Abbott, Pragmatic Nationalist, Proposes Modest Reform Of Federation

Describing himself as a “pragmatic nationalist”, Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he believes it is worth another try to “harmonise” the revenue and spending responsibilities of the States and the Commonwealth.

ParkesAbbott spoke at the Sir Henry Parkes Commemorative Dinner in Tenterfield, NSW. On October 24 1889, Parkes, a five-time premier of NSW, delivered his famous Tenterfield Oration, a call for the colonies to federate.

Abbott said: “Now I remain a pragmatic nationalist – but the states exist, they have wide powers under the constitution and they can’t be abolished; so – rather than pursue giving the Commonwealth more authority over the states, as I proposed in my 2009 book, Battlelines – better harmonising revenue and spending responsibilities is well worth another try.”

Abbott said he used to think that “the states should become subordinate legislatures to the Commonwealth”, but he now doubted that “any such constitutional change could succeed”. He said: “…in any event, it’s a good principle to propose the smallest change that will actually tackle the problem – that’s why resolving the mismatch between what the states are supposed to deliver and what they can actually afford to pay for is worth another go.” [Read more...]


Widodo Inauguration: Abbott Stresses Jakarta Focus In Foreign Policy

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has flown to Indonesia to attend the inauguration of its new President, Joko Widodo.

In his weekly video message, Abbott repeated his earlier remarks that “our foreign policy needs a ‘Jakarta’ focus rather than a ‘Geneva’ one”.

He said one million Australians visit Indonesia each year. “It has the world’s largest Muslim population, it is the world’s third largest democracy and, along with India, it’s the emerging democratic superpower of Asia.”

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s weekly video message.

Today I am going to Indonesia for the Inauguration of its new President – Joko Widodo.

The transition to a new administration highlights Indonesia’s successful move to a popularly elected democracy. [Read more...]


Government Announces Industry Innovation And Competitiveness Agenda

The Federal Government today announced an Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda.

Abbott

Speaking at a press conference in Canberra, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and the Minister for Industry, Ian Macfarlane, announced a series of measures to life apprenticeship rates and encourage employee share ownership. The plan also aims to promote science and technology skills in school, reform the 457 visas programme, and establish Industry Growth Centres.

  • Listen to the joint press conference with Tony Abbott and Ian Macfarlane (37m – transcript below)

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Statement from Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry.

Strengthening Australia’s competitiveness is the key to our future prosperity. [Read more...]


We Shirtfront The Tsar; Abbott Says He Will Confront Putin Over MH17 At G20

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he will “shirtfront” Russian President Vladimir Putin over the shooting of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Abbott

Abbott made his comments at a media conference at Caval Ridge Mine in the Queensland electorate of Capricornia, held by Michelle Landry. He defended and praised the coal mining industry.

On Putin, Abbott said: “Look, I’m going to shirtfront Mr Putin – you bet I am. I’m going to be saying to Mr Putin – Australians were murdered and they were murdered by Russian-backed rebels using Russian supplied equipment. We are very unhappy about this. We accept that you didn’t want this to happen, but we now demand that you fully cooperate with the criminal investigation, and if the criminal investigation identifies suspects that you have some influence over, they’ve got to be produced and justice has got to be done.” [Read more...]


Abbott On The Liberal Party’s 70th Anniversary

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has used his weekly video message to remember the 70th anniversary of the Liberal Party.

The Liberal Party was founded in 1944, following conferences in Canberra and Albury that were convened by Robert Menzies. Menzies was a former leader of the United Australia Party (UAP). He had been effectively deposed from the party’s leadership in 1941. The UAP collapsed in the aftermath of its landslide defeat in the 1943 election.

Menzies brought together a range of community groups and political organisations that were opposed to the ALP and the government of John Curtin. The party was defeated in the 1946 federal election but was victorious in 1949. Menzies went on to serve a record term of 16 years as prime minister, retiring undefeated in January 1966.

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s video message.

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Liberal Party. [Read more...]