PRIME MINISTER-ELECT TONY ABBOTT SECURES A LANdSLIDE VICTORY FOR THE CONSERVATIVE NATIONAL LIBERAL COALITION, STATING THAT “AUSTRALIA IS UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT AND OPEN FOR BUSINESS”
The return of the coalition after seven years in opposition will see significant lobbying activity take place in the nation’s capital of Canberra as a sea change of policy direction takes place.
The Coalition is expected to focus on sustaining the Australian economic miracle and, therefore, notwithstanding its increased headlining engagement internationally, in the next few years it will be the economy where the main focus will rest.
The main planks of economic policy will be:
- Repeal of the widely unpopular carbon tax, which has been seen as holding back the resources sector and increasing living costs through indirect taxation for Australians
- Prime Minister-elect Abbott has said he wishes to be known as the ‘infrastructure prime minister.’ As such, road and rail investments are expected to increase significantly under his leadership. In two years’ time Australia will be on track to export twice the amount of liquefied natural gas compared to its closest international competitor. However, the costs of getting LNG to port have led to an increase in overall costs, which endangers Australia’s export competitiveness. Accelerating infrastructure development is aimed at fixing this short- to medium-term problem.
- The Coalition has committed to returning the federal budget to surplus as soon as 2016- 2017 Australia enjoys an enviable AAA credit rating, a booming resources-led economy, and has been insulated from the GFC mainly because of its significant engagement in South East Asia and its rapidly growing role as a business hub for the entire region.
- Labor’s planned carbon emission’s cap and trade system will be abandoned and in its place a ‘Direct Action Plan’ on climate change, similar to President Obama’s national plan, will be rolled out.
- A newly established Audit Commission will look at cutting waste across government.
- The Coalition is committed to the continuing rollout of the national high-speed broadband network across the world’s only nation continent. It has argued that a more cost effective rollout is possible without jeopardizing quality.
- New Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced that Australian ambassador to the United States, Labor’s Kim Beazley, is to continue in that role.
- As Labor leader Kevin Rudd steps down in favor of a new generation of leadership, the swing to the Coalition nationally is 3 percent, as Labor secures 47 percent of the two party preferred vote to the Coalition’s winning 53 percent.
- Mining magnate Clive Palmer is elected to the House of Representatives as leader of the Palmer United Party (PUP). The fledgling PUP also secures significant voting numbers in the resource-rich State of Queensland.
- It is expected that the lower house, the Senate, will see an unprecedented number of Independent members, which will make management of government business in the lower chamber that much more less certain.
- The prime minister-elect will lead Australia in its role as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in January and will chair the sanctions committees on the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Iran during its one-month tenure as president of the Security Council. Australia will have ‘pen holder’ responsibility in respect of Afghanistan, meaning it will draft Security Council agreements relating to the UN involvement after American and allied troops substantially reduce their presence in the country.
- The prime minister-elect will host the 2014 G20 meeting in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, enhancing its crucial Asian role in particular.