Abbott Sceptical That Gonski Is “Doable At This Time”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is not convinced that the school funding recommendations of the Gonski report are “doable”.

Addressing the Heads of Independent Schools in Canberra today, Abbott said: “I have to say to you..that while I am strongly supportive of reasonable steps to boost funding in education and while I am deeply desirous of better schools, both independent and state schools, I am deeply sceptical that Gonski is doable at this time, given all the other fiscal demands that state and Commonwealth governments face.”

Tony Abbott

Abbott’s speech on school funding came under attack from Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Question Time. An exchange between the two leaders led to Abbott being kicked out of the House for one hour.

Text of Tony Abbott’s Address to the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and Independent Schools Council of Australia National Forum, Canberra.

I’ve got to say that I have been very lucky as a human being in the education that I have received. Starting off at school – Holy Family Convent, Saint Aloysius’ College, Saint Ignatius’ College and then at Sydney University, Oxford University, and St Patrick’s College, Manly – I have been very personally lucky in those who have educated me.

Next to my father, the person who I believe has had the most influence on my life, so far as least, was one of my teachers, the extraordinary Jesuit, Father Emmet Costello, who may well be known to some of you in this room. I recall as a strapping adolescent in Year 11 joking with the slender scholar in the playground and I said to Father Emmet, ‘you know, Emmet, I’m so strong that I could pick you up and put you in my top pocket’ and the distinguished Jesuit said, ‘yes and if you did that you’d have more brains in your top pocket that you’ve got in your head’. So, I learned early on not to match wits with teachers! [Read more…]

Tony Windsor Attacks Tony Abbott

Tony Windsor, the independent member for New England, has attacked Opposition Leader Tony Abbott during a motion to suspend Standing Orders in Parliament today.

Tony Abbott Speech On Free Speech

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has addressed the Institute of Public Affairs on freedom of speech.

Tony Abbott

Abbott committed a future Coalition government to repeal Section 18(c) of the Racial Discrimination Act, the section that Andrew Bolt was found guilty of breaching in a case brought by nine indigenous people.

Abbott also rejected the recommendations of the Finkelstein report.

The Liberal leader’s speech otherwise tied the question of media freedom to the actions and policies of the Gillard government. He said of the Coalition: “We stand for freedom and will be freedom’s bulwark against the encroachments of an unworthy and dishonourable government.”

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  • Transcript of Tony Abbott’s speech to the Institute of Public Affairs.

    FREEDOM WARS

    Right now, Australians are understandably and necessarily impressed by China, a country which has liberalised its economy without liberalising its polity. Lifting several hundred million people from poverty into the middle class in a single generation certainly is one of the great economic transformations in human history.

    China’s success, though, need not mean that liberal democratic freedoms are merely an optional extra for countries that take nation building seriously. The communications revolution is affecting China no less than everywhere else, despite official misgivings. The blogosphere and tweeting could soon give even China the “question everything” mindset that has been so important to other countries’ creativity and weight in the world.

    Then there’s India which has achieved a scarcely less remarkable economic transformation while largely preserving democracy, the rule of law and comparative freedom of speech. Two decades after Francis Fukuyama jumped the gun to proclaim the end of history and the triumph of liberal democracy, it would be equally presumptuous to conclude that western civilisation’s moment has largely passed. History’s lesson is still that countries are stronger, as well as better, with democratic freedoms than without them. [Read more…]

Abbott Releases Foreign Investment Discussion Paper

The Coalition has released a discussion paper on foreign investment in agricultural land and agribusiness.

Abbott, Truss & Hockey

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said “the Coalition unambiguously welcomes and supports foreign investment”. However, “there is scope to improve Australia’s foreign investment regime when it comes to investment in agricultural land and agricultural business”.

The paper was released by Abbott, Nationals leader Warren Truss and Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey in Sydney today.

The paper is titled: “Foreign Investment In Australian Agricultural Land And Agribusiness”. Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey has been put in charge of managing a “Discussion Paper process”. Submissions to the process are open until October 31, 2012.

Abbott, Truss and Hockey discussed foreign investment at a press conference this morning:

Media release from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on the Foreign Investment Discussion Paper.

The Coalition unambiguously welcomes and supports foreign investment.

Foreign investment has been and will continue to be instrumental to the economic development and growth of Australia.

We support a foreign investment regime that strengthens our economy, promotes growth, and fosters confidence that foreign investment is in our national interest. [Read more…]

Tony Abbott’s China Speech: Working Harder On A Complex Relationship

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott has delivered a keynote foreign policy address on the China relationship.

Speaking in China, Abbott said: “It will take time and much further evolution for our friendship with China to approach the warmth that we take for granted with America. But it is worth the effort and it must be made.”

Of Australia’s developing relationship with China, compared to more established relations with Japan and the United States, Abbott said: “Prime Minister John Howard understood that you could make a new friend without losing an old one.”

Abbott advocated political and legal reforms in China: “In the long term, China should prosper even more if its people enjoyed freedom under the law and the right to choose a government, despite the difficulty of managing this transition in a country with a tumultuous history.”

