The Liberal Party is a 50 per cent-plus-one party. We are charged by the people of Australia to represent Townsville as much as we are Toorak. To advocate for the people of Bondi and Balgowlah as much as we do the people of Bunbury and Broome.

To help the people of Weipa and the people of Wentworth. And the people of Wentworth means both the town of Wentworth, in my rural electorate of Farrer on the tip of the NSW-Victorian-South Australian border, and those living in the electorate of Wentworth, in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

We are not a party solely focused on people living in our capital cities. But we are not a party either, that makes a virtue of ignoring people living in suburban Australia when making policy decisions.

We are not a party for extreme left interests, totally divorced from the reality of normal Australians and we are not a party for single-issue culture wars, dominated by reactionary populists. We are a party charged with representing the majority of this country, a party chosen time and time again by diverse groups of Australians to govern for the greater good. We are not an 8 per cent party.

We don’t do narrow constituencies. By definition, we do big, broad, constituencies. Because we are the only Party in the parliament entrusted with the honour – even after an election loss – of advocating for such diverse groups of Australians. In a few months’ time, it will be exactly ten years since the Federal Liberal Party last won an election from opposition to return to government.

And it is a myth to solely ascribe that result to Labor’s disastrous government descending into chaos or to some nostalgic view where yesterday’s Liberal Party was supposedly brilliant compared to today.

Let me be very clear: we won in 2013 because we were a strong and united team that spoke very clearly to all Australians about our immediate priorities and the policies we would enact. There was no sniping from inside the tent. There were no factional chiefs threatening to bring the party down. Well ahead of time, we had candidates in place to contest seats – really good ones – some of whom still serve in the parliament and are now widely acknowledged as the best in the marginal seat business. We weren’t bogged down in culture wars.

We weren’t beating our chests trying to outright wing or out-left wing each other. Every single Liberal, with every fibre of their being, was just trying to defeat Labor so that we could get into government and help aspirational Australians get ahead. Discipline won the day. Recommendation 1 of the Hume-Loughnane Review goes to that discipline. It is my strong view that we could implement every single one of the other recommendations, but if we ignored that one, if that sense of discipline is not instilled, then it will all have been for nought.

So the time to bloodlet after our defeat a year ago is over. The time to sook and moan is done. Our party is locking in behind Peter Dutton because Australians are relying on us to get Opposition right. Because this is a bad Labor Government – and it is going to get worse – and we need to demonstrate we are the strong alternative, ready for consideration by the Australian people.

Because the longer this government is in office, the harder Australians will hurt. And so we must always be a party for aspirational Australia. It is our job to convince people who just want to keep more of the money they earn, who just want a better life for themselves and their family, who want governments to help facilitate their ambition and not curb it, that we are the party for them.

The Prime Minister promised he would deliver a $275 reduction to your power bill, that he could magically deliver you a cheaper mortgage and that your cost of living would always be lower under a Labor Government. That’s the accord with the Australian people that Anthony Albanese made and it’s the accord we need to squarely focus upon over the coming 18 months.

Because by the next election, we need to have done the work to ensure Australians are asking themselves: are interest rates higher or lower today than in May 2022; are electricity bills higher or lower today than in May 2022; is the cost of living challenge that Australians are now facing easier or harder to manage than in May 2022?

The Prime Minister arrogantly rose to his feet in parliament last month and told Australians that it had “been a pretty good 10 months”. And it might have been a good 10 months for him. Swanning around the world, moving into the Lodge and Kirribilli House, realising a lifelong ambition to reach the pinnacle of Australian politics.

But his arrogance stands in contrast to the real struggles Australians are facing and the fact that his government doesn’t have the answers to make their lives easier.

Being a 50 per cent plus one party means advancing the interests and aspirations of many diverse groups of Australians.

That all starts and ends with the economy, because the thing that will always bind our broad constituency together is a need, a want, a desire for the government to help advance their ambitions and not destroy them.