Mr President, Prime Minister, Premiers, Colleagues and fellow Liberals.
I want to first acknowledge the passing of the late, great Andrew Peacock.
A proud Victorian and an even prouder Liberal, who we honoured this morning.
I was very fortunate to enjoy a friendship with Andrew, who launched my first campaign back in 2010. He held the seat of Kooyong for 28 years, following Robert Menzies who held the seat for 32 years.
Andrew said that after Sir Robert attended one of his speeches he asked him ‘Sir Robert, what do you think of my speech?’
Sir Robert replied it was both ‘brilliant and original’. The ‘only problem’ was that ‘the brilliant bit wasn’t original’ and ‘the original bit wasn’t brilliant’.
We will miss Andrew and it is only appropriate that the Party honours him today.
Liberals, on this very day 67 years ago, our party’s founder Robert Menzies took the Coalition to a historic election victory in 1954 over Doc Evatt’s Labor Party.
An election which Menzies said was fought between the Liberal Party that supported the individual, their freedom and their enterprise, and the Labor Party which talked down the economy and made prophecies of doom ‘their political stock-in-trade’.
‘We are the true workers’ party’, said Menzies, delivering secure employment, strong production, and a bright future.
It was true then and it is true today.
Under the Morrison Government, there are more people in work than ever before.
Under the Morrison Government, there are more women in work than ever before.
Under the Morrison Government, there are more young people in a job than ever before.
Ahead of any advanced economy, employment is now higher than it was pre-pandemic.
Even after the COVID recession, the first in nearly 30 years, unemployment is lower today than when we came to office.
JobKeeper, JobSeeker, the cash flow boost, payments to millions of pensioners, veterans and carers, pulled the economy back from the economic abyss and saved a generation from long term unemployment.
When Australia faced its biggest economic shock since The Great Depression, we did what was needed.
John Howard is right: at times of national crisis there are no ideological constraints.
We the Liberal Party are not here to serve big business.
We the Liberal Party are not here to serve big unions.
We the Liberal Party are here to serve the Australian people.
This is why Australians vote for the Coalition in: the Pilbara; Port Augusta; Burnie; Gladstone; the LaTrobe Valley; and the Upper Hunter.
I know some of my colleagues sent Joel Fitzgibbon a membership form, but we don’t want his membership, we want his seat!
We say to the workers in the mines, farmers in the fields and those on the production line, it’s Scott Morrison and the Coalition that stands up for you.
Tax cuts for families, incentives for businesses to invest, apprenticeships to get tradies on the tools, infrastructure to connect our regions to our cities, and opportunities to buy and build your first home.
This is what the Liberal Party stands for and this is what we delivered in this year’s Budget.
A plan to secure our economic recovery and our second Budget delivered in the middle of a pandemic.
A pandemic that is still very much with us as more than six million of my fellow Victorians endure another lockdown.
Our economic approach is very different to that of our political opponents.
Labor can’t manage money – that is why they come after yours.
Just look at Labor’s budget-in-reply where we saw no mention of lower taxes, national security, support for farmers or small business.
It was nothing more than a speech peppered with slogans plagiarised from Jeremy Corbyn – and a new Labor definition of what constitutes innovation; namely the recycled, failed and dumped policies of their last leader, Bill Shorten!
It’s no coincidence that the Liberal Party has won 7 of the last 9 federal elections.
Just as Menzies had his Forgotten People, Howard had his Battlers, ScoMo has his Quiet Australians.
ScoMo may not know his AFL rules – thinking that a torpedo punt is a move in taekwondo – but he does know how to advance the national interest, here at home and abroad.
Protecting us from COVID, securing our recovery and building our defences to guard against ever present threats.
Our Prime Minister is a person of faith and family, courage and conviction.
And with him at the helm Australia is safe and secure.
Please join me in welcoming our Prime Minister.