Aren’t they fantastic? How good is Mum? How good is Jenny?
Well thank you friends, thank you colleagues. They are the women in my life, I couldn’t love them more if I tried and they couldn’t love me more if they tried. Happy Mother’s Day Mum. Happy Mother’s Day Jen and to all the mothers, happy Mother’s Day, wherever you are today. Today is a day when our hearts are especially focused on family and of course, our mums. For some, it’s a very sweet memory. For some today it’s a painful void for what has been lost or was sadly never there for you. For the fortunate it’s the warmth of the mum’s embrace that simply says; ‘Everything will be all right, I love you’. Our mums speak of the surety of selfless love, the most powerful thoughts in the universe. My brother Alan and I, we grew up in a loving and very happy family with our parents, Marion and John. Mum and dad have been hopelessly devoted to each other and married for 56 years and counting. They actually grew up in the same street. Today mum cares for dad, who was sadly too frail to travel today. But I know dad will be up there listening to us today and be with us here today. We all lived together in a house we shared with dad’s aunt who owned the house. She invited mum and dad to come and live with her. They had separate flats in a house that they made when they got married. Buying a house has never been easy. My brother and I were still sharing a room together in that house when he was at university and I was at high school. You can imagine how thrilled he was about that.
We went to public schools, like Jenny and her older sister and her brother did. We had great times together in our family. We knew the same disappointments and joys and challenges of so many other families. Not long after I turned one, mum went back to work, juggling all her commitments with a lot of help from family, particularly our grandparents. Mum and dad both had to work hard to give Alan and I the choices they wanted for us in life. They saved, they planned. They sacrificed and they also served. Mum ran the local Girls Brigade at our local church every Thursday and Friday school night, for 45 years.
By the way, dad did the same thing at Boys Brigade the same Thursday and Friday night for 45 Years.
Mum is a woman of great and practical faith, quietly and patiently loving us, always. Life is about what you contribute, not what you accumulate. That’s what mum and dad have taught me. It’s about serving others, because in life, it’s people that matter.
My family story is not uncommon in our country. Australians quietly going about their lives with simple, decent, honest aspirations. Get an education. Get a job. Start a business. Take responsibility for yourself, support others. Work hard. Deal with whatever challenges come your way. Meet someone amazing. I did, there she is, Jenny. Create a life and a family together. Work even harder to support them and give them the choices and hopefully, an even better life than the one that you have. Save for your retirement and your future. Strive, wherever possible, to be making a contribution rather than taking one. Leaving a legacy.
Josh, Bianca and their infant daughter Ruby, are quietly living these aspirations today up in the Mid North Coast of New South Wales. I met them earlier this week. They have just bought their first home in Wauchope. Christopher has just started work up in Gladstone, at Purcell’s Engineering where his father has been an employee for many years. Gav is just completing his apprenticeship there as a fitter and turner. All working in a family business that Terry and his wife Kym, started 35 years ago – now employing 70 people. I met Mary Anne, she’s a local mum, and actually a party member here at Whitehorse in Melbourne. She went back to work by starting a wedding events business and is now employing other mums doing exactly the same thing, coming back into the workforce. It’s a very flexible workforce, that one. Rosalie, I haven’t met but she’s a 69-year-old retired school teacher who lives on her own in a retirement village in Perth. She saved for her retirement. She doesn’t qualify for the pension. She’s a self-funded retiree. She has an income of $30,000 a year, which includes franking credits of $1,800. She doesn’t see it as ‘a gift’. It’s what she’s worked hard for and saved hard for, so she can live on it.
You know, often life can throw things at you that can challenge these aspirations. Donna is the mum of 13-year-old Luke Emery. Happy Mother’s Day to Donna today. They live in northern Tasmania together as a family. Luke has cystic fibrosis. He was diagnosed, as most sufferers are, at six months old. Luke is now able to get access, as I know Greg Hunt will be thrilled about, to a drug called Orkambi. A drug that we announced that we were listing on Father’s Day actually, last year. That would otherwise cost that family $250,000 a script. That we have now listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, it now only costs a bit over 40 bucks.
When I saw Luke the other week, it was just after his birthday down in Tassie. He told me he could now run with his mates and not get breathless. How good is that?
