Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 14, 2012

Saturday, 14 January 2012 – Liberals speaking out to their faithful!

A slow start top this Saturday morning –  most of which was spent down in the township, for a bit of banking and shopping, after I had collected my eldest son [and ‘my’ now damaged lawnmower] and drove him to the railway station   – it seems her has suddenly found his car unregistered due to non-payment of various fees, etc!!  He never seems to learn that lad, responsibility, in many areas,. Doesn’t seem to be his strongest point.  Stress of exams, etc, in November meant he overlooked a few ‘equally important’ matters. Anyway, seems he is without a car, until outstanding monies are paid!! That hasn’t stopped him spending a weekend in a hotel in the city!!

Meanwhile son number two was playing cricket over at Romsey, one of our neighbouring towns. I didn’t go and watch Adam  play today, mores the pity.  His team, which scored 3 for 190, of which scored a credible 56 runs, were apparently beaten by the opposition in the final over of the one day match!!

As for the girls, on their little beach road-trip excursion, I did finally hear from them today  –  they were trying to find some sunshine down at the beach at the Wilsons Promontory National Park.  It must be close to 40 years, since I visited Wilsons Promontory, either in a personal capacity, with friends, or on duty, as a member of the National Parks Service in the mid 1970s.  Affectionately known as “the prom”, Wilsons Promontory National Park lies at the southernmost tip of the Australian mainland. It is arguably the most popular park in Victoria (approximately 2 hours from Melbourne), and it is here that you get the best of everything this diverse state has to offer in one concentrated place: ocean beaches [where presumably Susan and Jodie are spending the day], rain forest, fern gullies, mountains, and a host of wildlife at your fingertips. They had intended to stay down there for the four or five days zaway, but discovered at the last minute that you will need to book cabins and campsites well in advance during the busy summer months [which I think I had suggested at one stage]. Maybe they got lucky, and found a spot they were able to camp [their trip was a camping one with Susie’s ‘two man’ tent].  The area has a bevy of both day hikes and overnight back country trips through this unspoiled paradise. Tidal River (30kms into the park) is the main hub with a number of lodges and serviced camping areas [I have stayed in the lodges, when working there], general store, information center, outdoor cinema, and other facilities, and as would be expected, is highly popular with bushwalkers and campers.  The Park covers the southern portion of Wilsons Promontory, a peninsula containing South Point, the southernmost point on the Australian mainland. A lighthouse on the south-east corner of the peninsula is the southern-most lighthouse on mainland Australia and has operated continuously since 1859.  A large section of the park was burnt out in April 2005 by a bushfire caused by a controlled burn that breached containment lines because of warmer and windier conditions than were forecast for that day, causing the evacuation of six-hundred people.  I have a poem somewhere, which I wrote from the top of one of the range mountain tops in the Park area, when on a private visit one year, in fact from the summit of Mt Oberon, as referred to in the picture, which [hopefully] appears below.

Tidal River as viewed from the summit of Mount Oberon

Meanwhile, as a sometime supporter of the Liberal Party here in Australia, I’ve been sent a copy of a speech made today by  Brian Loughnane  Federal Director, Liberal Party of Australia   at the Young Liberal Movement National Convention [held in Sydney, this Saturday 14th January 2012].  While it’s obviously a one-sided view of the Federal political situation here in Australia at present, and I don’t necessarily agree with all the sentiments and/or tone of the comments in all areas, I’ve decided to make it the central focus of today’s blog contribution.

The speaker, Brian Loughnane: –   “I’m delighted to again have the opportunity to speak to the leaders of the Young Liberal Movement from around Australia.

The Young Liberals are an important part of our Party and as Federal Director I appreciate the support and assistance you give our candidates. I look forward to again working closely with you in the coming months as we prepare the campaign to support Tony Abbott and the Coalition team in the lead up to what will be the most important election in the recent history of our country.

