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  • P.D.Jonson

Ready to wage war

Updated: May 2, 2020

Peter Jonson's campaign speech for his tilt at pre-selection for the Federal seat of Kooyong, June 2009.


Mr. Chairman, Delegates – Greetings!

We are in the midst of the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression and the Rudd government is making serious mistakes.

With my vocation as an economist, and deep experience of government and business, I can make a difference, … right from the time of my selection as the candidate for Kooyong.

The campaign starts tomorrow.

You may notice that my voice is a little harsh. This is not due to brandy and cigars but rather a damaged vocal chord, like Nevile Wran and Ian Macfarlane.


My father grew up in the Great Depression, when his family lost their farm in East Gippsland.

He came to Melbourne with only five pounds in his pocket and remade himself as a city worker.

Then when war broke out, like many other brave Australians, he remade himself as a soldier.

I learned the values of courage, hard work and a frugal lifestyle around the kitchen table.

Life was tougher then, for all of us, but opportunities were greater.

As a young economist I had the opportunity to work at the London School of Economics and to give seminars there and at other great universities such as Cambridge, Harvard, Chicago and many others.

Then at the Reserve Bank I became involved in economic policy. We floated the dollar, persuaded Treasurer Paul Keating to turn deficits into surpluses and successfully campaigned against inflation.

I ran two fine businesses, Norwich Union and ANZ Funds Management where I had the privilege of leading committed people who accepted the challenge of creating a winning culture.

I say without apology that I have the runs on the board as a researcher, as a policy reformer, as a company director and as an Australian patriot.

It is harder now – much harder – for young Australians of courage and commitment to rise.

In politics my overriding aim will be to restore Australia as a genuine land of opportunity. This is my passion!

Do you agree that we owe this to our children and our grandchildren?


The first priority for the next Liberal government will be to rid Australia of the deficits and debt now being created by the Rudd government.

If I had been in government our overall stimulus would have been about one-third that of the Rudd government and focussed on boosting Australia's productivity rather than handouts to those who did not need them.

We need to change how people think about the economy. Now almost all businesses face global issues and powerful competition. To prosper in the modern world we need to become better at saving, more productive as workers and more self-reliant as citizens.

The global financial crisis is an inevitable consequence of the western nations consuming more than they produce and their peoples looking to governments to bail them out when things go wrong .

Can you believe that the mighty USA – the home of capitalism – is now deeply in debt to communist China?

Can you believe that the bankers of Wall Street – once known as ‘The masters of the universe’ – required massive bailout by taxpayers?

At this time of drastic economic challenge, we need to chart a different course.

We should not pretend it will be easy.

We need to do in Canberra the same tough job that Jeff Kennett and Alan Stockdale did here in Victoria.

The next Liberal government will make sure that Australia takes its rightful place as a leader among the world’s richest and freest nations.

With a strong economy, many other things can be improved. • We can improve the environment. • We can afford better healthcare. • We can improve education, which is the key to a better future for our children and our grandchildren, as it was for all of us. • We can help those who need help – but handouts are not the answer. • We can afford a strong defence program, a vital necessity for Australia.

Winning in the global struggle for advantage takes courage, persistence and hard work. Do you doubt that we can do this?

***** - Fellow Liberals - *******

I share with Sir Robert Menzies a strong belief in Liberal values, the power of a happy family and deep concern for Australia’s forgotten people.

In today’s volatile and dangerous world, government needs men and women of experience, wisdom and insight. I ask you to think whether learning on the job is the answer?

I am proud of my family and of what I have achieved in life.

I am proud to be at 62 in the physical and mental shape to help make Australia a better place, with opportunity for all.

If you give me the privilege and honor of becoming your candidate I would be proud to serve as the next Federal member for Kooyong.

But I am not a colt from Kooyong, … I am a seasoned warhorse, ready to go to war.

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