The drug will add at least 20 years to his life and you should see the smile on Donna’s face. Only a mum can smile that big. I met Abigail in Perth with Ken Wyatt and Linda Reynolds, she was there with me also at the Esther Foundation, an amazing organisation that we support as a Government. She told me her story. At Esther, you will find stories, terrible stories of substance abuse, sexual abuse, terrible violence and attempted suicide by our youngest people. At Esther, they are reclaiming their future and their lives, by learning that no-one can take away the most important thing; their unique and precious value as a human being and as a woman. Then there’s Jacqueline and I want to thank Michael for his introduction today, telling this story. Jacqueline, who, together with her husband, Robert, built up their cattle breeding station at Gipsy Plains in North Queensland. Doing it all their lives, 35 years together. A generation’s work. In just 48 hours, their herd was washed away or died from pneumonia from the chilling wind on the slight little hills. As I stood with Jacqueline over the rotting stench of those carcasses, we just hugged. I would not leave there without her knowing that we and I, would stand with them and all those impacted, to rebuild. We are, and they know it.
As Michael has said, we will continue to stand with all of our drought-affected farmers as well. All the graziers impacted by the drought, like the Tully’s out in Quilpie. Bridget was there too, when I met David, on the first Monday I was on the job as PM. All the drought-affected towns and communities that are out there, they will get that Future Drought Fund from us, Michael, they will get it, because next on Saturday, you get the opportunity to vote for it.
So, when you meet and hear people like this as I’ve been doing, you really understand why Australia is the best country in the world to live.
But I got a tip, I’ve got a tip for you. I believe it’s even more than that. I believe that Australia is a promise to everyone who has the great privilege to call themselves an Australian. You know what that promise is? We know it. It’s the promise that allows Australians, quietly going about their lives, to realise their simple, honest and decent aspirations – quiet, hardworking Australians.
An Australia where, if you have a go, you get a go.
Where you’re rewarded and respected for your efforts and contribution.
An Australia where you are accepted and acknowledged, regardless of your age, your ethnicity, your religion, your gender, your sexuality, your level of ability, or your wealth or your income.
An Australia where you can live in an economy that enables you and your family to enjoy the best living standards and be able to plan for your future with confidence.
A country where you can live in an environment that is clean and healthy and the envy of the world.
A country where, if you or your family, God forbid, get sick, you’ll get access to world-class and affordable healthcare.
A country where your children get the best possible start in life; a great education and can grow up safe, safe.
A country where older Australians are respected, where their savings are secure and they get the help they need and the recognition they deserve.
A country that honours the service and sacrifice of all those who have gifted us our freedoms. To any veterans here today, any serving men and women here today, thank you for your service.
But you know, it’s also a country that acknowledges the First Australians and unceasingly strives to ensure that every Indigenous girl and boy can grow up with the same opportunities as every other Australian. That’s the promise and you know, it’s so much more. This is why all the peoples of the world have come here to call Australia home and make us the most successful immigration country and multicultural nation in the world today.
That’s the promise of Australia friends. To all the Australians listening, that’ s the promise of Australia. A hard-won promise provided by the generations that went before us and must be improved by us in this current generation, to pass on to those generations that will follow. You know there is no-one to whom this promise of Australia is more entrusted to than the person you elect to be your Prime Minister. It is my vision for this country, as your Prime Minister, to keep the promise of Australia, to all Australians.
So I want to talk to you a bit about the future today. It’s what I want to focus on today. About how, together, with Michael and the Nationals, together with Josh and our whole team and the whole team that’s with me here today, moving forward – that if you vote Liberal and Nationals next Saturday, which is what we’re asking you to do, this is how we’ll keep that promise.
You know, it all begins with keeping our economy strong. A stronger economy, where people have the confidence to invest more, to employ more, to invent more, to work hard. Because people matter, as Mum said, a stronger economy matters. Because the economy is what people live in. It’s real. You know, countries with weak economies, do not have good hospital systems. They do not have a reliable pension. They do not have affordable medicines. They do not have Medicare. They do not have Headspace. They do not have a fully-funded National Disability Insurance Scheme. They are not increasing investments in their public schools and aged-care.
By 2030, around 800,000 more Australians today will be on the aged pension. They’ll be depending on a stronger economy and under our Government’s policies, as Josh has said, we have made our economy stronger and we’ll continue to do so in the future.
