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Malcolm Turnbull’s Economic Narrative
People have been calling for the Prime Minister to make a major speech setting out the government’s economic agenda ever since he assumed office.

Last week he addressed ‘The Australian Financial Review’ conference on the economy and set out his vision for economic future.

In his opening statement he said that his government stood for opportunity and security and that a strong economy with high wages is the backbone of a free and just society.

According to Mr Turnbull, growth is based on productivity and the key drivers of productivity are deregulation, competition, innovation, consumer choice and open markets.

Because these are fundamental to growth, the government has placed great store on innovation to build on the drivers and on making Australian businesses more competitive by reducing the tax burden.

The Prime Minister argued that the Australian economy is in a precarious position and that it can only be restored to a position of strength if there is bipartisan agreement on budget repair and measures to restore its competitive advantage.

He told the AFR audience “We cannot afford an ideological, even evangelical embrace of policies that sound good but deliver bad outcomes.”

The Prime Minister went on to emphasise the importance of energy as an essential ingredient of Australia’s competitive edge.

He said that Australia has among the most expensive energy in the world, adding that this was a consequence of policies rather than a scarcity of resources.

He promised a national energy plan that was based on a dynamic market.

He also stressed the need for budget repair and for spending restraint even when the budget returned to surplus.

He said that it was important to reduce the cost of delivering government services.

The other plank of the government’s economic policy is infrastructure where it has a 15 year plan for spending which will be undertaken in conjunction with the private sector.

Unfortunately the Prime Minister is yet to outline his own economic philosophy and intellectual framework, at least in a way that resonates with middle Australia.

John McDonnell

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