Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is beginning his election campaign before the starter pistol is fired with a tour of the country to promote the Coalition’s ‘‘real solutions for all Australians’’.
Mr Abbott began his mini-campaign with a rally for about 300 party faithful in western Sydney yesterday.
But Labor said the Coalition plan contained no real policy or detail of budget cuts to make the promises come true, and was sceptical about how long Mr Abbott’s positive transformation would last.
In the heartland of Howard’s battlers, Mr Abbott appeared keen to ditch the ‘‘Dr No’’ tag Labor had given him, talking up his ‘‘normal’’ family life.
‘‘We’ve struggled with the school fees, we’ve struggled with the hospital bills,’’ he told a US presidential-style rally.
‘‘We know what it is like not to be sure whether you’ve got enough money in your bank account at the end of the month.’’
He described Australia as ‘‘a great country, a great people, shame about the government’’.
The next federal poll would be the most important election in a generation, and 2013 the year Australians rediscovered ‘‘their best selves’’, Mr Abbott told the rally.
‘‘We have to have more freedom, that’s what we have in the marrow of our bones, that’s what’s in the DNA of the Liberal Party.’’
The Opposition Leader outlined in general terms the Coalition’s intention to cut taxes, abolish the carbon and mining taxes, boost productivity and slash red tape.
He touched on his ‘‘fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme’’ and border security.
Appealing to the key western Sydney voters, Mr Abbott promised to get the WestConnex motorway linking western Sydney and the CBD up and running within 12 months of coming to power.
The Coalition’s 50-page policy document, Our Plan: Real Solutions for all Australians, launched yesterday, commits $10billion to infrastructure projects in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania.
It is stamped ‘‘fully costed – budgeted’’ throughout, although there is no detail about where the few specific dollar figures mentioned would come from.
Senior Labor minister Anthony Albanese called on the opposition to detail before the election what cuts it would make instead of leaving it to a post-poll commission of audit. ‘‘What Tony Abbott has done is just reinforce, by having a so-called policy launch without policies, that he is just a negative man,’’ he said.