Growth is higher. There are 1.3 million more Australians in jobs. 95 per cent of the jobs created in the past year have been full time. Last financial year, more than 100,000 young people got a job. How good is that?
An all-time record! And as in particular, the seven women in my Cabinet know, female participation is at record highs under a Liberal and National Government. 230,000 new small and family businesses have been created. 70 per cent of our trade is now covered by export agreements, up from just 26 per cent under Labor. We have a plan to keep it that way. A plan that will see 1.25 million more Australians get a more over the next five years, one in five of those jobs will be for younger Australians. a plan that will see another 250,000 small and family businesses open their doors during the next five years. A plan that will give an additional 80,000 Australians a career by gaining an apprenticeship and particularly out there in rural and regional areas, where we’re doubling down on ensuring that in regional areas, we can get more apprentices. A plan that will see 10,000 more Australian champion companies, exporting beyond our shores by 2022, supported by export deals that then will cover around 90 per cent of our trade. That’s what an economic plan looks like.
To run a stronger economy as Mathias Cormann knows – because he’s been doing it with us for the last six years – to run a stronger economy requires a government that knows how to manage money.
If you can’t manage money, you can’t run the country.
Have you ever noticed this? How those who can’t manage money always end up spending more of it, and never spend it well? What they say, those who can’t manage money, what the costs will be – if they’re game enough to tell you – that’s only just where it begins.
The real cost comes after their big spending programs fall victim to their incompetent administration. We have seen it every time under Labor.
School halls, last time. Pink batts. Cash-for clunkers. Border protection failures. Welfare blowouts. Rorting.
You know, Labor’s appetite for big spending always exceeds their competency to spend it wisely or properly. You know, that’s the bill you really cannot afford.
And as we know, when Labor runs out of money, they always come running after yours soon after. So, today, I’m not getting into a spend-a-thon with Labor. They’re welcome to it. Reckless spending is not a vision, Australians. It’s a burden on current and future generations. So I say to Australians; do not allow Labor’s reckless spending to start. Vote Liberal and Nationals next Saturday.
Our Government has restored our nation’s finances. We have turned that around. We have kept our Triple A credit rating. We have handed down – well done Josh and the entire ERC team – the first Budget surplus in more than a decade, back in the black.
And by staying on this path we will eliminate the debt within a decade, without raising your taxes. We have achieved this by getting spending growth under control, getting Australians off welfare and into work – and treating every dollar provided to us by the taxpayer with respect. It’s what Liberals are Nationals do. You know, central to our plan of keeping our economy strong, is our plan to keep lowering taxes for hard-working Australians and small and medium sized family businesses. Making life just that little bit easier. We believe you should keep more of what you earn, because your money is better off in your hands than the Government’s.
We believe, as Liberals and Nationals, that you know what is right for you, your family and your business. We believe that you, Australians, are the answer to keeping our economy strong. Those who believe in big taxing, big spending agendas, are not only prepared to experiment with our economy at a time when we can least afford it. They believe that they know better than you.
Step one of our lower tax plan for the future, provides immediate tax relief for low and middle income earners earning up to $126,000 a year. That’s up to $1,080 for singles and $2,000 for couples and families. 10 million Australians will benefit from that. Step two – this is a plan, this is how you have a plan to lower taxes – step two is to make our income tax system simpler and fairer by lifting the tax threshold for the 19 cent rate – I don’t know many high income earners on the 19 cent tax rate by the way – from $37,000 a year to 45,000 a year. That is who we are delivering it for. Then abolishing the 37 tax rate in its entirety and that part is already legislated.
That means Australians earning between $45,000 a year and $200,000 a year in the future, will never face bracket creep again. So you can take on that extra shift. You can have a go for that promotion and take on that extra training. You can study at night and you will not be penalised under our Government, with higher marginal tax rates. Particularly for young people going through that first 10 years of your working life. Every time you get ahead, only to face higher marginal tax rates. That’s what will hold you back and we are getting rid of that. Step three is to cut the middle income tax rate for that group I just said, between $45,000 and $200,000 from 32.5 cents to just 30 cents. That means under our plan 94 per cent of working Australians will pay no more than 30 cents in the dollar as a marginal tax rate. That’s tax reform.
