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

Peter Costello

Treasurer

11 March 1996 - 3 December 2007

Transcript of 16/07/01

Transcript No. 2001/096

 

TRANSCRIPT
of
HON PETER COSTELLO MP
Treasurer

Doorstop Interview
Monday, 16 July 2001

 

SUBJECTS: Aston by-election, Building industry

TREASURER:

Well the counting is continuing today as you know with Chris Pearce a whisker in front. And I think he has every reason to think that he will improve, as he did yesterday, in relation to the postals. It is too early to call the election but I think there is good reason to think that Chris Pearce will be the next member for Aston, and I hope he is.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

Look, Chris Pearce, I think, will give great representation for the people of Aston. I think everybody who is out there knew he was the local candidate who really had the local issues at heart. And if he wins he will be a good Member for Aston replacing Peter Nugent. As far as the wider implications are concerned, obviously, we would be happy to see the Government retain that seat, and it is pretty clear that the people werent all that impressed by the Beazley Noodle Nation announced (inaudible) a few weeks ago.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

I think the implications at the end of the year are that this is going to be a tight election. That obviously the Government has been in office for a while and people recognise that there has been good economic management. Income taxes have come down, the mortgages are lower and 800,000 more people are in work, but they are always looking at alternatives and when they look at the Beazley alternative they want to know some policies. I think the big implication at the end of the year is that Mr Beazley thought that by having no policies he could surf his way into office. He hasnt heard the message of Aston, which is, that you have got to have a policy. You have got to have a policy if you want to be Prime Minister. You have to have a policy. Mr Beazley has had no policy, this announcement on the Noodle Nation which he did 2 weeks ago, nobody can understand.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

Not even Mr Beazley can understand it. I mean I looked at those noodles, I have got to tell you, I looked at those noodles to try and work out what the policy was and I was as confused as Mr Beazley is.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)...a concern over the primary swing against the Liberals?

TREASURER:

Look, the Government has been in office and people have all sorts of grumbles that we have got to take on board. I recognise that, but I also recognise that they werent going to the Labor Party. And so there is a message for the Government, it has to take into account peoples grumbles which we are addressing. But there is a big message to the Labor Party which is it hasnt taken a decision in 5 years and it still went backwards. You cant, you can explain why Beazley grumbles with the Government, the harder issue is why are there grumbles with the Labor Party which hasnt yet made a decision. And I think the big message for Beazley is you cant skate into office without a policy. You have got to actually stand for something if you want the public to understand why you are there.

JOURNALIST:

What would be the (inaudible)...

TREASURER:

Oh yes, we will be discussing today the problems in the building industry, the allegations that have been made in relation to corruption, and what can be done to clean up the misuse of union power. And a lot of people in the building industry in Australia know how union power is being abused, and that is not good for the building industry, its not good for decent and honest employees either.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)...what will be the mood of Cabinet today?

TREASURER:

Well, I will be reporting to the Cabinet on the Aston by-election and obviously we will be looking at that. We will be looking at the difficulties in the building industry and what can be done to get corruption and the abuse of union power out of the building industry, and we will also be looking at a whole host of other things which are important to governing. We want to get on with governing Australia, that is the most important thing, and doing a job, good job, to ensure a stronger economy and more jobs.