I’m really proud to be here with Sussan Ley, who’s been a dear friend of mine for the last 20 years.
We live in the best country in the world. I want our country to support aspiration and to reward hard work. To take proper care of those Australians who short term or long term can’t take care of themselves. We have a rich and proud indigenous heritage and a migrant story the envy of the world. We are aligned with countries of similar values, we always have been, and that alliance as we know is more important than ever.
Our strength to the Australian people is as the best party to keep our country safe and to keep our economy strong, so that we can afford to pay for the essential services.
By the time of the next election in 2025, we will have presented a plan which will clean up Labor’s inevitable mess and lay out our own vision. We won’t be Labor lite. We will propose strong policy to make the lives of Australians better and to provide more security to them. Our policies will be squarely aimed at the forgotten Australians, in the suburbs, across regional Australia, the families and small businesses whose lot the Labor Party will have made more difficult.
Under my leadership the Liberal Party will be true to our values that have seen us win successive elections over the course of the last quarter of a century.
Make no mistake, and Australians understand this; the next three years under Labor is going to be tough for the Australian people. Already they are breaking promises and foreshadowing policy shifts. They weren’t ready to govern and we are already seeing their inexperience on display.
Sussan and I lead a team which has the experience to make the right calls on supporting government policies that are in our national interest; and standing against those that are not in our national interest.
I want to acknowledge my predecessor Scott Morrison, his wife Jenny and their girls for the enormous contribution that they have made, not just to our country, but to the Liberal Party as well. We wish them all the very best in the next stage of their life.
I have held a marginal seat for two decades and I know how to work with people and how to achieve outcomes for local communities. I know how to campaign. I have been the Assistant Treasurer to Peter Costello, and held Ministries in the Howard, Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison Governments. I’ve served on the National Security Committee and the Expenditure Review Committee and the leadership group in two governments. My greatest honour was to represent the men and women of the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Signals Directorate, the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, the Australian Border Force and AUSTRAC.
I grew up in a working class suburb with two loving parents who were hard working small business people. My parents worked hard for every dollar and we weren’t financially well off. I started work part time in a butcher shop after school, and until I started university. I saved and bought a house at 19 and built a business from nothing to ultimately employ 40 people. I was a police officer for 10 years. I have dedicated my working life to public service and I am passionate about the protection of children and women, particularly the protection against sexual assault and harassment.
I owe everything of course to my family, to my friends and community; and of course the Liberal Party and my colleagues for the incredible honour to be standing here with you today.
As Prime Minister you need strength of character and a relentless resolve to see our country through the good and the bad times. They are among the character traits that I bring to this job.