Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott Vow More Prosperity in New Year’s Messages

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By Erik Pineda | December 31, 2012 5:07 PM EST

Prime Minister Julia Gillard stressed on national unity while Opposition Leader Tony Abbott impressed upon Australians that the Coalition's economy-centric 2013 agenda is "the positive choice." The two leaders delivered their respective New Year's messages Monday morning.

In her message, the prime minister urged the nation to work as one, exhorting the public to "start 2013 with a resolution to embrace a renewed national spirit of unity and confidence."

"We have much to do and we will do it best by working together. I am determined that 2013 will be the year when we will together write the next great chapter in our nation's history," Ms Gillard said.

She further explained that work is underway for the Labor government to ramp up efforts that will improve the lot of many more Australians beginning next year, an election year that analysts said could see a change of government if the latest trend in national opinion polls is not dramatically altered.

Seemingly unfazed by the lead in poll numbers being enjoyed by the Coalition, Ms Gillard talked about "a renewed Australian spirit," in her message.

She pointed to a new Australian chapter, in which there will be "jobs, opportunity, a better education for our children and a better deal for Australians with disability."

"We are improving health care and aged care. We are tackling climate change and protecting our environment ... We have a clear plan for our nation's future in this century of growth in the region which we live," the prime minister said.

Ms Gillard allowed that the domestic economy is both robust and resilient but Australia needs to brace for the worst to come in light of the difficulties being faced by key economies around the world.

Mr Abbott, for his part, presented a possible Coalition government next year that would generate two million new employment opportunities en route to "a powerhouse economy."

"The Coalition will offer Australians this year to build a powerhouse economy through lower taxes, more efficient government and more productive businesses that will deliver more jobs, higher wages and better services for Australian families," Mr Abbott said.

He reiterated his claims that an Abbott Government is the positive choice for Australia, calling on everyone to "approach the coming year with confidence, knowing that we are a people who can rise to any challenge and that there is a better way for our country."

Mr Abbott hinted of his incredible vision for the nation, adding that "in the months ahead, I will be explaining those plans in detail."

"I want Australians to be optimistic about our country and their prospects," the Liberal leader said.

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