Today, I would like to discuss with you the current political situation in Australia and in particular to deal directly with the campaign we can expect from the Labor Party.  Australian politics is particularly volatile and uncertain at the moment. Julia Gillard is the weakest Prime Minister in recent history and has no agenda, other than her own survival. She leads a divided party and is hostage to events. Her short-term interests are at odds with the long-term interests of the Labor Party. It is not certain the Government will see out its full term. To the extent her Government has any direction it is set by the Greens, the Independents and assorted other minority groups.  Because Labor has no direction, no leadership and no policy, the country is drifting and ordinary Australians are paying an unnecessarily high price for their continuous bungling, incompetence, division, poor decisions and broken promises.

Julia Gillard has been central to all these problems for the whole four years since Labor was elected:

    • – The broken promise on the carbon tax;
    • – The mining tax;
    • – The blown surplus, four record deficits and historic debt;
    • – The East Timor/Malaysia non solution, and the collapse of border security;
    • – School halls;
    • – Roof bats;
    • – NBN;
    • – Live cattle;
    • – The faceless men, bungled reshuffles; and
    • – Of course, Kevin, and the dysfunction paralyzing the government at the most senior levels.

In this situation the Coalition carries great responsibility. We are holding the Government to account and providing a strong, viable alternative – exactly what a good Opposition should be doing. The Coalition’s policies provide a better way which will get Australia back on track and restore hope, reward and opportunity for all Australians.  Because of its many weaknesses, incompetent leadership and inability to deliver good government, Labor is falling back on some predictable political tactics. All Australians concerned about the future direction of our country need to be aware of what they are trying to do. Julia Gillard and Labor cannot run on their record and they cannot run on their policies. Consequently, they have resorted to an unprecedented negative campaign; one particularly and very personally aimed at Tony Abbott.

Julia Gillard and Labor are obsessed with Tony Abbott. A typical Julia Gillard speech makes no mention of policy, provides no leadership or direction for the country but makes endless references to Tony Abbott. We must expect this to continue and to be a central part of Labor’s campaign as they try to avoid any scrutiny of their record, their internal divisions, their complete lack of policy and their alliance with the Greens.  As we all know, Labor is trying to pressure Tony Abbott and the Coalition to change course, to “understand” just how difficult minority government is and to support everything Labor does.  The fact is we currently have Australia’s worst government. The Coalition actually has a duty to ensure the decisions made by Labor and their alliance partners are transparent and accountable and to oppose those measures we believe to be damaging and against the interests of ordinary Australians. Should we just go along and accept the four biggest Budget deficits in Australian history just because Labor wants us to? Should we just accept the collapse of border security? Should we just ignore the destruction of the opportunities for young Australians to get ahead which had been built over a decade by the Howard Government? What would be “mindless” – and dereliction of our duty – would be to be complicit with Labor, the Greens and Independents in the bad decisions which are jeopardizing our country’s future.

In 1942 Sir Robert Menzies made a series of radio broadcasts which were collectively published as “The Forgotten People”. One of those broadcasts dealt with “the Function of the Opposition in Parliament”.   During the Second World War there was great pressure on the Opposition to simply “pull together” and not criticize the Government. Menzies rejected this. He said:

Every now and then you will read an allegation by somebody to the effect that the Opposition is “playing party politics” …. [But] in Parliament, we are divided on party lines…. What are the consequences of this? The first and greatest is that you cannot maintain the party system of government and at the same time expect the Opposition to treat the Government as if it were an all-party Government… differences must be discussed frankly and fully in Parliament so that Parliament itself may arrive at its own ultimate conclusion as to what is the wise thing to do. It follows from this that the function of an Opposition is to be quite unhesitating in its willingness to debate large matters of policy, to criticize the Government on those matters, to put forward and maintain its own.”

