The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Peter Costello

Peter Costello


11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 16/11/99

Transcript No. 99/87


The Hon Peter Costello MP


Doorstop Interview

Tuesday, 16 November 1999

9.30 am


SUBJECT: Business Tax, Negative Gearing, Labor's Position


Do you have any legitimate complaints about the taxing trusts with regard to the farmers and their complaints about business tax?


Oh well, the Government’s policy has been pretty clear in relation to business tax generally and trusts in particular, and it’s been on the record now for quite some time.


Okay. So will you be addressing any other complaints that the NFF has?


Well, we’ll be having discussions. We always have discussions, always free for discussions.


How do you feel about the Democrats basically trying to cut the concessions for negative gearing?


Well, that was tried in the mid-1980’s and it failed, so you wouldn’t return to that.


Is it something you’d consider? Is it a proposal that you’d consider from the Democrats?


Well, the changes in relation to negative gearing on property occurred in the mid-eighties and they were such a disaster that they were abolished shortly thereafter. So, I don’t think you’d be going down that track again because what it did is, it basically dried up rental properties and meant that people who couldn’t afford to buy their own homes either faced higher rentals or couldn’t get any accommodation. So, the policy has been tried and it didn’t work once, you wouldn’t go down the same track again, I don’t think.


So do you hope to achieve or come to any kind of compromise with the Democrats today or do you think, have they been sidelined by Labor coming to the party and saying they’ll negotiate?


Well you see, the Labor Party’s been running around saying that it wants to be relevant on business tax reform. It’s been saying that now, I think, for a year. And now is the time for them to make a decision. The thing about the Labor Party is they’ve got to be able to make decisions. You’ve got to have ticker. You’ve got to be able to make decisions. Mr Beazley said yesterday, he’s happy to support business tax reform. He’s been saying that now for perhaps a year, but he never actually gets to the point of saying, he’s going to vote for it. What he needs to do is to show some ticker, show he can make a decision, and support business tax reform. We can’t have this day in, day out, I’m going to make a decision shortly. I really want to be relevant, he says, let me support it. But he never actually gets to the altar, Mr Beazley. He’s got to do it.