Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Vicki Wood

Tony Abbott's missionary position

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has urged the world's economic powerhouses to be "missionaries for freer trade" in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Mr Abbott's speech, part of Australia's official invitation to the G20 meeting in Brisbane later this year, call on the political leaders to embrace wealth.

In his pitch for freer trade across international borders, Mr Abbott said "profit is not a dirty word because success in business is something to be proud of".

"People trade with each other because it's in their interest to do so. Every time one person freely trades with another, wealth increases," he said.

"Just as trade within countries increases wealth, trade between countries increases wealth - that's why we should all be missionaries for freer trade."

As the globe continues to rise out of the global financial crisis, Mr Abbott said it was not a crisis of markets, but of governance.

"The challenge, as we continue to work through the weaknesses that brought on the crisis, is to strengthen governance without suppressing the vitality of capitalism,' he said.

"The crisis, after all, has not changed any of the basic laws of economics."

In a likely reference to the domestic debate over the state of the federal budget, he said "You can't spend what you haven't got."

"As always, stronger economic growth is the key to addressing almost every global problem," he said.

"Stronger growth requires lower, simpler and fairer taxes that don't stifle business creativity.

"And stronger growth requires getting government spending under control so that taxes can come down; and reducing regulation so that productivity can rise."

Mr Abbott also promised the leaders at the forum a "worthwhile" trip to Australia for the G20 meeting.



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