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 01/04/2005

Interview with Ross Stevenson & John Burns
3AW

Friday, 1 April 2005
8.07 am

 

SUBJECTS: Maternity Payment, Budget, Welfare Reform

JOURNALIST:

Peter Costello good morning.

TREASURER:

Good morning Ross, good to be with you.

JOURNALIST:

I looked at that and I assume that when I looked at the picture by-line it was going to read ‘digital image.’ It doesn’t, it reads ‘David Caird.’ Are you telling me that photo is real?

TREASURER:

That’s absolutely real. We were down at the hospital and I was meeting some of the Mums at the Royal Women’s and they sort of said, well why not take a photo. So there we are with six babies.

JOURNALIST:

In the words, in the words of Rex Hunt, I think you have blown Tom Roper to the (inaudible). Not only do you look as if you have been shot out of a gun, you look as if someone is goosing you, is that right?

TREASURER:

Well look, let me say this, the babies are all about one day or two days old, their Mums were all there, the Mums were as pleased as punch and you know, it just proves that you can fit six babies around one persons shoulder.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, may we take you back in time and ask you listen to yourself from last year?

TREASURER:

Yes.

JOURNALIST:

Have a listen to this:

TREASURER:

Well you know, if you can have children it is a good thing to do.
You know, you should have if you can, not everyone can but you know,
one for your husband and one for your wife and one for the country.
You go home and do your patriotic duty tonight.

JOURNALIST:

And they did.

TREASURER:

I was talking to journalists when I said that.

JOURNALIST:

Look what you have unleashed on us. Did you expect this?

TREASURER:

Well, we have always had a decline in fertility rates along with the rest of the western world since the 1970s and it is actually below replacement rate. That is, the number of children that are being born today is not just enough to replace the parents so we thought it would be good to encourage people to have more children and it is very early days but maybe we have had some effect.

JOURNALIST:

You are also on the front page of The Australian, I assume you are aware of that? Single mothers would be forced to look for work once their children reach school age under a tough welfare package explained last night by Peter Costello. So there you are, holding out the carrot of the $3,000 baby bonus and the moment the kids are five years old out comes the stick.

TREASURER:

Well look, there is a lot of mothers that have children that work, you know that, and everybody would say when the kids are young and at home of course mums can’t work but when the kids go off to school you might get an opportunity, I think we should encourage that too. As I say in that speech there, it doesn’t mean that everybody is going to find work but if we can encourage them to work I think that would be a good thing.

JOURNALIST:

Are you currently working on the Budget?

TREASURER:

Yes.

JOURNALIST:

And are we going to get an interest rate rise?

TREASURER:

I’ll tell you what you are going to get. You are going to get an increase…

JOURNALIST:

Have you got a, basically we are asking you, have you got a Laurie Oakes moment for us, you know?

TREASURER:

…(inaudible).

JOURNALIST:

Would you like to give us 90 per cent of the package now.

JOURNALIST:

He will tell us what we are going to get, we get it every year.

TREASURER:

I have got one for you, you are going to get an increase in the maternity payment, it is going to go up to $4,000 on 1 July 2006 so John, what is that, that is 15 months away.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer we thank you for you time, excellent photograph and good work on doing your personal best to increase Australia’s stocks. Are you seeing the Prime Minister today?

TREASURER:

Yes.

JOURNALIST:

Can you pass on, there is an article in the Herald Sun today where Australia’s best known psychic Kerry Kulkens has made some predictions, in relation to John Howard she says, ‘I don’t like his chances of making it through the next 12 months.’ That is in politics I assume so you had better alert him to that will you?

TREASURER:

I will pass it on, absolutely Ross.

JOURNALIST:

Thanks for your time.

TREASURER:

Good to be with you, thanks.