News National PM gives government pat on the back

PM gives government pat on the back

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott has asked Labor to promise it will never go back to its “bad policies” of border protection, while championing his government’s efforts.

In a glowing self-assessment of his administration, Mr Abbott offers a positive outlook for Australia and hails “confidence is returning”.

The coalition had made inroads and would continue to work hard “to build a strong and prosperous economy for a safe and secure Australia”, Mr Abbott said in the social media message recorded in private and released on Sunday.

“It’s been a remarkable turnaround in only a few months – our policies are working and progress is being made,” Mr Abbott said, adding that there is more work to be done.

January was the first full month since early 2009 to have passed without the arrival of an asylum seeker boat and “people smugglers are finally getting the message”, he said.

“We now need the Labor Party … to admit they got it wrong and to promise Australians that they would never go back to the bad policies that resulted in 55,000 illegal arrivals and $11 billion in Budget blowouts.”

Despite Mr Abbott’s upbeat message, the government continues to face criticism for its border protection Operation Sovereign Borders, perceived by some commentators to lack transparency, breach refugee rights, and have impacted on Australia’s international relations.

The topic is likely to be the source of ongoing debate when parliament resumes on February 11.