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Tony Abbott channels Enda and declares: 'Australia is open for business'

“Ireland is open for business,” the Taoiseach has declared on many, many occasions.

Enda Kenny with a pen.
Enda Kenny with a pen.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE AUSTRALIAN PRIME Minister-elect Tony Abbott has declared that his country is “under new management and once again open for business”.

In remarks eerily familiar to those in Ireland who have listened to Enda Kenny often declare that “Ireland is open for business”, Abbott also said that his government would be one that “says what it means and means what it says”.

“Open for business” is a phrase frequently repeated by Kenny and many within government in speeches and debates as the coalition government here seeks to rebuild the Irish economy.

Abbott said that the Liberal/National coalition would be “a government of no surprises and no excuses, a government that understands the limits of power as well as its potential”.

With 88 per cent of the vote counted, the Australian Electoral Commission said that Abbott’s charges are heading for a landslide win, leading in 89 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, to Labor’s 56.

Abbott, a former trainee Catholic priest, boxing enthusiast and monarchist, capitalised on the infighting that saw Rudd oust Julia Gillard as Labor leader in June, three years after she did the same to him.

image

Abbott, third left, and his daughters Frances, left, Louise, second right, and Bridget, right, and his wife Margaret, second left. Pic: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

“I declare that Australia is under new management and is once again open for business,” the 55-year-old told cheering supporters at a luxury hotel in Sydney.

“I now look forward to forming a government that is competent, that is trustworthy, and which purposefully and steadfastly and methodically sets about delivering on our commitments to you, the Australian people.

“I am both proud and humbled as I shoulder the duties of government,” he added.

He will be officially sworn in as leader of the Australian government by Governor General Quentin Bryce at a ceremony next week.

Best known as a political hard man of the Liberal Party, unafraid of speaking his mind and occasionally tripping up on a gaffe, he has rebuilt his image and ran what was widely seen as a disciplined election campaign.

He made a paid parental leave scheme his “signature” policy, while pledging to scrap the carbon tax and make billions of dollars of savings to bring debt down.

The Labor Party leader and outgoing PM, Kevin Rudd said Labor had “fought the good fight”, conceding defeat some 100 minutes after the polls closed.

“As prime minister of Australia, I wish him [Abbott] well in the high office of prime minister of this country,” he said, adding that he will quit as party leader.

“I will not be recontesting the leadership of the parliamentary Labor Party. The Australian people I believe deserve a fresh start with our leadership.”

- additional reporting from AFP

Caption competition: Why are Enda and Brian Hayes looking so suspicious?

More: Australian PM Kevin Rudd concedes election to this man

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Hugh O'Connell

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