This section contains a selection of speeches prior to 2010 and more comprehensive additions from the resumption of Parliament in 2010. Full collection of speeches can be found on ParlInfo

Address to the Labour 20 Summit, Brisbane

On behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian people, can I add my welcome to representatives of the international labour movement to Australia. In that category, I sort of include Sharan Burrow, she’s very well known in Australia and doing well on the international stage.

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Sky News AM Agenda interview - new Senate

Presenter: This is AM Agenda thanks for your company. With me now is the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Eric Abetz. Thanks for your time Senator. You will be leading the negotiations with the crossbench Senators who begin their induction today here in Canberra. First of all I want to ask you about the general political landscape you are heading into next week. You have the Japanese Prime Minister visiting that will at least be the focus for one day. Are you certain you will be able to secure the repeal of the carbon and mining taxes next week?

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Address to the 158th Liberal Victoria State Council

Fellow Liberals, coming to Victoria, the birthplace of our great party is always special and inspirational – the State that has given us Menzies and Bolte, and Costello and Kennett.

And today, the State in which the Napthine Government is setting the example for sound economic management, law and order, and building the infrastructure so desperately needed for the 21st century.

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Address to Public Service Graduate event at Parliament House

Some years ago as I was campaigning in Tasmania I stumbled across a sandstone quarry and I stopped there and talked to a number of the workers. There were three workers there and I asked them what they were doing. The first said, “What does it look like - splitting rocks.” The second turned and said “I’m here earning a living for the Mrs and the kids.” The third, when I enquired, told me that he was helping to build a cathedral. All three of them doing exactly the same job, but one had a broad vision about what his actual role was.

As you commence your career in the Australian Public Service could I invite you not to think of yourselves as rock-breakers or paper-shufflers or simply ‘it’s a job’, but see yourselves in the role of building a cathedral or in helping to build our nation.

Yours can be, I understand, a very, very satisfying role. If you have the broad vision you can, and will, make a very real difference, not only for yourselves but also for your nation.

You are a fortunate this morning to also hear from the Secretary from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr Ian Watt, and from the Australian Public Service Commissioner, Mr Stephen Sedgwick. Both have distinguished careers in the public service and hopefully you will be inspired by them and by what they have achieved in their careers thus far.

In short like any job, the job and the career you have embarked on, will ultimately be what you make it.

You have entered the much respected calling of the public service. Sure, like politicians, you will be the butt of jokes, of criticism, and thinly disguised envy. But, more importantly you will be engaged in the business of nation-building, advising the democratically-elected Government of the day, giving full, frank, and professional advice to a Minister or Government. That is highly rewarding, responsible and satisfying. As a Minister, it is absolutely essential and I rely on it every day.

You will be, and already are, in the engine room of informing, delivering and implementing the Government’s agenda. A wise Government will use the public service as its preeminent source of advice. We, the Government, however, are there to decide. So, in brief, the idea is that we Ministers make our own mistakes but we do so fully informed on the advice that you give us.

You will be serving in a sound and stable democracy based on a rich history of tradition. Never forget that and always respect it.

We are one of the oldest ongoing democracies in the world, with freedoms and wealth untold, and the envy of the world. We change Government without loss of life, Ministers vacate their offices in an orderly fashion, and most public servants feel able to continue to serve the elected-Government of the day.

You have embarked on a noble career; a career where opportunities are boundless, a career where satisfaction can be high; a career where you are helping to build our nation; a career where you can make a real difference for your individual fellow Australians.

Please, like I have to remind myself, remember your salary and Departmental expenditures are only possible courtesy of the contributions of your fellow Australians make through their taxes.

That is why a strong and healthy economy has to be front and centre of responsible Government decision-making.

Without a healthy economy we simply can’t afford to pay for hospitals, schools, roads, or public servants.

As a Minister it is encouraging to see approximately 600 young Australians dedicating their careers to the service of the public. Can I also say, it’s especially good for me to welcome those that have chosen the Department of Employment for their careers. I congratulate you on your choice and wish you well in your careers.

Enjoy the day, and thank you very much. 

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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