Australia PM Tony Abbott 'Rescuing the Country' as Budget Approval Looms in Senate

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By Reissa Su | July 15, 2014 5:37 PM EST

When Prime Minister Tony Abbott addressed the members of Liberal National Party on its annual state conference on July 13, he was warmly welcomed. His half-hour speech was all about the carbon tax repeal, border protection and the new Senate.

REUTERS/Stefan Postles/Pool
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott exchange documents after signing the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement and Agreement on the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology, in the Mural Hall at Parliament House in Canberra

While Mr Abbott received applause during his speech, a small group of protesters had formed outside and attempted to disrupt the prime minister's speech. 

In his speech, Mr Abbott had vowed to continue his push to repeal the Labour-imposed carbon tax. He said he was confident Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer will change his mind on July 15. The prime minister said his government "won't rest until the carbon tax is gone."

Mr Abbott reiterated that carbon tax adds 9 per cent to the power bills of Australians. He said carbon tax is a $9 billion "handbrake" on the Australian economy.

Much to the crowd's warm reception, Mr Abbott had presented himself as the country's savior. He told the audience that "you and we are rescuing our country." He continued he would rather have a tough budget than explain incompetency and dishonesty.

Meanwhile, he defended the government's tough policies on border protection after Immigration Minister Scott Morrison was slammed for the secrecy surrounding the 153 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were held at sea by Australian authorities.

Mr Abbott said he was not declaring victory but he was determined to stop the boats. He said it was the most "compassionate" thing to do. He added that stopping the boats meant stopping asylum seeker deaths.

Mr Abbott was firm in saying Australia will never waiver in securing its borders because he believes a sovereign country must be able to do so.

He believes his government's budget reforms will "ultimately" pass the Senate but admits he may encounter difficulties ahead. He said the budget will be approved since there is "no credible alternative" for controlled spending.

Mr Abbott previously said Australians will "thank the Coalition" once cuts are made in the country's annual budget next week. He has to convince the people who are used to the government's generous welfare benefits that Australia's debt has worsened, justifying the need for reductions on spending, including welfare.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Stefan Postles/Pool / )
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott exchange documents after signing the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement and Agreement on the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology, in the Mural Hall at Parliament House in Canberra
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