Abbott addresssed AustCham Beijing, the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce.

Text of Tony Abbott’s address to AustCham Beijing, China.

WORKING HARDER ON A COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP

In just over 30 years, hundreds of millions of Chinese have entered the middle class acquiring TVs, motor cars, extensive wardrobes, and air-conditioned homes.

They have become better educated, more thoroughly informed and more widely travelled.

For the first time since 1949, Chinese people can more-or-less decide how they work and where they live, even outside the country, although they still can’t choose their government.

It’s been a great watershed in human development as well as one of the most remarkable economic transformations in human history. [Read more…]

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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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…]

Tony Abbott: The Coalition’s Plan For Stronger Communities

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has delivered his fifth Landmark speech.

Tony AbbottAddressing the Pratt Foundation in Melbourne, Abbott’s speech on “stronger communities” committed an incoming Liberal National government to “renew reconciliation by adopting more imaginative ways to include Aboriginal people in the mainstream economy.”

Abbott also said a coalition government will “restructure an element of the Council of Australian Governments to deliver more seamless law enforcement given that criminals don’t respect state or national borders.”

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Transcript of Tony Abbott’s Landmark Speech to the Pratt Foundation.

THE COALITION’S PLAN FOR STRONGER COMMUNITIES

John Howard was onto something when he said that he wanted Australians to feel more “relaxed and comfortable” about our country. People naturally seek the reassurance that their job is safe, their doctor is available, their children go to a good school, their neighbourhood is friendly, and their country is secure.

As a Liberal, the former prime minister readily appreciated that the more people can personally participate in the things that matter to them, the more likely they are to have a well developed sense of belonging to strong and cohesive communities.

As John Howard saw it, a big part of his mission was to end the confused sense of self that afflicted Australia at the end of the Keating era, exacerbated by the then prime minister’s insistence that we couldn’t be a real country unless we changed our symbols and repudiated much of our history.

These days, there’s an even deeper sense of public unease about where we’re headed, only the uncertainty is more economic than cultural. The Rudd/Gillard government is less than five years old yet its incompetence and untrustworthiness has engendered a profound sense of disappointment even amongst people who normally vote Labor. [Read more…]

Reserve Bank Cuts Cash Rate By 0.25%

The Reserve Bank has cut the cash by another 0.25%.

The reduction follows the 0.5% cut last month. The cash rate is now 3.50%.

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  • Table of interest rate changes since 1990

Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision

At its meeting today, the Board decided to lower the cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.50 per cent, effective 6 June 2012.

Growth in the world economy picked up in the early months of 2012, having slowed in the second half of 2011. But more recent indicators suggest further weakening in Europe and some further moderation in growth in China. Conditions in other parts of Asia have largely recovered from the effects of last year’s natural disasters, but the ongoing trend is unclear and could be dampened by slower Chinese growth. The United States continues to grow at a moderate pace. Commodity prices have declined lately, though they are mostly still high. Australia’s terms of trade similarly peaked about six months ago, though they remain historically high.

Financial market sentiment has deteriorated over the past month. The Board has noted previously that Europe would remain a potential source of adverse shocks. Europe’s economic and financial prospects have again been clouded by weakening growth, heightened political uncertainty and concerns about fiscal sustainability and the strength of some banks. Capital markets remain open to corporations and well-rated banks, but spreads have increased. Long-term interest rates faced by highly rated sovereigns, including Australia, have fallen to exceptionally low levels. Share markets have declined. [Read more…]

Gillard And Abbott Light Royal Jubilee Beacon

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott both paid tribute to the Queen’s 60-year reign at the lighting of a beacon in Canberra tonight.

The beacon is one of 4200 being lit around the world’s Commonwealth nations ahead of a weekend of celebrations in Britain of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

    Julia Gillard

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  • Tony Abbott

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Abbott: This Is An Important Week

This is an important week, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says.

Tony AbbottAbbott’s comment comes as Federal Parliament met today amidst continuing speculation about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s leadership.

Gillard’s political judgement is in question again over her handling of the controversy over foreign workers for the mining industry. Gillard told unions she was kept in the dark about the decision to allow Gina Hancock to import 1700 workers. The decision was announced by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen on Friday. Other government sources claim Gillard was aware of the impending announcement.

After last week’s aggressive preoccupation with Craig Thomson, today’s Question Time in the House of Representatives was subdued. The Opposition did not move to suspend Standing Orders as they often do during Question Time.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott held a Cabinet meeting and posted this statement late today.

Transcript of Tony Abbott’s remarks to the Shadow Cabinet meeting in Canberra.

This is an important week. I think that it’s more and more obvious that this is a divided and dysfunctional government.

It’s also obvious that the faceless men are gathering around the Prime Minister. Now, we all know that the Labor Party is run by faceless men. We all know that the faceless men essentially decide who the Labor Party is, but it’s really up to the Australian people rather than the faceless men who should decide who should be the Prime Minister of this country. [Read more…]