11 August 2018
SPEECH AT THE WESTERN AUSTRALIA LIBERAL STATE CONFERENCE
JULIE BISHOP: My parliamentary colleagues, State and Federal, the Federal President, State President Norman Moore – thank you for your service to our great Party – to the members and delegates and friends of the Liberal Party.
Ours is the strongest political movement in Australia’s history for we have been elected to govern for the majority of the decades since our party was founded almost three quarters of a century ago. That is because our values, backed by our policies, offer the greatest hope for the greatest number of people across Australia.
We believe in the power of the individual. We believe that people should be free to get on with their lives, with less government interference and not more. We believe in the enterprise of the small and medium businesses in this country, the backbone of our economy, those people who take risks, who build businesses, they are often family owned, and who create wealth and opportunities for other Australians. We believe that government’s role is to manage the economy in such a way that we can afford the essential services, but we live within our means and we believe that the government’s role is to put national security as a priority and manage our borders to retain our sovereignty. Economic security and national security, they are the responsibilities of a national government.
We back business. We support the businesses that drive economic growth and provide job opportunities. Here in this state and indeed across the nation, we are leading exporters of minerals and resources, energy, agriculture, but also health and education, tourism, services. We are competing on a global stage and that is why businesses have to be competitive internationally.
We are an open export-oriented market economy. Our standard of living depends upon our ability to sell our goods and services around the world. You don’t get rich selling to yourself. We are the 13th largest economy in the world, 53rd largest in terms of population. We have to sell our goods and services around the world and that is why the Coalition Government is focused on making our businesses competitive – Free Trade Agreements, new markets, new opportunities in China, Japan, Korea, the Trans Pacific Partnership, 11 nations with a high quality trade agreement giving our exporters access to new and enhanced markets.
It is why we have provided tax relief for small and medium businesses with turnovers of up to $50 million. It is why we are focusing on costs like electricity to ensure our businesses can be competitive. It is why we have got an instant tax write-off for asset purchases up to $20,000 and it is why we have come up with the plan to fix the GST so that Western Australia can continue to drive the economic growth in this country.
There is a pattern to the ebbs and flows of politics in Australia and it goes like this: the Coalition Government provides national leadership on economic investment and national security. The Labor Party spends wildly, recklessly. They trash budgets; they drive us into debt and deficit. They weaken our border protection and national security. They create chaos and mess and we are called in to clean it up. And we do and then Labor says it has all been a horrible mistake, they beg for forgiveness, it won’t happen again, we’ve learned our lessons, we are just like the Coalition on economic management and border security. And it starts all over again.
When we came into Government in 2013 we inherited a massive financial mess. Debt and deficit as far as the eye could see. We were told it would be decades before we could get back into surplus. The trajectory of debt was huge, unsustainable. Within six years, 2013 to 2019, the Coalition Government will have us back in surplus. Within six years.
So take Labor’s six years in office, the spectacular Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. You might recall, when they came into office they inherited from the Coalition, and this comes as no surprise to anyone in the room, a $20 billion budget surplus, zero net debt, tens of billions of dollars in savings and within 12 months of taking office Labor had trashed the Budget – within 12 months.
It was the fastest and deepest decent into debt and deficit since the Second World War yet Labor shamelessly claimed that they delivered a surplus. They have not delivered a surplus, in fact, the last time Labor delivered a Federal Budget surplus, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Maggie Thatcher was in Downing Street, Bob Hawke was in the Lodge and the Berlin Wall was still standing. The last time federal Labor delivered a Budget surplus was 1989.
And we ask ourselves, what do they spend the money on? Well, don’t you remember the rorted School Halls program? The deadly pink batts scheme? The $900 cheque giveaways even to dead people? Labor trashed our Budget. This wasn’t just political lunacy this had real implications across the country.
Did you know that Labor had to so savagely cut our Defence Budget that not one new naval vessel was commissioned during its entire time in Government? Not one new naval vessel and that put at risk thousands of jobs in naval shipyards across the country. It put at risk thousands of jobs in the supply chains. The Coalition is fixing this. We have increased our defence spending. It will reach two per cent of GDP. We have created a significant defence industry program with a record level of spending on defence acquisition. This is creating thousands of jobs across the country, including here in Western Australia, as well as defending our nation and promoting our security.
