As 2016 draws to a close it is a good time to reflect on the year that has passed.
Let me begin by thanking you for your hard work and tireless dedication to our Party and our values. Without your support we would not have been able to achieve all that we have this year.
There was no clearer display of your dedication than during the 2016 Federal Election. This election was critically important to Australia’s future and many thousands of our members rallied across the country to ensure that the Liberal Party was re-elected.
I am so grateful to everyone who handed out at street stalls, made calls to their neighbours, stood up to the bullies on the other side, and manned the booths on election day. Our victory is your victory.
It was your passion and commitment that got us over the line.
From the time of our Party’s foundation by Sir Robert Menzies, we have stood up for hard-working Australians and their values of freedom, enterprise and reward for effort.
We believe the role of government is to help enable Australians to do their best. Our opponents on the left believe government’s role is to tell people what is best.
We stand for freedom of choice, having a go, and getting ahead with hard work whether on the land, in business, in a profession or public service or the myriad of occupations and vocations that our members pursue.
Our values are timeless - but they have never been more timely than in this time of change, challenge and opportunity.
The Government is focused on delivering for you and since the election we have been working hard and governing in your interests.
The 45th Parliament has already achieved much.
We have passed 48 bills, including those that took us to the double dissolution election: the Australian Building and Construction Commission restoration Bill and the Registered Organisation Commission legislation. The restoration of the ABCC will benefit the one million Australians and 300,000 small businesses working in the construction sector. The Registered Organisations Commission puts the interests of hard-working Australians ahead of the self-interest of union bosses.
We have delivered $21 billion in budget repair. We are working to secure a future that does not burden our children and grandchildren with a mountain of debt.
We delivered income tax cuts for more than half a million middle income Australians by ensuring that they were not pushed into a higher tax bracket.
We have expanded on our big export trade deals by entering into an enhanced strategic partnership with Singapore, delivering $2 billion in new investment in Queensland and more opportunities for our exporters.
We amended the Fair Work Act to protect Victoria’s volunteers firefighters, the CFA, from a Labor-backed union takeover by the United Firefighters Union. Earlier in the year, we put 30,000 owner truck drivers back in business through the abolition of Bill Shorten’s onerous and unnecessary Tribunal.
We have secured our borders - it has been more than 850 days since a successful boat arrival. But we must ensure that our laws continue to deter people smugglers and their evil trade. We are progressing legislation that will prevent unauthorised arrivals from ever getting a visa.
We are also cleaning up Labor’s legacy of offshore detention centres by reaching a one-off arrangement with the US to resettle refugees from Nauru and Manus.
And in the last sitting fortnight, we passed three key counter-terrorism bills.
Our priorities next year are to deliver on important reforms, to continue the task of budget repair, drive growth and jobs and guarantee funding for health, schools and vital infrastructure.
Through our pro-growth, pro-investment policies, we will continue to provide the strong leadership Australia needs to navigate global economic headwinds.
There is still so much more to do, but when I look to 2017 I am filled with optimism.
Thank you again for your support in 2016.
From Lucy and me, and our family, to you and yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a relaxing and safe holiday and a 2017 filled with peace, happiness and love.