Achieved on a responsible timeline, fully funded, without reducing expenditure or increasing taxes on anyone else. Because in our Party, you don’t have to hold someone down to let someone else get ahead. We believe that all Australians can succeed in this country.
We don’t buy Labor’s politics of envy.
And because it’s fairer, those on the top tax rate, they will still pay their fair share. In fact, under this plan, those on the top marginal tax rate will go from paying just less than one third of all tax in this country, to slightly over, 36 per cent. So it’s fair too.
A strong economy has enabled us to invest in the essentials that Australians rely on and we have a plan to keep investing in those essentials for the future. I want more Australians to be able to realise the dream of owning their own home. We have already put strong foundations in place. A strong economy is of course critical to that.
There were 112,000 new first homeowners last year. That is a nine year high and the measure so far have included allowing those first home savers to use their super fund to get a tax cut on their home deposit savings. Meaning they can save up to 30 per cent faster with exactly the same, what they’re taking out of their pay each week. Restricting foreign ownership in new developments in real estate and real estate more generally. We established the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation that is directly lending money at low rates to support affordable housing projects by community housing organisations. We are making more government land available, particularly Defence land, for new housing, including more affordable housing projects. But we need to go further.
It’s hard to save for a deposit, especially with the banks pulling back and larger deposits of 20 per cent now being standard. It’s not getting easier. We want to help make the dreams of first home buyers a reality. So we have decided to go further at this election and pledge to adopt a scheme, similar to what has been running for our Kiwi cousins in New Zealand for many years now.
Our new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme I announce today, will enable first home owners to buy their deposit of down to 5 per cent. This will make a big difference, cutting the time taken to save for a deposit by at least half and more. This will work by the Government’s National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation that I established as Treasurer, supporting these first home borrowers. That will include guaranteeing to approved applicants, the additional loan amount taken out by the first home buyer, to cover the difference between the lower deposit of say 5 per cent and the 20 per cent of the value of the property. This scheme would give preference to working with the smaller banks and the non-bank lenders, to boost competition. Of course, the lenders will still be there once lending the money. They will still do all the normal checks on the borrowers to make sure they can meet their repayments. This isn’t free money. This scheme will be available to first home buyers with an income of up to $125,000 or a couple with $200,000, where they are both first home buyers. The support would stay in place for the life of the loan and when they refinance in a few years time, when the equity increases – which it would under a Liberal and National Government – then that is when the guarantee ceases. But they have their first leg on the first rung of the ladder.
And you know, when you give Australians a go, they’ll get a go and they will have a go. This scheme will complement our First Home Super Saver scheme that remains and all the state based schemes as well. It will start from the beginning of next year.
And I’ll tell you what we won’t do; what we won’t do is undermine the value of the home you have saved so hard to buy.
What we won’t do is undervalue the home that you are paying your mortgage on or you’re out there trying to save your for first home and are renting. We won’t put up your rent, by making the sweeping changes to negative gearing, abolishing it as we know it and increasing capital gains tax by 50 per cent, as Labor will. The last thing Australians – as Josh was saying – who are own their own home or are paying a mortgage, need, is for the home value to fall and the rent to increase. But that’s what Bill Shorten has got planned with his housing tax.
He refused the other night to rule that out and you know why? Because he knows what the impact will be and he will not tell you what the price of Bill Shorten is.
Our plan for future health services builds on our record of investment so far. I commend Greg Hunt and Sussan Ley and Peter Dutton for the work they have done to achieve this, a 60 per cent increase in hospital funding since we came to Government. A record in Medicare bulk-billing rates of nearly 90 per cent. Medicare has never been stronger or better-funded than under this Liberal National Government.
More than 2,000 medicine subsidised to provide affordable access through our Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. When Labor ran out of money they stopped listing medicines. A doubling in the number of older Australians receiving in-home aged care packages and aged care funding up by 50 per cent and growing by $1 billion every single year. Us having the courage to put the aged care system to a Royal Commission to ensure that we value our older Australians and they get the best possible care, because we love them so dearly. Our extra $31 billion.
Karen likes that one, so does Christian. Our extra $31 billion for public hospitals over the next five years, which is in our Budget, is equivalent to over 46 million emergency department services, 75 million outpatient services, and on 1.1 million knee replacements. Over 35 million life-changing diagnostic scans is our future plan, including MRI, PET and CT scans, including for breast cancer. It will be funded by Medicare, up by 21 million under Labor. 3,000 additional doctors and 3,000 additional nurses and allied health professionals are being placed in rural general practice over the next decade through our $550 million Stronger Rural Health strategy.