Remember the NBN? Billions of dollars in taxpayer funding and Kevin Rudd came up with a plan on the back of a drinks coaster. By the time Labor left office it was a monumental failure and work had collapsed. What we have done is fix the mess. The NBN is now connecting as many homes and businesses in every two week period that Labor connected in its entire six years in office. Now, think about that. In six years, Labor connected 50,000 homes and businesses – that is it, full stop. We are connecting 50,000 every two weeks. That is the difference between the Coalition that gets on with it and Labor that creates messes.
We have seen this movie, over and over again. You just hit the reset button, same old Labor. They talk big, they make promises and they don’t deliver. You know, snake oil sales do very nicely under Labor. Their latest, current chief salesman is possibly the worst we’ve seen. Let me tell you a couple of things about Bill Shorten. He is anti-business. He is ideologically opposed to business success. He is opposed to people who drive the economic wealth and wellbeing in this country.
Secondly, he’s perfecting the art of the grievance. He invents a crisis, he makes it up and then he blames the Coalition for the fake crisis and then he promises that he – and only he – can fix it. Take his health scare campaigns. He claims we are selling Medicare – not true. He claims we are reducing funding for public hospitals – not true. The facts are, we have increased funding for public hospitals. There are record rates of GP bulk billing under the Coalition. We have listed 1,500 drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – 1,500 lifesaving drugs. Under Labor they had run out of money and had stopped listing drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Think about that. The last 12 months in government they stopped listing lifesaving drugs on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. That is a shameful record and we have listed 1500 lifesaving drugs.
There are more massive frauds and take this one – it is a doozey – penalty rates. Labor claims the Coalition has cut penalty rates. Not true.
Fact: in his day job as union boss, I think he still holds it, Bill Shorten traded away the penalty rates of retail and hospitality workers in exchange for donations into union slush funds.
Fact: in 2010 Labor cut penalty rates under its so-called Award Modernisation program.
Fact: Bill Shorten is personally responsible for putting into law the requirement that penalty rates be reviewed by the Fair Work Commission.
Fact: Bill Shorten personally appointed the President of the Fair Work Commission who was to review penalty rates and he made the decision on Sunday penalty rates.
Fact: union bosses have already negotiated away virtually all of the penalty rates from the biggest employers, the multinationals like McDonalds, and what the Fair Work Commission was seeking to do was to create a level playing field for Sunday penalty rates for small businesses like local coffee shops.
Yet Bill Shorten is running a dishonest scare campaign.
I believe Labor’s greatest policy failure, possibly their biggest policy failure in a generation – and believe me there is a list so I’m not making this statement lightly – Labor’s greatest policy failure was when they weakened the Howard’s Governments border protection laws and invigorated the people smuggling trade.
We came into office in 2013 and we have revived the Howard Government laws, in fact we have strengthened them after Labor’s shameful, appalling record of 50,000 boat arrivals in 800 boats, care of the people smuggling trade. 1,200 people – that we know of – died at sea. There were around 2,000 children in detention. They opened up Manus and Nauru and detention centres across Australia – a catastrophic policy failure.
There has not been one successful people smuggling venture under the Coalition since 2014. We have taken children out of detention. We have closed 17 detention centres across Australia and we are dealing with the people left on Manus and Nauru by Labor, working with other countries to clear the shameful record of the Labor Government.
And where were the activists when Labor created this catastrophe?
Sure, Bill Shorten says: “Oh, we’ve learned our lessons, we are at one with the Coalition on border protection”. No they are not. We’ve heard that before. We are not going to fall for it again, Bill. Already the voices within Labor are whispering ‘weaken the laws, bring back the Rudd-Gillard laws’. That would be a disaster. Under Labor you will see the people smugglers, the criminal networks, back in business and our state would be adversely affected.
Liberals, ladies and gentlemen, the Turnbull Government is providing the policy leadership to keep our economy strong, our borders safe and our nation secure. We are managing the Budget so that we can offer record funding in health, in education and defence. We are getting the Budget back into surplus. We are living within our means. We are providing tax relief. We are creating the environment where business can thrive and since the Coalition came into Government, 1 million new jobs have been created in this country and currently 1,000 new jobs a day are being created. That is because Australians have confidence in their Federal Government and the leader of our Government, Malcolm Turnbull, is the only leader in this country who had the courage and the skill to come up with a plan to fix the GST. Malcolm Turnbull has ensured that our state will get a fair go. Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister for our time, please stand and give Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia, a Western Australian welcome.
– Ends –