entirely made up of political apparatchiks – almost all of them former officials of trade unions having gone straight into officialdom from university or former political staffers. Now, we have many political professionals in our ranks, too, but it is not universally the case and you see the consequence of that with the last Labor government, where they had a Cabinet that did not have one person who had ever been in business – not one – and the inevitable consequence of that was one catastrophic mistake after another.

Now, as many of you know, and as we've heard just a few moments ago, the Federal Vice-President Rosemary Craddock is preparing a report to the Federal Executive on making our party more representative. Senator Michaelia Cash in her capacity as Minister for Women and Senator Linda Reynolds, a former assistant national director of the party, will support Rosemary in the preparation of this essential report.

Now, it is well understood in the business community, indeed in the armed forces, as I mentioned earlier, that again gender diversity enhances capability. Women are 50 per cent of our community, 50 per cent of the talent, 50 per cent of the brains, 50 per cent of every capacity and they should be represented in every walk of life, in every position of influence, every centre of power. It improves performance, it helps to better manage risk.

These issues have long been advocated by the Liberal Party's Women's Council and were highlighted in the recent report from the MRC on gender and politics. If our goal is to have a modern representative, thriving political party, capable of attracting new members, capable of governing well and capable of winning elections, then we must embrace the opportunity for reform that is before us.

The Liberal Party is a federation of organisations and lifting female representation has to be led by state divisions, and delivered by men and women across our party. Lifting women's representation will not happen simply because we want it to, it will happen because each of us contribute to achieving that outcome.

I'm proud that there are now five women in our Federal Cabinet. I'm proud – as I said earlier – that Marise Payne is the first woman to be Minister for Defence and I just should note that Marise has been a party member since 1982, a Senator since 1997 and I believe that her appointment and the appointment of the other leading women to the Cabinet and to the Ministry, will inspire the ambitions of many other young women who now see politics as part of their future careers.

Now, we should never be afraid of testing new models for how we can make ourselves for accountable to our members, to ensure all the many thousands of Australians who work diligently and devotedly to serve our party, have a strong sense of relevance and belonging. It seems to me that the proposal to trial plebiscites for pre-selections in six seats in New South Wales is a good formula to test a new approach to the process of choosing our candidates.

If it is judged ultimately to be the way of the future, it will be a judgment reached on the basis of direct practical experience. That is a very common sense Liberal way of doing things. As John Howard said so astutely in his constant reminder that we must be pragmatic and we must be united. The key in all of this is to remember first and foremost that the principles that bind us as Liberals are more important than policies or agendas where we might differ.

Let me conclude, my friends, with reminding us all of this important point. I talked about Liberal values earlier in my remarks, and I talked of the way Tony Abbott upheld them as leader and I will seek to uphold them as his successor. We do live in exciting times. We do live in times of great opportunity. We live in times where the fearful will try to make others as a feared as them and that is what you will hear from Bill Shorten. But we are a confident, competent nation. To succeed, to remain a high-wage, generous social welfare net, first-world economy we must be more so, we must be more agile, we must be more innovative, we must be more productive and my Government will seek to ensure that the nation is able to do all of those things.

That is our agenda. That is our commitment. Our goal is to ensure and enhance our prosperity. And you know the values of our party are the values of these times, because what we need today is initiative, we need agility and that means freedom and we, above all, boil down to our political DNA, are a party of freedom, we are a party of enterprise.

My friends, the values of the Liberal Party are for all time but, above all, they are for these times.

Thank you very much.

Ends

Transcript 40025