With the South Australian state election just one week away, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has introduced Liberal leader Steven Marshall at the official campaign launch in Adelaide.
The former Howard government Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, introduced Abbott to the crowd at the Norwood Town Hall.
The centrepiece of Marshall’s policy speech is a proposal to increase concession payments for energy and water bills. Marshall also said he would abolish the Save the River Murray Levy.
- Listen to Alexander Downer (6m)
- Listen to Tony Abbott (14m)
- Listen to Steven Marshall (21m)
Text of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s speech at the South Australian Liberal Party campaign launch.
It’s lovely to be in Adelaide and it’s lovely to have such a wonderful South Australian welcome.
It’s great to be in the presence of my friend and former colleague, and mentor, Alexander Downer, who has been such a lion of this state and such a lion of our Party for so long.
It’s great to see so many of my federal colleagues here today, led by the Leader of the House of Representatives, the Honourable Christopher Pyne, and of course, somewhere in this audience is my favourite South Australian Liberal, the new member for Hindmarsh, Matt Williams.
What enthuses me most of all is to see our Liberal family – to see the broad church, or the big tent of the Liberal Party – here together working for the election of a Liberal Government in the great state of South Australia.
I acknowledge Dean Brown, John Olsen, Steele Hall from different wings of our Party, but all united to give South Australia the government that it so desperately needs.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, my friends, six months ago we had a change of government in Canberra. What we need next weekend is a change of government here in Adelaide.
My friends, what you’ve seen in Canberra over the last six months, is a Government that understands that our role is to work for the people of Australia.
Our role is to get on with the job of governing and that’s what we are doing, we are stopping the boats, we are fixing the Budget, we are building the future where every Australian can expect a fair go and every Australian is encouraged to have a go.
That’s what I want to see here in South Australia, a government that is once more encouraging the people of South Australia to be everything that you can be, to achieve everything that you can achieve, and to slip off the shackles of regulation and pessimism and defeatism which have held this great state back for far too long.
My friends, six months ago in Sydney I said that Australia was under new management and open for business, and since then we have had a dramatic change in the way our country is working.
You know, there’s been not a single illegal boat arriving on our shores this year.
Since September, we have provided environmental approval for new projects worth some $400 billion.
Since September, we have finally concluded negotiations for a free-trade agreement with South Korea, which will do so much for our agricultural industries in the years and the decades ahead.
Not flashy, not grandiloquent, not boastful, but honest, straight forward, decent Government.
We have been a Government which says what it means and does what it says.
In fact, we have done exactly what we said we would do, and that’s what the people of Australia want.
That’s what the people of South Australia want – they want a government which is focused on them and not focused on itself.
Ladies and gentlemen, someone said to me as I was on my way down here that for the last four years the South Australian Government had been out to lunch.
I thought that was being rather too kind. I think they have been out to a very long lunch with quite a long dinner and all sorts of things afterwards.
The fact is, it’s time for the people of South Australia to have a government they can trust.
It’s time, after 12 long years, to make a change.
We all know that four years ago, when Labor had been in power for eight years that the people of South Australia wanted to change.
In fact, they voted to change – 52 per cent of the two-party preferred vote was for a change of government, and it was just some dirty tricks in a few marginal seats and the kind of policy deceit which we have become so familiar with, which kept them in government.
Four years ago, the South Australian Labor Premier stood up and promised 100,000 new jobs.
Well, employment in this state has gone backwards since then.
Do you really want to give this Party, this Party which has so badly let down the people of South Australia, four more years?
Is the current South Australian government so good that it deserves 16 years in office?
Do you really want, as Premier of South Australia, someone who thinks that the carbon tax is a fact of life that just has to be accepted?
Do you really want, as Premier of South Australia, someone who is looking forward to what he calls a carbon constrained future?
Well, I want no restraints on the future of South Australia.
I want the future of South Australia to be unconstrained, or at least to be unconstrained by a very bad State Labor Government.
Now, over the last couple of years I have got to know Steven Marshall pretty well.
I want to say three things about Steven Marshall today.
The first is that he is ready to be the Premier of this great state. I know something about being Opposition Leader, I know something about being a Party Leader and the real test of a successful political leader is keeping the team together. I have got to say, Steven Marshall has done a magnificent job at leading a strong, united and cohesive team.
The second thing I want to say about Steven Marshall is that he has a plan, and let me say that the Marshall plan will do at least as much for this state of South Australia as a different Marshall plan did for post-war Europe.
The final thing I want to say about Steven Marshall is that he and I want to work together for the betterment of this great state.
The people of South Australia don’t want a Premier who fights with Canberra, the people of South Australia want a Premier that works with Canberra.
The people of South Australia do not want to see yet another unseemly spectacle of a public brawl between the Premier and the Prime Minister. They want to see adults in government working together to do the right thing by the people of this great state.
I am so looking forward to working with Steven in the months and years ahead, should the people of South Australia give him and us that opportunity.
We have committed already $500 million to the Darlington Upgrade of the North-South Road.
When we did that, the current Premier said, “Oh, don’t build that, let’s build the Torrens section of the North-South Road.”
Well, Steven Marshall, being the sensible, constructive person that he is, said, “let’s do both.”
That’s exactly right. Let’s get this whole road build to freeway standard as quickly as we can and my commitment to you is to work with Steven Marshall to upgrade the North-South Road within a decade.
It’s been far too long since we have had a Premier and a Prime Minister ready and willing to work together to give the people of South Australia the infrastructure that they need.
Now, that’s what I want to do across the board with Steven Marshall.
I want to unleash the creativity and the productivity and the ingenuity of the people of South Australia, so that once more this can be not the unemployment capital of the mainland states, but the go ahead, dynamic economy capital of mainland states.
I want to make it possible with Steven Marshall to get a new port in our west, to get that great Olympic Dam development once more back on track.
I don’t say it can happen overnight, I don’t say it is necessarily going to be easy, but it will never happen unless you’ve got people in government who want it to happen.
That’s been the problem.
For the best part of the last 12 years, there has been a government here in Adelaide that could think of a million reasons to say no, but could never think of a reason to say, enthusiastically and unambiguously – yes.
Well, I say yes to the good ideas of South Australia.
I say yes to the people of South Australia.
I say yes to the big future which is waiting for you.
That’s what I say and most of all, on this day, I say yes to the person who is carrying our hopes and dreams – not just the hopes and dreams of Liberals, but the hopes and dreams of everyone who thinks that tomorrow can be better than today.
Would you please give a big welcome to the man who we all believe will be the next Premier of South Australia?