And today I make this pledge and I challenge Bill Shorten to do the same; I pledge to the 13.5 million Australians with private health insurance, there will be no private health insurance cuts under my Government.
I will not punish Australians for taking responsibility for themselves and their families.
Friends, one in four young Australians experience mental ill-health each year. Suicide is the leading cause of death of our young people. Jenny and I are making a commitment, I am making this commitment; to combat youth suicide as a national priority for our nation. It’s a curse on our nation and it’s a curse we must break together. 428 young lives lost last year and with every life lost – and we have all been touched by this in some way, shape, or form – countless more lives shattered or damaged in their wake.
When Josh got up and announced the Budget, he knows there was no measure that I was more passionate about than what has now become the $500 million for youth mental health and suicide prevention. With 30 new Headspace centres. Headspace, that was established by the Liberal and National Government. More counselling, particularly after disasters. Reaching out particularly into rural and regional Australia at the moment ,where we know they’re hurting badly. Better treatment for early psychosis, building up the mental health of our young people so they grow up healthy. More support, particularly for Indigenous youth, out there where we know they’re taking their own lives and reducing the waiting list for these services. I want young Australians to be full of hope and living their life positively for the future. I am on a mission on this and, as Jenny knows, when I get determined I get very determined.
For women’s health today, for mums, I am pleased to announce $53 million in new measures today. A new mums, dads and bubs check to boost perinatal support and tackle postnatal depression. This is a cause as close to my heart and our family, as it has hit close to home. Too many parents have suffered in silence. We’ll give patients with lymphedema access to specialised, subsidised compression garments. We’ll deliver extra funding for the Australian Breastfeeding Association to help support mothers and new research efforts, to assist in the support of the health of women and babies. I know that Katie Allen, our candidate here in Higgins, she loves this.
And I need Katie Allen, I need Dr Katie Allen, as my member for Higgins.
To help me implement this plan. If you care about the children, our children’s health, vote for Dr Katie Allen and get her on my team next Saturday.
Having fully funded the NDIS and increased the number of Australians supported by the NDIS from 30,000 to 280,000, my pledge and my commitment is to increase the number of Australians supported by the NDIS over the next five years to more than half a million Australians.
This will occur of course, alongside the Royal Commission we established into the abuse of Australians with a disability. You know those, as I said before, who have served our country and defended our values will always be an abiding focus for a Coalition Government. Our plan for veterans announced in this campaign, includes our investment in six veterans wellbeing hubs around the country, including up at The Oasis in Townsville, where I couldn’t be more proud of our candidate Phil Thompson and the service that he’s given to our country and the service he now wants to give to our country in the Parliament. Or down there at the old Repat Hospital site in Adelaide which Nicole Flint has been such an advocate for, down there in Boothby and I know our South Australians with Birmo here are thrilled about that.This builds on an almost $500 million investment in Veteran Centric Reform that has already cut waiting times for permanent impairment on the support they receive, by almost half.
But I know and we all know and I want to assure you that Darren Chester knows, we know that that still is not good enough. We have to double down on ensuring our vets just don’t get the memorials to their service that we bow to every Anzac Day and Armistice Day, but they get the support each and every day as living memorial because they fought for us and they deserve it.
Now to ensure young Australians reach their full potential, we will continue to make record investments in education, won’t we Dan? From early childhood education to university, already our Government has increased funding for state public schools – you won’t hear this at a Labor launch – our Government has increased funding for state public schools, by more than 60 per cent.
Over the next decade primary and secondary school funding will grow by 62 per cent on average for the almost 4 million students we expect to be in our government, Catholic and Independent schools. Our $310 billion investment which is backed by a stronger economy, not higher taxes, in Australian schools is about ensuring students and parents and teachers have the information and the quality tools they need for a world-class education system. In education, it’s not just about how much you spend, it’s about how you spend it. And you spend it well you’ve got to know how to manage money.
