Federal Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott addressed a recent CEDA forum in Melbourne touching on key topics including productivity, market regulation, tax cuts and the carbon tax.
On freeing up markets, he said the coalition's instinct was always to defend and extend the role of markets.
"The Coalition is strongly opposed to industry policy that props up over-manning and feather-bedding or that does not count the cost of intervening and honestly face up to it,' he said.
He said a carbon tax adjustment package that helps people out of otherwise productive jobs could easily become a form of corporate welfare.
"The lesson of the current international economic instability is that governments that spend too much, borrow too much, and tax too much, ultimately inflict massive pain on their people," he said.
"A primary duty of government is to live within its means and the first task of the next Coalition government will be to get the budget back to surplus…without a carbon tax or a mining tax."
On tax cuts, he said while it wouldn't be easy to find savings to accommodate tax cuts, the Coalition wouldn't "shirk the task of slimming the bureaucracy, terminating unnecessary spending programs and finding more efficient ways to deliver services".
"The only tax cuts that leave people better off are those that are funded by sustainable reductions in government spending or by productivity increases," he said.
"We're going through the budget line-by-line and will detail savings in good time before the next election."
In summing up, Mr Abbott said the next coalition government would strengthen the economy by reducing regulation, rather than spending money and would be one that welcomes foreign investment that passes a strict national interest test, expands the role of markets where it is clear people will be better off and limits the reach of government.
Click here to access the event audio.