Abbott comes out swinging in campaign

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has urged Australians to change the government, saying only the coalition would end the spin and incompetence of the Rudd-Gillard team.

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“Australia will be at its best when all of our people are empowered to be at their best,” he told reporters in Brisbane.

“But the only way to change for the better is to change the government.”

A change of government would “end the spin and incompetence which he said had marred the Rudd-Gillard government and which had worsened over the three weeks since Ms Gillard ousted Mr Rudd as prime minister.

Mr Abbott said it was hard to trust Ms Gillard.

“Why should people trust a new prime minister who said she’d fix the messes her own government created,” he said.

“She failed to do so and is now rushing to the polls before she has established her credentials to govern.”

The coalition would respect the environment, but not at the expense of Australia’s economy.

“You don’t help the environment by damaging the economy,” Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott asked why should people trust Ms Gillard when even her Mr Rudd could not.

“Why should people trust a government that can’t say who would be the foreign minister, who would be the defence minister and who would be the finance minister if the government is re-elected,” he said.

“And why should people trust a prime minister who can’t guarantee that she would serve a full term because she can’t be sure that the factions would let her.”

Mr Abbott said there was a better way and the coalition would stand up for real action and respect the taxpayers dollar.

“We know that households and businesses have had to tighten their belts and we will make government tighten its belt too,” he said.

Mr Abbott said the campaign would not be about “glib slogans”, alluding to Ms Gillard’s repeated use of the term “moving forward” in her earlier speech.

“The prime minister wants to move forward because the recent past is so littered with her own failures,” he said.

“If we stay with Labor we’ll be moving forward, to more debt, more taxes, more spending and more boats.

“Labor needs to move out for our country to move on.”

Mr Abbott says the coalition “stands for real action”.

“We’ll end the waste, repay the debt, we’ll stop the new taxes and we’ll stop the boats”.

Mr Abbott said all coalition commitments made during the election campaign would be “fully costed and fully funded”.

“We will deliver on them,” he said.

Mr Abbott said he was determined to win the election, but admitted it would be hard to beat a government which had only been in power for one term.

He predicted a “filthy” campaign from Labor, saying it would throw the kitchen sink at the coalition.

“I expect this to be a filthy campaign from the Labor Party but as far as I’m concerned it will be hard, but it will be fair and it will be clean.”

Mr Abbott said he and the coalition had learnt from past mistakes.

“We will be different and better,” he said.

“I have well and truly assimilated the mistakes that were made by the previous government just as I’ve well and truly learnt from the mistakes that have been made by the current government.”

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