John Howard addresses the nation:
Ladies and gentlemen this is to announce that while I am caretaker Prime Minister until November 24 I will no longer be leading the Liberal-National coalition as presumed prime ministerial candidate for the parliament that will be elected on that day. It is clear that the Australian people do not want me to lead the nation, and that I should have had the foresight and wisdom to realise that earlier.
All I can offer in my defence is that it is possible, in the thick of things, to lose perspective. To be represented as a genuine prospect for government, the liberal movement must be led by someone the Australian people believe can lead the country for all Australians. Clearly they no longer believe that of me.
Of course it will be said that this move is evidence of confusion and indecision on the part of the Liberal party. That must be faced. All I can say is that it was my determination to stay in power that brought us to this situation, and the new leader will be able to rule a line under my policies and go forward with a new vision.
Malcolm Turnbull, leader of the Liberal Party:
Thank you John. As the new leader of the Liberal-National coalition, I hope I can deliver a majority and be called on by the GG to form a government. I think Australians are mature enough to know that cabinet government obliges one to accept many things one would do otherwise, so I am here to tell you now that I will be setting a different agenda – a liberal agenda – grounded in this century not the last.
I believe we have erred in attacking the arbitration system, and WorkChoices will be replaced by a system which returns to the fairness of a mixed arbitration-contract system – without Labor’s surrender to an archaic version of it. The Iraq war has been a disaster and I will be informing President Bush and Al-Maliki that our troops will be withdrawn over the next six months.
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The culture wars are over – we’re a society of differing value systems and we have to get along together. Not everyone shares my passion for a republic, but everyone will get a chance to have their say on this and on the question of a new flag in two simple yes or no plebiscites that will also take place within six months of taking office. Skirmishes over the details of the history curriculum are less important than a better funded education system delivering better schooling.
Much of the best talent of my party has been ill-used due to factional fighting, and it’s time for a change over. As the leader has choice of ministry I can announce that Peter Costello, Tony Abbott and Alexander Downer will be returning to the backbench after many years’ excellent service. My new core team will benefit from the talents of Petro Georgiou, Marise Payne, Sophie Mirabella, Judi Moylan and others.
As opposed to Labor’s faction ridden tokenism, it will be a government in which women and people of non-Anglo background play a greater role than in any Australian government to date. As the country begins to be buffeted by an overheated global economy, decisive economic management will be required. My team offers that combined with a social vision that represents Australians as they are, not as ideologues of either left or right would want them to be. I thank you for your support.
Prove that I lie. Or that it can’t be done and I don’t know anything about constitutional law.