11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007
THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
Liberal Party National Convention Address
Sunday, 8 June 2003
11.25 am (Central Time)
SUBJECTS: Introduction of Prime Minister
Prime Minister and Mrs Howard, Federal President Shane Stone, Federal Executive, fellow Members of Parliament, Delegates, one and all.
This has been a fabulous Convention. The best thing about it, unlike the Labor Party, it is a Convention that ended without one fist fight.
Our political opponents have not had a good week. In fact, looking at the Opposition has reminded me very much of a bad reality TV show. A kind of cross between the Osbournes and Big Brother. You put a dysfunctional family together, you put a television camera and you try and think who is the worst. You put in a few sons of Whitlam Government Ministers, a couple of factional bosses, a few trade union leaders, three roosters, two planespotters, somebody that is on a wanted list from the Sydney taxi drivers, and next Monday is eviction night! Who do you think should be voted out of the ALP Big Brother household? If we had our way it would be all of them! Now we see two sons of Whitlam Government Ministers fight for the right to implement the Whitlam Government legacy - unfunded promises, big deficits, higher inflation, higher interest rates to take up where Whitlam left off. We say, no Beazley, no Crean, no Labor, none of them!
When we had our last Convention three years ago, it was before September 11th, it was before Australia's commitment to Afghanistan, it was before Bali, and it was before Australia's commitment to Iraq. Let's make no bones about it, the world has changed in a very dramatic way over the last three years. And as we saw Australia confront these security challenges, we determined that we would strengthen our country. We need to pay great tribute to the leadership, which was shown by John Howard, particularly in relation to Australia's commitment to Iraq. This was not a popular commitment. It was something that the polls showed was opposed by a majority of Australians. It was something that many in the press were against. There were people in other countries around the world that did not share the same commitment to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. As usual, when a tough decision had to be made the Labor Party fell apart and refused to back the National interest. And I also pay tribute, of course, to people like the Foreign Minister, Alexander, and to Robert Hill the Defence Minister, but let's make no bones about this, this was the leadership of John Howard in relation to Iraq and Australia's commitment. He had the courage of his convictions to lead in this important respect and all Australians owe him a gratitude of debt for it.
The reason we gather as the Liberal Party is simply this, Australia needs good government. It is that simple. Because Australia needs good government, Australia needs a Liberal Government. That is why we are members of the Liberal Party. The people of Australia need good government. Because this government is determined to lead in relation to security and foreign affairs, because we have determined to run a strong economy to stare down the Asian financial crisis and the US recession. Because we have determined to retire $63 billion of Labor Party debt, and keep interest rates low, 1 ¼ million more Australians are now in work. There are tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of young Australians who have been able to buy a home with low interest rates. We have been able to make Australia strong. To stand against the buffeting winds of the Asian financial crisis and global insecurity. We have been able to reduce the debt costs of government interest so that we can put more of your taxpayers dollars into hospitals and schools and build a better future for our young people and look after our old. Because we have been able to run a strong economy we have given hundreds of thousands, millions of Australians better opportunities than they otherwise would have had. The chance of an apprenticeship, and literacy and numeracy and a house and a job, and all of those things that give families stability. That is what good government is all about, that is what Liberal Government is all about, will you welcome the Prime Minister to give his speech, the Honourable John Howard Prime Minister of Australia.