Prime Minister Tony Abbott says while he’s not into self-assessment, he is satisfied with his government’s performance so far.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has given himself high marks for his government’s first hundred days, but acknowledges there is an element of must try harder in the coalition’s first report card.
“I’m very satisfied that what we’ve demonstrated over the last 100 days is a government which is competent and trustworthy,” he told reporters on Sunday.
“Of course there is much more to do but given the mess that we inherited … I think the Australian people can be confident that they made the right choice.”
Key achievements Mr Abbott cited were progress on repealing the carbon and mining taxes, moves to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the commission of audit, a free trade agreement with Korea, and environmental approval for $180 billion worth of projects.
He acknowledged that while asylum seeker boat arrivals were slowing, they had not yet stopped – a key election promise.
“There’s no doubt that the suspension of cooperation by the Indonesian authorities has been unhelpful,” he said, referring to a cooling in the relationship after it was revealed Australian spies had tapped the phones of the Indonesian president and his wife.
“Given that people smuggling is a crime in Indonesia, just as it’s a crime in Australia, I think it’s high time that … that cooperation was resumed.”
The secrecy surrounding the government’s Operation Sovereign Borders means it’s unclear whether all aspects of its asylum seeker policy have been implemented, such as leasing extra boats to help intercept refugees or expanding the detention centre on Nauru to 2000 places.
“The government has undertaken the key initiatives outlined for the first 100 days in the Operation Sovereign Borders policy document released by the coalition prior to the election,” Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told AAP in a statement.
The carbon and mining tax repeals have passed through the House of Representatives but are being thwarted in the Senate by continued opposition from Labor and the Greens.
Mr Abbott said the government would persist.
Even if it had to wait for the new Senate and its ranks of conservative crossbenchers to form on July 1, that six months “will be a mere blink” by the time of the next election.
“We will get it through because the Labor Party will wake up to itself, because the new Senate will take office or because we will utilise the constitutional opportunities available to us,” Mr Abbott said.
Labor’s assessment of the new government’s first few months was less flattering.
“So far it’s been nasty surprises and pathetic excuses,” deputy leader Tanya Plibersek told reporters.
She noted in particular broken promises in education with the coalition moving from pledging a unity ticket on schools funding to being “dragged kicking and screaming to funding part of the Gonski … model but not all of it”.
Mr Abbott said that episode had taught him the government had to keep its commitments in letter and in spirit.
“I’m sure many people will tell me that there are lots of things that I could have done differently,” he said.
“I’m not into selfies and I’m not into self-assessment.”
He appeared to lay the groundwork for dumping another promise, to get the budget back into surplus at least as quickly as Labor had planned.
The current state of the budget will be revealed in a mid-year review on Tuesday.
“What we are discovering, the more we dive deeply into the budget, is the extent of Labor’s fiscal disaster, the extent of Labor’s fiscal deception,” Mr Abbott said.
The mid-year review would rule a line under the era of debt and deficit and let the new government start its fiscal repair job, he said.