A day after citing disloyalty and bad blood in federal Liberal Party ranks, Tony Abbott insists he isn’t going anywhere.
The former prime minister, in an address to the Institute of Public Affairs in Brisbane on Tuesday, outlined his fresh battle lines and noted the despondency in politics here and around the world.
“We need to make Australia work again, because our country plainly is not working as it should,” Mr Abbott said.
“We are letting ourselves down. We are not what we should be; and we know it. That’s why most of the attempted pep talks sound so hollow.”
‘No intention to leave public life’
Mr Abbott argued Australia had an abundance of energy resources, yet some of the highest power prices in the world.
Despite billions being poured into education recent schooling results placed Australia behind Kazakhstan.
Mr Abbott assured his audience he would not disappear from the limelight.
“I’m in no hurry to leave public life because we need strong liberal conservative voices now, more than ever,” he said.
In what appeared to be a dig at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Abbott cited a John Howard maxim: while compromise was necessary in politics, conviction was the foundation of success.
He renewed his call for a freeze of the renewable energy target, but added a moratorium on new wind farms.
Call to halt migration
Mr Abbott again pushed the need for a slowdown in immigration, claiming it would address rising house prices and slow wages growth.
“It would give harder-to-assimilate recent migrants more time to integrate with the wider Australian community before many more came in,” he said.
“It would reassure Australians that our country is in our own hands and is being run in our best interests.”
Mr Abbott outlined his plans for a shake-up of how the Senate works, something he labelled the “mother of all reforms”.
He wants a referendum to reform the upper house, warning it has become a house of rejection, not review.
“All that can readily be passed today is legislation that a grab-bag of political competitors can be bought off to support,” he said.
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