Tony Abbott’s Foreign Policy Speech To The Heritage Foundation

This is the text of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC.

Abbott attracted criticism from Prime Minister Julia Gillard over his criticism of cuts in defence spending.

Tony Abbott

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  • Listen to Abbott’s speech (25m)

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Julia Gillard

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Text of Tony Abbott’s speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC>

It was the US Information Agency that organised my first trip to America as a member of parliament. I’d just been elected as a Liberal Party MP and had previously been one of the leading opponents of Australia becoming a republic.

Something happened in translation, though, because my US hosts had been told that I was very liberal and strongly anti-republican so I spent most of my fortnight in America being introduced to virtual communists.

Perhaps this was an illustration of the capacity of government agencies to get things wrong, in this country as well as in my own.

In any event, it’s good, finally, to find myself amongst like-minded Americans.

As our former prime minister, John Howard, often pointed out, the Liberal Party is the custodian in Australia of both the classical liberal and the conservative tradition.

The Heritage Foundation’s support for free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values and strong national defence; and its mission to promote freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society closely correspond with the objectives of my own party.

The quest for freedom is the defining characteristic of the story of England but it has arguably been taken to a new pitch on this side of the Atlantic.

In a few pithy lines, Tennyson encapsulated the marriage of liberalism and conservatism in our tradition when he spoke of: “a land of just and old renown where freedom broadens slowly down from precedent to precedent”.

This is the heritage of the Magna Carta, the Provisions of Oxford, and the Glorious Revolution which the minutemen asserted against King George and which this Foundation celebrates. [Read more…]