Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hounding Tony Abbott

On his Twitter account Prof. David Flint wrote
The right wing commentariat's unwise over-reaction to Prince Philip's AK helped trigger the spill motion 
and added this cover photo

Meanwhile Prime Minister Tony Abbott is in New Zealand, where he addressed the Australia-New Zealand leadership forum in Auckland:

"It is great to be here, it is a sign of the strength of the Trans-Tasman relationship that so many people at the summit of business and indeed of government are here today. I’m delighted to acknowledge my friend and colleague the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, the Minister for Trade and Investment, Andrew Robb, has spent much time here today and also with many of you over the last few days. We have Parliamentary Secretary Fletcher here as well and I should also acknowledge a former constituent of mine who left Australia to make good in New Zealand, a fellow called John Key. You have done quite well since you left my electorate, John.

"When you consider the relationship between Australia and New Zealand there are no two juridically separate entities anywhere in the world that are as close as our two countries. Yes, we are legally independent but we don’t feel like separate entities, we feel like family, not just distant cousins, we feel like close siblings. The problem with sibling relationships is that they can sometimes be taken for granted and the challenge for all of us is not to take the Australia-New Zealand relationship for granted just because Australians can get on a plane and come to New Zealand and Kiwis can get on a plane and come to Australia. That’s the challenge.

"I’ve got to say, John, that certainly since the advent of your government there has been a very great interest in New Zealand on the part of Australians. I think it would be fair to say that for the first time in many years – in recent years – the economic performance of New Zealand has been making Australians sit up and take notice. Any sense of superiority that might have been felt on one side of the Tasman certainly has been dispelled by the economic performance and indeed the governmental performance of New Zealand in recent times. I’m very conscious of the fact that over the last few years you have gradually taken the size of government from 35 per cent to 30 per cent of gross domestic product. A magnificent, practical demonstration in how to be a prime minister who doesn’t just believe in smaller government but delivers it and there are some lessons here for us in Australia.

"I’m conscious of the fact that while my Government has made a good start there is a way to go. I don’t want to underestimate just what good a start we have made. We’re releasing an intergenerational report in a week or so’s time and while the intergenerational report that we are releasing will reveal the ongoing budgetary challenge that Australia has, it will also demonstrate the progress that has been made in just 18 months.

"It’s not often that an Australian prime minister needs to stand before a New Zealand audience and trumpet Australia’s economic achievements, but you would allow me for a moment to do so and economic growth in Australia today is 2.7 per cent – not quite as good as yours, John but certainly a lot better than it was a year ago when it was just 1.9 per cent. Over the last 12 months, our export volumes are up seven per cent, our housing approvals are up nine per cent, consumer confidence is up, business formation is up, the number of new business registrations are at an all-time record high in Australia. All of this, in the end, feeds into economic growth which is the key to everyone’s success. ..."

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key friendlier with each other than some of their parties colleagues with them.

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