Our national plan also recognises the importance of infrastructure to people’s daily lives and to the economy. Our infrastructure plan is part of a broader plan to manage population growth. Alan Tudge and David Coleman work together with our entire Cabinet to pull together a population plan that in addition to infrastructure, includes keeping migration under control, which we must do. Investing in programmes to ensure we support migrants to settle successfully here in our country and maintain social cohesion in our communities that is the pride of the world. Working with state governments as we did, as I brought Premiers and Chief Ministers together at the end of last year, to have a population planning growth framework which means we can plan better for population growth.
That’s why we will keep building the infrastructure Australia needs. The new Western Sydney Nancy Bird Walton International Airport.
In my home town and Marise’s home town particularly in Western Sydney, the Bruce Highway up there in Queensland, the Melbourne Airport Rail Link here in Melbourne, the Tonkin Highway, the North South Corridor upgrade, the new Bridgewater Bridge, the Buntine Highway in the NT and Sarah, the Fast Rail between Geelong and Melbourne.
So all those Cats supporters can get up to the game and back a lot quicker in the future and of course our freight lines as Michael knows and our entire teams knows, are so important to keeping our rural and regional economies getting their product to market. It’s also why we are today and I know that Michael Sukkar will be pleased about this in particular, but as will Alan Tudge and the Speaker Tony Smith, today we are renewing an upgrade our commitment to the East West Link.
You know, it’s Ok, it’s Ok; Labor may choose to continue to ignore residents of eastern Melbourne. That’s, well, I’m not going to pick a fight with them about that. They’ve made their choices about who they’re going to stand by.
We’re not going to ignore the residents of eastern Melbourne, struggling with road congestion. We are going to stand by them, as these three particular Members always have. By increasing our commitment, the way Josh set out this morning, this project can proceed without the need for the State Government to divert resources from the many other projects that they’ve identified. So, taking no issue with that. But you know, when I’m going to invest federal funds in these projects at a state level, it needs to add value. I’m not just going to fund things the state Government is already doing. I’m just not going to subsidise States for things they’re already doing. They should get on and do those things. I welcome that and I will work with every single State and Territory Premier and Chief Minister, regardless of what side of politics they come from, to ensure we deliver our infrastructure plans. That is very much what is motivating me today with our Members to put it forward in this way. I accept that the Victorian Government has not identified the East West link as a priority for them. So just let us get on and do it. How about that?
Of course there’s funding for targeted urban congestion projects, like widening Racecourse Road out there at Pakenham and there’s commuter car parks in Hurstville and Gosford and in Penrith, there’s bridge renewals up there in Brisbane and there’s the third crossing up there on the Hawksbury in NSW. There’s $100 billion of projects going forward. There’s regional roads, there’s airports, we’re building on the $46 billion already invested by our Government.
And our $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package is taking real action on climate change.
I welcome Melissa and together with Angus, we worked together on this package on the Climate Solutions Package, real action on climate change with practical emission reducing activities, especially working with farmers and Indigenous communities that will meet and beat our Kyoto 2020 targets by 367 million tonnes. We will also meet our 2030 targets as well with this clear plan we’ve set out, reducing – and for those who say; ‘Is it enough’? We will reduce our emissions per capita by half and our emissions intensity by two thirds. That’s real action on climate change that we are doing our bit as we should as a global citizen, but I’m not going to do it and put our kids economic future at risk.
And I’ll tell you another thing; I’m not going to do it by telling you what car you can drive. I wonder if he’s looked up the price yet.
I’m not going to do it by forcing our hard-working companies up there, whether they’re in Central and North Queensland, or down in Tasmania, or out there at Wodonga where I was with Rod Finnemore’s trucking company the other day, or over in the resources industry in Western Australia, I’m not going to tell those companies that they have to send billions of dollars offshore in those foreign carbon credits. Money, billions, that should be spent here on our jobs on our wage increases for Australians. On our greater and stronger businesses.
I’m not going to do it by sending money offshore to make someone else’s economy stronger. Our investments in here Australia will be about making our economy stronger.
So we’ve presided over record investment in renewable energy generation, $25 billion slated to occur from 2018 to 2020. Record levels of investment in renewables in this country. There are now 2.1 million households with solar panels, that’s up from less than 1 million when we were first elected. I don’t know how Bill Shorten has gotten around the country and he hasn’t seen 2.1 million houses. We have saved the Great Barrier Reef – well done to Greg Hunt particularly on his work when he was Environment Minister – taking it off the endangered list.
