Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's on - November 24.


Howard and Rudd's speeches below:

UPDATE: Holy smoke! The PM has just challenged Rudd to a debate in the Great Hall of Parliament House this coming Sunday. You can't accuse him of running from conflict.


Good morning ladies and gentlemen. As you know earlier today I called on His Excellency the Governor-General and he has granted on my advice a dissolution of the House of Representatives. There’ll be an election held on the 24th of November for the House of Representatives and for half of the Senate. The Parliament will be prorogued at 12 noon tomorrow, the House of Representatives will be dissolved at 12 noon on Wednesday. The writs will issue on the 17th of October, the rolls will close on the 22nd of October, the nominations will close on the 1st of November and the election will be held on the 24th of November.

Ladies and gentlemen, by common agreement, Australia is enjoying a remarkable level of national prosperity at the present time, but I believe very passionately that this country’s best years can lie ahead of us, in the years immediately ahead. But that won’t happen automatically and in order for that to happen this country does not need new leadership, it does not need old leadership, it needs the right leadership and the right leadership is the leadership that delivers the team that knows how to do the job.

The right leadership is the leadership that has the experience to further expand the prosperity of the Australian economy and to ensure that everybody gets a fair share of it. The right leadership is the leadership that’s willing to take unpopular decisions in the short term that have a long term benefit for the Australian community. 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 is the leadership that tells the Australian people where it stands on issues and what it believes in. Can I say, love me or loathe me, the Australian people know where I stand on all the major issues of importance to their future.

People must decide in the weeks ahead who is better able, to not only preserve the prosperity that we now have, but also to build it further and to make sure that it is fairly shared throughout the Australian community. They’ve also got to decide who’s better able to promote Australia’s national security and to stand up for Australia’s interests abroad. Is it a Government with a proven track record in those areas or is it an inexperienced group of men and women, 70 per cent of whom are former trade union officials? Is it a Government that is offering stability in its key personnel or is it an alternative that doesn’t and let me remind you that after the Prime Minister, the two great offices of state in our government are the Treasury and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I can tell you that if I am re-elected as Prime Minister, Mr Costello will be my Treasurer and Mr Downer will be my Minister for Foreign Affairs. By contrast we all know that Mr Rudd didn’t really want to commit himself to Mr Swan as treasurer, he was no doubt forced by circumstances to do so and you all know that if Mr Rudd were to win, Mr McClelland will not be his minister for foreign affairs.

In the weeks that lie ahead I’ll be unveiling many plans about Australia’s future. One very important commitment I make is that to full employment. We now have a 33-year low in unemployment and that 33-year low can go even lower with the right policies. If Labor is elected with its anti-small business policies, unemployment will rise. There is no reason why the current unemployment rate in Australia should not be markedly lower than it is and certainly with a ‘three’ in front of it and our policies that I will unveil in the weeks ahead will demonstrate how that can be achieved. We’ll also be unveiling policies that will lift living standards and address pressures felt by sections of the Australian community because I acknowledge and recognise that although the general level of prosperity in this country is remarkably high, there are some people who are feeling pressure and there are some people who are missing out and it is the responsibility of the Government as well as the alternative government to outline plans to ensure that people do get included and that people don’t miss out. I’ll outline plans to give communities a greater say in the running of their own hospitals. I’ll outline plans to reinforce Australia’s national security and I’ll also be detailing plans that will provide a balanced approach to the great challenges of climate change and water security.

And finally and very importantly throughout this campaign I will emphasise something that I have believed in all of my political life and something that I gave voice to in a speech I delivered in Sydney a few days ago; and that is my passionate belief that the things that unite us as Australians is greater and more enduring than the things that divide us and that I’ve always been a passionate believer in one Australia. In an Australia where we are governed by the one body of laws, we share a common loyalty, a common citizenship and that we are entitled as individuals to an equal dispensation of justice from the operation of those laws. The plans that I will unveil in detail in the weeks of the campaign will reward hard work. They will create jobs and they will provide even more incentive for working Australians.

Can I say one other thing. Last week in my speech to the Sydney Institute I also spoke about balance. How balance in our public life was an important as balance in our personal lives. If we end up on the 24th of November with a Federal Labor government, we will have a Labor government in power at every level in Australian for the first time since Federation. There is nothing balanced about that.

Such a state of affairs would rob this country of the necessary checks and balances that a federal system inevitably provides. Add to that a Federal Government, 70 per cent of whose members would be former trade union officials and we would have a distinct lack of balance.

I look forward to the journey of the next six weeks, doing what I enjoy most of all about public life and that is meeting and interacting with our fellow Australians. I have always found that a source of nourishment, a source of being re-energised and an opportunity to continue a dialogue with them which I have found profoundly rewarding over the past 11-and-a-half years and which I seek to continue. Thank you.


This election is about Australia’s future and it’s an election about a choice about who offers new leadership for Australia’s future. New leadership to help working families, new leadership with fresh ideas to deal with Australia’s future challenges. And what I’m offering the Australian is new leadership, both to help working families under financial pressure and new leadership for a plan for our country’s future. This is a great country and there’s no better place on earth to live or to raise a family, but now today our country is facing new challenges, great challenges, and we must meet those challenges if we are going to secure our country’s long term future.

