Hours after announcing the November 24 federal election, Prime Minister John Howard has set the terms of the contest as the coalition sees it.
Howard argues that Australia requires the “right leadership”, a direct swipe at the ALP’s slogan, “New Leadership”.
He has stressed the need for experience to maintain the economic prosperity and national security of the nation.
The coalition is also campaigning on what it calls the ALP’s inexperience and domination by trade unions.
Howard warns against the lack of “balance” in “wall-to-wall” Labor governments in Federal, State and Territory parliaments.
This is the text of a statement by the Prime Minister, John Howard, circulated via email by the Liberal Party.
Today the Governor-General has accepted my advice for an election to be held on Saturday 24 November.
This election is about Australia’s future. It’s about the leadership Australia needs right now to stay strong, prosperous and secure.
Australia has come a long way in the last decade based on the hard work of all Australians and the tough decisions of the Coalition. Now we must make Australia even stronger.
This will not happen automatically. It will happen not through new leadership or old leadership. It requires the right leadership.
The right leadership is the team that knows how to do the job. The right leadership has the experience to further expand Australia’s prosperity and to ensure that everyone gets a fair share of it.
The right leadership is prepared to take unpopular decisions in the short term that will benefit the Australian community in the long term.
The right leadership is a group of men and women who will govern for all Australians and who will not be beholden to a narrow section of the Australian community.
The right leadership will tell the Australian people where it stands on issues and what it believes in. Love me or loathe me, the Australian people know where I stand and what I believe in.
At this election, the Australian people must decide who is better able to build Australia’s prosperity for the benefit of everyone. They must also decide who is better able to promote our national security and stand up for Australia’s interests abroad.
Is it a government with a proven track record on the economy and national security or is it a group of men and women 70 per cent of whom are former trade union officials?
In the weeks ahead, I will be unveiling detailed plans for Australia’s future. They will be both practical and achievable, underpinned by the Coalition’s record of putting the national interest ahead of sectional interests.
As part of our plan for growth and opportunity I commit today to a goal of full employment. Australia’s unemployment rate today is at a 33-year low. It can go even lower with the right policies.
There is no reason why Australia’s unemployment cannot have a three in front of it. If Labor is elected, its anti-small business policies mean unemployment will rise.
We will unveil policies to lift family living standards and to help sections of the community under pressure. Our plan for stronger communities will deliver better services, more choice and genuine help for Australians in need. It will put more power in the hands of local communities, including by giving communities a greater say in the running of their public hospitals.
In the weeks ahead, I will outline a plan to further reinforce Australia’s national security into the next decade. Our environment policies will tackle in a balanced way the great challenges of climate change and water security.
Our plan for Australia will also give voice to my passionate belief that we are One Australia based on a common citizenship, common loyalty and where all are entitled to equal justice.
The Coalition’s plan for Australia’s future has been carefully put together and builds on the strong decision-making of the last decade. Our plans are fully costed and affordable.
Labor is not ready to govern because it hasn’t done the hard work. Mr Rudd has plans for process; not for action. And his core convictions remain a mystery, both to him and, more importantly, to the Australian people.
If Labor is elected, Mr Rudd’s inexperience and lack of judgment would leave a vacuum at the heart of Australia’s government. That vacuum would be filled by a trade union movement determined to take back the running of the country.
And wall-to-wall Labor would mean no checks and balances in our Federation.
Our $1 trillion economy simply can’t afford it.