Australian Opposition leader outlines party's vision

18:30, August 17, 2010      

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Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott poses with his wife after a formal speech at the National Press Club in Canberra Aug. 17, 2010. Abbott delivers the last formal speech before the general election in Canberra on Tuesday. The general election of Australia will kick off on Aug. 21, 2010. (Xinhua/Huang Xiaoyong)

In his final address to the Australia's National Press Club before the election, Opposition leader Tony Abbott on Tuesday outlined his vision for Australia as an "opportunity society".

In a speech that began with attacking Labor for waste, mismanagement and being controlled by the "faceless men" before moving to his positive vision for Australia, Abbott enunciated the four focuses of his campaign: pledges to end the waste, pay back the debt, stop the big new mining taxes and turn back the asylum seeker boats.

Meanwhile, Abbott has outlined his vision for Australia. If elected, Abbott promised to pick up the phone on day one of his prime ministership to get the Nauru asylum seekers' processing center re-opened, and to release the details of the Henry tax review within a month.

He also highlighted plans to improve productivity and participation by encouraging seniors back into the workforce and paying young people to take a job.

Abbott in his speech warned that Labor and the Greens would move to introduce a carbon tax immediately if Labor won government, and that the mining tax Labor planned to introduce likely be much bigger than outlined.

During the question and answer period, Abbott rejected suggestions that electricity prices could rise without the certainty a carbon tax would give power generators.

A Coalition government would, he said, build on the reforms of the last 30 years and protect crucial industries like the mining sector.

"Even before Labor's mining tax has been implemented its already done massive damage. In just one year, Australia has plunged 13 places in the world rankings as a safe place to do business in mining," he said, adding that countries including Argentina, Botswana and Ghana were now considered safer places to invest in minerals.

The Coalition also signaled it would also look at issuing infrastructure bonds to fund major building projects, rather than increasing government debt.

The infrastructure measure was the only new element of the Coalition's economic action plan, unveiled Tuesday, which focuses on getting rid of debt and bringing the budget back to surplus by 2012.

Federal Greens leader Bob Brown will address the National Press Club on Wednesday, while Prime Minister Julia Gillard will speak on Thursday.

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