It’s been just over 5 months since he was ousted unceremoniously from the top job, and now Tony Abbott has bitten back in a 3000+ word piece for The Australian, saying he would have won the election as Prime Minister.
In recent months Mr Abbott has been uncharacteristically talkative, and this latest op ed is no exception. In the wide-ranging piece the former Prime Minister of Australia talks about taxes, budgets, national security, the car industry, unemployment – you name it, he has something to say.
“The first law of governing is that you can’t spend what you can’t raise through taxes and borrowings; and the second law is that today’s borrowings have to be paid for — with interest — by tomorrow’s taxes”
“The task of budget repair was the most important work of the Abbott government. We were far from fully successful but made a determined effort”.
“I said that the mission of the Abbott government was to prove that the age of reform had been interrupted, not ended; and that the Rudd-Gillard years were an aberration, not the new normal. To then lose the prime ministership in a partyroom coup was to repeat recent history, not to change it”.
On national security:
“We met new national security challenges at home and abroad with a strength and sureness that was noticed internationally”.
As a citizen paying a mortgage … I had always understood very well that everything has to be paid for. Every single thing that government does — maintaining the police and armed forces, administering justice, paying for social security and facilitating schools and hospitals — all has to be funded by taxpayers”
On the car industry:
“The Abbott government’s car industry decision will ultimately save taxpayers upwards of half a billion dollars a year”.
On the Carbon Tax:
“The abolition of the carbon tax removed a $9bn a year economic handbrake. The abolition of the confidence-killing mining tax was the clearest possible indicator that, under the Abbott government, Australia really was “open for business””.
“Employment growth, the best sign of economic optimism, is on track to meet our election pledge of a million new jobs within five years.
“People knew we were serious about economic reform because we were prepared to be unpopular if the national interest demanded it”.
On his fall from grace:
“As was pointed out on the afternoon of September 14, 2015, the Abbott government had been behind in 30 Newspolls in a row: we’d been behind, in fact, since the 2014 budget. Yet the 2014 budget had been our bid to ensure that long-term spending was at least matched by long-term revenue.
The former PM blamed his government’s unpopularity on having to do difficult things, and not on his captain’s calls or other issues with him personally.
“We were prepared to risk deep unpopularity to do what was necessary in the long-term national interest”, he wrote.
He went on to say the 2014 budget was “a badge of honour because it showed that we were serious about long-term budget repair and could therefore be trusted with the long-term economic management of the country”.
He also discussed pensions, welfare and Medicare:
“The point of indexing pensions to CPI was to slow the growth of social security as a percentage of GDP despite an ageing population. Introducing more price signals into Medicare would help restrain over-servicing. Reducing the rate of growth in commonwealth funding for state government-run public schools and public hospitals would force the states to seek efficiencies in organisations that account for nearly 10 per cent of GDP”.
“[We] asked this generation to tighten their belts a little so that future generations wouldn’t need to tighten theirs a lot more. As the treasurer said on budget night, don’t ask what this budget will do for you; ask what it will do for our country”.
On winning the 2016 election:
“The Coalition won the 2013 election despite promising tough measures: to abolish the schoolkids bonus and the low income supplement, to delay employer-provided superannuation benefits and to reduce Labor’s promised funding boost to schools and hospitals beyond the next few years. I’m confident we could have won the 2016 election with a program of budget savings and lower tax”.
The whole article can be read here.