Our country has a future too full of promise to allow a Government that’s been in office for eleven years, a Government that’s lost touch and a Government that’s gone stale just to continue on. You see, when it comes to our future we need better than that. The greatest risk for Australia’s future is for the Coalition to return and nothing changes. Nothing changes on climate change and water, nothing changes for our hospitals, nothing changes for our schools, our technical colleges, our universities, nothing changes when it comes to our workplaces, except of course Workchoices which would be made even worse. That’s why during this campaign I intend to make the case why Australia needs new leadership now.

When I became Leader of the Australian Labor Party, I began outlining our plan for the future and during the course of this campaign I’ll be outlining further fresh ideas, new policies and adding to the plan that we’ve already put out there for our country’s future, not just for the next three years, but for the next five, the next ten years and beyond.

Australia needs new leadership. New leadership for our education revolution so that our kids have the best jobs, the best paid jobs and the highest skilled jobs of the future. New leadership when it comes to our need for new infrastructure. New leadership to fix our hospitals, to have someone prepared to put their hand up and say the buck stops with me. New leadership which understands the needs of rural and regional Australia. New leadership which gets the balance right between fairness and flexibility in our workplaces. New leadership which keeps the economy strong but ensures the economy delivers for working families. New leadership which embraces the enduring value of our alliance with the United States but leadership which has an exit strategy for our combat forces in Iraq.

On these Mr Howard, over eleven years, has failed to act and what I offer the Australian people now is a plan of action. I’m offering new leadership, a plan for Australia’s future, a clear-cut commitment to work for that future and an equally clear cut commitment that if I’m elected to become the next Prime Minister of Australia, I will serve a full three year term. If elected again I would serve beyond that as well.

Mr Howard by contrast says that if he wins the next election he will retire and hand over the Prime Ministership to Mr Costello, without Mr Costello ever having to face the Australian people. Mr Howard has said that working families have never been better off. Mr Howard’s lost touch with working families but Mr Costello has never been in touch with working families.

As I travel around Australia people have asked me, legitimately, why do you want to become the Prime Minister of this country. I am putting myself forward to become Australia’s next Prime Minister because I understand the challenges which our country faces in the future and I want to be a leader of the Government of this country as we tackle those challenges of the future head on.

First to build long term economic prosperity beyond the mining boom through investing in an education revolution, 21st century economic infrastructure like broadband, fixing the federation as well as preparing the nation for the rise of China and the rise of India.

Second, offering help and support for working families on the way through by getting the balance right in our workplaces and by fixing our hospitals so that working families when they need hospital and medical care can get the best we can absolutely provide.

And third, acting nationally and internationally decisively on climate change so that we do not destroy the economic and environmental future of the next generation of Australians.

Whenever I go out across this great country of ours and I speak to working families I talk all the time about the need for an education revolution. For me, this is core business. I have a passionate belief in education. I have a passionate belief in the importance of education providing opportunity for all Australians.

Now, I consider myself to have had a fortunate life. Like many kids in this country, my family went through some rough times but mum and dad always ensured I had a good education at the local country state school at Eumundi. More than anything else a good education provides the opportunity and ensures our young people that they will be rewarded for hard work, achievement and success. More than anything else, an education, a good education offers a new course in life. It enables you to unleash your potential as a human being and it also provides a great opportunity, greater opportunities than people had before.

But more than anything else a good education also is a building block for the nation’s future economy. That’s why I believe in an education revolution. That’s why I believe that a trade certificate is just as good as a university degree because both are critical to our nation’s economic future.

I believe this with every fibre of my being and when I look to this generation of Australians, the challenges that they will face in the future are even greater than those faced by my generation. That’s why we need a vision for Australia to have the best education and training system in the world. We as a country need to widen our vision.

I’m really looking forward to this campaign and during this campaign I’ll be announcing policies, I’ll be announcing fresh ideas which build on our plan for the nation’s future which I’ve been outlining during the course of this year. What puzzles me is that on the day this election is called Mr Howard, with all the resources of government has not put forward any plan for the nation’s future after eleven years. Let me give you this clear-cut commitment, if I’m elected to become the next Prime Minister of Australia I will ratify Kyoto, I will prohibit the construction of nuclear reactors in this country. I will abolish Workchoices. I will end the blame game between Canberra and the States. I will invest in an education revolution and I will build a world class broadband network for this nation, city and country.

None of this is possible without a strong economy. That’s why I’ve always said and why I will always say, with pride, I’m an economic conservative. I believe in budget surpluses. I believe in the independence of the Reserve Bank. I believe in its inflation targeting regime. That’s why we are also putting forward carefully costed promises for this election campaign all designed to put downward pressure on interest rates.

To win this election we are going to have to make history. We’ve only won twice from Opposition since World War II and we have to win sixteen seats and on top of that we’re up against one of the most clever and cunning politicians this nation has ever produced. But let me make one prediction and that is in the days and weeks ahead the good people of Australia are going to be bombarded with the mother of all negative fear campaigns.

Mr Howard and Mr Costello will say that if I am elected as the next Prime Minister of Australia the skies will fall in. Mr Howard has spoken today a lot about experience. Let me say this, Mr Howard has bucketloads of experience when it comes to negative fear campaigns. He’s done this every election campaign so far and gotten away with it. The reason Mr Howard does this and why he’ll do it again is because he has no positive plan for our nation’s future.

Australia cannot afford another three years of a Government which has already had eleven years. A Government which has lost touch with working families, a Government that’s gone stale and a Government without fresh ideas for our nation’s future. I refuse to stand idly by and allow this to happen. That’s why I put myself forward for new leadership for our nation Australia’s future.