Seventy years later, this remains a good summary of the Liberal position.  We expect Labor to continue to try to pressure us to change course so they can avoid proper scrutiny. Tony Abbott and the team will not do so. Where the Coalition disagrees with Labor, the Greens and the Independents and where we see bad policy and bad government we will say so because it is in the national interest that Labor is held to account for its waste, mismanagement and poor decisions.  The Coalition refuses to be negative for its own sake. The reality contradicts Labor’s spin. The fact is the Coalition has voted against just 13% of Government legislation. We have supported 87% of Government bills. We have been responsible and true to our beliefs. But because Labor is governing so poorly it has no answers to the serious questions the Coalition raises.  A second false assertion Labor is trying to peddle at the moment concerns the Coalition’s costings. There are possibly another two Budgets and who knows how many Wayne Swan “revisions” of the national accounts before the next election. As Joe Hockey and Andrew Robb have made clear our policies will be fully funded and fully costed and released before the election. A Government which has blown the surplus and given Australia the four largest Budget deficits in history would do well to concentrate on its current responsibilities rather than on what may or may not comprise the Coalition’s costings in two years’ time. It is important Australians ignore Labor’s rhetoric on Budget management and look instead at Labor’s record. The Howard Government found a $10 billion budget black hole and it turned that into a $20 billion surplus. The Howard Government inherited $96 billion worth of Commonwealth debt and it turned that into a $70 billion net asset position. By contrast, the current government has turned $20 billion of surplus into $50 billion of deficit and it’s turned $70 billion of assets, at last count, into $134 billion of debt. And all this in just four years!  Thirdly, we can expect to hear more from Labor, like a tired broken record, about WorkChoices. Tony Abbott has been very clear about this and Labor knows it. But we should expect the campaign on this to intensify. Apart from anything else, it is now part of Bill Shorten’s campaign to become the next Leader of the Opposition!

The central question about workplace relations policy in this country today is how does the Government reconcile its rhetorical commitment to economic growth and productivity with the changes Julia Gillard made when she was Minister which abolished not just the changes of the Howard government but also the reforms of the Keating government? It is clear from the growing numbers of comments from both senior business leaders and small business operators that these changes are directly affecting Australia’s productivity. Perhaps Mr. Shorten might care to turn his attention to this dilemma instead of joining the parrot queue attacking Tony Abbott.  The Coalition understands the next Government will need a mandate in this important area and the Coalition will release its policy well in advance of the election.

Perhaps the most brazen example of Labor’s hypocrisy and ham-fisted political tactics is the occasional pantomime we see when Julia Gillard tries to attack the Greens and deny there is any relationship between her and Bob Brown. We should expect more of these manufactured stunts in the coming months as Labor tries to create the impression of divisions between them and the Greens. The reality of course, is different. Labor is in a formal, signed alliance with Bob Brown and the Greens. The Greens set the direction of the Government. Labor and the Greens will preference each other at the next election. As a result, the choice at the election will be between a united experienced Coalition with clear policies to build a better Australia and a divided Labor Party with weak leadership, no policies, no vision and dependent on secret deals with the Greens to try to sneak across the line.

Another tactic Ms Gillard and Labor are using is to simply brazenly assert things irrespective of the truth. The fact they have no positive record and no policies does not stop them mindlessly claiming to have a “reform agenda”, making “tough decisions” and to have “plans” going forward. We will hear a lot more of this between now and the election. In particular, Labor will attempt to say that things are getting better, that they have turned the corner and that, if re-elected, they will somehow be different. They will again make promises they have no intention of keeping. Those who have lived through State Labor Governments over the last decade would be familiar with this political trick: ignore your record and just make bold claims and promises even if the facts contradict them. This tactic depends on poor media scrutiny and an electorate with amnesia. It may work for a limited period at the State level, but it will not work for Labor at the national level. It is one of the reasons why the Coalition must continue to hold Labor to account for its inaction and poor record.

Ms. Gillard is also using other political tactics to avoid detailed scrutiny. Unlike John Howard, she does not provide transcripts of all her speeches, interviews etc. on her website. Those that do appear are usually posted days after an event. She also frequently disappears when the going gets tough. This happened in early December when the national accounts were revised yet again and Labor’s grubby deal with Peter Slipper became public. Julia Gillard gave no interview for ten days. She simply disappeared to avoid difficult questions and proper scrutiny.

But I guess its not surprising Ms Gillard wants to avoid scrutiny of her speeches. One of the things which has become very apparent with the drift of minority Government is that Julia Gillard is incapable of setting out a clear direction for Australia. The clearest example of this problem was Ms. Gillard’s speech in early December to the ALP National Conference.  It was mindless twaddle. Instead of discussing policy, setting direction and providing leadership she resorted to cliché.  The contrast with Tony Abbott could not be clearer.  Just compare his speech to the Liberal Party Federal Council in June last year to Gillard’s National Conference speech. Tony Abbott’s speeches are publically available on the Party’s website. In 2011 he made over 20 very significant speeches setting out the direction, priorities and policies for the economy under the next Coalition government. I invite any interested Australian to read them and compare them with Julia Gillard’s speeches over the same period and ask which Party really does have the policies, direction and leadership to grow our economy and improve the lives of all Australians.  In those speeches, Tony Abbott made clear the Coalition’s central objective is to restore hope, reward and opportunity for all Australians.

