Prime Minister’s Speech – The measure of progress is in the years

The Prime Minister delivered a landmark speech in Adelaide this week. In it, she articulated the key policy challenges Australia faces, what drives her as Prime Minister and her vision for Australia.

The speech outlined five goals: ‘Increased prosperity, sustainability, fairness, governing for all Australians, and keeping Australia strong in the world’.  The Prime Minister stated that her Government is committed to long term, consultative reform, saying: “I chose my words carefully when I said I would walk the reform road”.

The Prime Minister discussed at length the need for Australia to adopt a carbon price in order to ensure better energy security, lower carbon pollution, and lower energy prices.  She also reaffirmed the Government’s market-based approach to water rights.

Below are some extracts from the Prime Minister’s speech. The full transcript is available here.

What drives the Prime Minister:

“Hard work.  Education.  Respect. And when I think about policies and politics, those values come back to me all the time.”

What the Prime Minister says will focus her Government:

“I will not let this nation drift into the future and be mugged by change.  We will plan for it, prepare for it and prosper. We have a strong platform to build on.

As Prime Minister, I have chosen five goals to aim for. Increased prosperity … sustainability … and fairness. Govern for all Australians.  And stay strong in the world. That’s the measure of progress. As I lead, I will ask: is Australia reaching these five goals?”

The Prime Minister explained why a carbon price is important for Australia, and the advantages of a market based system:

“We want to grow our economy without growing our pollution.

We want more jobs and higher incomes … without putting out more carbon and higher emissions.

Because carbon pricing puts a dollar value on cutting pollution, it allows the market to find the cheapest sources of emissions reduction.

This means it can deliver the greatest reduction for the least cost.

That is why the best way to cut carbon pollution is with market-based tools.”

The Prime Minister also focused on water policy, articulating the policy logic of her Government’s position:

“My Government’s approach to water allocations is consistent with our approach of market-based reforms.

Putting a dollar value on water rights has given water rights-holders a valuable asset, as well as giving them greater flexibility and choice in their own decisions.

But it has also created a market incentive to return water to the river in more cost-effective ways.

In time, the Basin Plan will set how much water is to be returned to the river.  This is where the market mechanisms will come in to play.

Because we will have a price for water, we will have a way of assessing what is the best and cheapest way to return water to the river.

We can compare the economic cost of some buybacks with their social and environmental costs and benefits.

And we can compare the economic cost of infrastructure and other water savings proposals with their social and environmental costs and benefits as well.”

The Prime Minister concluded her speech by saying that her Government will be:

“Methodical.  Making steady progress on our plans, day by day, week by week.  Working hard for all Australians, wherever they live.

Modernising.  Preparing Australia for the long-term with modern market-based solutions. Carefully weighing the hard decisions, at the right time, for the right reasons.

Driven by our values and our vision. Hard work.  A fair go through education.  Respect. Opportunity for all.  And always keeping our economy strong.”