News National Abbott heads to Switzerland for WEF meeting

Abbott heads to Switzerland for WEF meeting

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott is on his way to the World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland, where he wants to “showcase” his government’s reform agenda.

But as Mr Abbott was departing, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten marked his 100 days as ALP leader with a series of interviews in which he questioned the government’s ability to protect Australian jobs.

Mr Shorten predicted Mr Abbott could be a one-time prime minister, despite the coalition’s decisive election win last September.

He said he wanted to win the 2016 election “because we have better ideas, not because they break lots of promises and make lots of mistakes”.

“I’m very concerned that this government won’t fight for existing jobs, on the one hand, and, on the other, it doesn’t have any idea what Australia looks like in 2020,” Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media.

“Abbott won’t fight for manufacturing jobs. Supporting (fruit processor) SPC and encouraging co-investment is a no-brainer but these guys are so ideological.”

In a statement and video recorded before he left, Mr Abbott said he would use Australia’s presidency of the G20 to push for action on free trade, taxation and finance.

“We should make the most of our G20 presidency to help provide economic leadership to the wider world and promote our attractiveness as an investment destination.”

The WEF’s annual Davos meeting brings together some 2500 business and political leaders to discuss key global issues.

Mr Abbott will meet with heads of government in attendance, host Australia’s B20 delegation of business leaders and deliver a keynote address to outline Australia’s approach to the Presidency of the G20.