We will do this by growing our economy and strengthening our nation. We will help families get ahead by scrapping Labor’s damaging carbon tax to put downward pressures on rising prices, especially electricity, gas and fuel prices, to help reduce the cost of living pressures. We will reduce pressure on inflation and interest rates – by ending Labor’s waste, and paying back Labor’s debt and we will make sure the Government again lives within its means. As a result we will get taxes lower to help small businesses grow, create more jobs and build a bigger, stronger economy.  We will stop the boats and strengthen our borders. We will deliver better government and provide better services to families in health and education. We will help hard working Australians and small businesses to get ahead, and build a better life for themselves, and their families.

In his speeches Tony Abbott has made clear the priority for a Coalition Government will be to get the Budget back to surplus by ending waste and unnecessary spending so government debt can be reduced to take unnecessary pressure off interest rates. He has promised to help families and restore business confidence by abolishing the carbon tax and the mining tax. We will make a real practical difference to the environment with a 15,000 strong Green Army, we will restore local control of public schools and hospitals, and we will build national infrastructure based on proper cost-benefit studies. We will protect private health insurance, and reduce red tape to help small business grow.

And much, much more. The speeches Tony Abbott and other senior Liberals regularly make are posted on the Party web site. I invite you to read them. One of the things which will be clear to you if you do is that the Coalition is committed to helping all Australians get ahead. Labor seems to think this is a bad thing. Over the last four years, Labor has systematically gone about destroying many of the practical incentives the Howard Government had put in place to help families, small business, retirees and students. Over time, as the economy strengthens, an Abbott Government would hope to be able to again support those working hard and doing the right thing to get ahead.

Ladies and Gentleman, the next election will be held in the next eighteen months or so. Every election is significant, but the next election will truly be one of the most important in Australian history.The choice will be the clearest for a generation.   Labor is divided over leadership, policy and strategic direction. It is disconnected from the community and run by faceless operatives. Quite simply, Labor has lost its way. It needs “time out” to consider who and what it is. Labor can only be re-elected with the support of the Greens – and at what price to ordinary Australians? Australian families cannot afford another three years of Labor.

By contrast, the Coalition is united with an experienced team (16 Shadow Ministers were Ministers in the Howard Government). Only the Coalition has the policies, commitment and leadership to grow the economy, strengthen our nation and help all Australians get ahead again.  Between now and the next election we must make this case every day. No one should assume the next election will be easy. Labor will be desperate, and with Green preferences could squeak across the line.  So, Ladies and Gentleman, it is clear we will face a desperate and well-resourced opponent at the next election. They have nothing to say about the future of our country and will resort instead to aggressive and personal attacks on Tony Abbott, false and unsubstantiated assertions about the Coalition and empty promises they know they will never be able to deliver.   The Coalition is prepared for an election whenever it may be held. We have clear plans to grow our economy and strengthen our nation. There is a better way and Tony Abbott and the Coalition team are ready and determined to restore hope, reward and opportunity for all Australians.

I look forward to working closely with the Young Liberals in the months ahead to ensure the return of good Liberal Government to Australia”

My only to all of that –  by attacking Labour for it’s ‘negative’ approach’, I’m hoping that 2012 will see a major reduction in the negative approach that has flowed from the Liberal Party over the past 18 months, and which has constantly being criticised by most elements of the media, and the electorate in general.

Meanwhile, at Stumps on Day 2 of the 3rd cricket test between Australia and India, we see that Australia is again in a strong position after just two days of the match, which although it has 5 days play available, is highly unlikely to get to the end of the 3rd day tomorrow.  The scores see: –  India: 161 and 4 for 88.  Australia:  369 [of which David Warner scored 180 runs].



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