We’ve invested record funds in researching and protecting its future thanks to Josh’s time as environment minister. And our local communities environment fund, another initiative of Melissa’s, the $100 million Environment Restoration Fund, are ensuring we’re supporting practical works to improve the quality of local waterways, parks and beaches, which is where we live. The girls will be happy to know we’re getting to the end of the speech darlings.
You’ve been very patient. Finally, Australians know that the Liberal and Nationals can always be trusted to keep them safe and our borders secure.
I pay credit to Tony Abbott for that, I pay credit to Peter Dutton who is here today and has been keeping that going, you’ve done an outstanding job Peter.
I tell you what, I know who’s going to be protecting the borders in my Government next Sunday if we’re elected. Bill Shorten still can’t tell you.
Our 328 million women’s safety package and I want to acknowledge Kelly O’Dwyer who has done great work on this, means ore shelters, more front-line services for women in these situations. Legal changes, well done to Christian Porter for working with that element of the programme. Domestic violence leave legislated nd cultural change that, together, we all must continue to lead. Now, that brings our total investment in tackling the scourge of family violence, which is a bipartisan issue, this isn’t a partisan comment, we’re all working together on this, to more than $840 million. We’re going to accelerate that work further in the next term under my leadership.
We have a plan and Mitch knows all about this, to keep our kids safe online. Ensuring the big social media and technology companies are subject to the same rules and responsibilities that apply in the physical world. They must be and if re-elected, I’ll be taking that campaign that we’ve already begun to the next G20 Leader’s meeting up there in Japan in just a few weeks. So I’m asking you to send me there with a mission, to ensure that the big social media companies do the right thing by our kids and by our community.
And our security agencies will always get the resources and the laws that they need to keep Australians safe from terrorism. These agencies have thwarted 15 major terrorist attacks. They are modern heroes and we thank them for everything they’ve done to keep us safe.
Operation Sovereign Borders, I never get tired of referring to that because it remains one of our Government’s signature achievements. It has been a privilege to have been a part of it, with so many others, as I said before. But Australians know this; only the Liberals and Nationals could have stopped the boats. And only the Liberals and Nationals can be trusted to ensure they remain stopped.
Our Defence Forces can also continue to rely on the Liberals and Nationals. We set our commitment to restore Defence spending to 2 per cent, from the 1.56 per cent – pre Second World War levels, where the Labor Party left it. To get it back to 2 per cent of GDP, we said we’d do that and we will be doing it three years earlier than we promised in 2020-21. And our plan will grow the permanent ADF work force our Defence workforce, to 62,400 under our future plan over the decade and more than that, provide them with a capability and equipment and the support they need to do the job.
So in conclusion, with a stronger economy, the Liberals and the Nationals will deliver on our plan to create a 1.25 million more jobs and better paid jobs over the next five years. We’ll maintain the Budget surpluses and pay down debt. Deliver real tax relief for families and for small, hardworking businesses. Will guarantee increased funding for schools, hospitals, medicines and roads and keep Australians safe and keep our borders secure. And we’ll do that, as Josh said on Budget night, without increasing your taxes.
So the election, friends, is about a choice. The choice of who you can trust to keep the promise of Australia, to all Australians as Prime Minister. Myself or Bill Shorten.
The choice between a Government that knows how to manage money, has returned the Budget to surplus and will now pay down debt.
Or Bill Shorten and Labor, whose reckless spending and higher taxes will put all of that risk, at the worst possible time. There are storm clouds and tensions ahead. The choice between a Government that will ensure you keep more of what you earn, or Bill Shorten and Labor that will hit you and weaken our economy which impacts all 25 million Australians with $387 billion in new and higher taxes.
The choice between a stronger economy under my Government, that can guarantee funding, real funding, for hospitals, schools and roads, and Labor who always runs out of money and always comes after yours.
It’s the choice between a Prime Minister in myself who just wants to back, acknowledge and cheer on the decent and simple and honest aspirations of Australians – and Bill Shorten, who just wants to tax all of those aspirations more.
So, together with my whole team, we’re asking Australians for your support next Saturday, to vote Liberal and to vote Nationals, so together we can build our economy, to secure your future and so we can keep the promise of Australia to Australians, in this generation and the next. Thank you very much.