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 17/05/2005

Doorstop Interview

Shoal Bay Resort and Spa
Shoal Bay

Tuesday, 17 May 2005
2.05 pm

 

SUBJECTS: Budget, Douglas Wood

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, that was a (inaudible) Budget too, and the Newspoll in The Australian reflects that. How can you trust another person in the role as Treasurer?

TREASURER:

The public response, I think, has been very strong because this is a Budget which engages in reform, which funds our future and which also reduces the tax burden. And if you can bring those things together and if we can follow them through over a long period of time, then Australia will be a stronger economy. More people will be in work and our country will be better and that’s what good economic policy is all about.

JOURNALIST:

Will one of your colleagues do that though?

TREASURER:

Well, the important thing at the moment is to make sure this Budget gets enacted. We shouldn’t assume that now that the Budget has been handed down it’s all over. Labor is opposing tax cuts. Labor is able to block tax cuts in the Senate. Those tax cuts should start on 1 July. Mr Beazley should give up this useless blocking activity and allow Australians the certainty of a tax cut on 1 July. And I’ll be going back to Canberra and I will be campaigning on behalf of every Australian for the tax cut that they deserve.

JOURNALIST:

How do you (inaudible) Independents about getting it through that way?

TREASURER:

Some of the Independents have contacted me and are coming to see me when I get back to Canberra and some will be supportive, I believe. The easiest way to get these tax cuts in place is for Mr Beazley to give up his useless, delaying tactics which are not in the interests of Australians, which will deny them the tax cuts that they deserve on 1 July. Mr Beazley, get out of the way and let Australians have the tax relief they deserve.

JOURNALIST:

On another issue, Douglas Wood, does it break your heart to see the heartfelt pleas from his family?

TREASURER:

Oh sure, look, you imagine if it was a brother of yours or you imagine it was an uncle of yours, it is a shocking situation. And we appeal for Douglas Wood, like his brothers do and his family does. He is an innocent man that has been caught up in this and I hope that those that are holding him will be able to recognise the pleas of his family.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, you’ve come out here in support of Hunter Medical Research. (inaudible) University you can get any funding in the Budget, despite their problems financially at the moment.

TREASURER:

Well of course the University got funding in the budget. The University gets a very substantial ...

JOURNALIST:

…it make up the problems they’ve had recently with the $28 million deficit.

TREASURER:

Well, hang on, the University is very substantially funded in the Budget. Now, when the University is given the Commonwealth grant it is also expected to manage its own financial problems and it is important that it does. I don’t run the University. The Commonwealth Government doesn’t run the University. The Commonwealth Government makes funds available to the University and the University manages them. And the Commonwealth Government has funded the University in the Budget.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think it would be worth (inaudible) then put extra money so you can save $450 worth as Bob Carr’s suggested?

TREASURER:

How much has he put in?

JOURNALIST:

None. It’s a federal responsibility.

TREASURER:

Can I say, the Federal Government has funded the Newcastle University. We don’t manage the Newcastle University. That is done by the University Council and it’s important that taxpayers funds be managed properly. We don’t undertake the management of these things. The people that are responsible are in charge of the management.

JOURNALIST:

What about reclassifying it though as a regional facility, not a metro? Reclassifying it so they can get some more money?

TREASURER:

Well as I say, the management of the University is a matter for the Council, it’s not a matter for the Government. But I can tell you this, the University was funded in the Budget and the Commonwealth Government has record funds going to the University sector and the taxpayers are entitled to know and the Council is entitled to know that the funds have to be managed properly. They’re not managed out of Canberra.

JOURNALIST:

Were you (inaudible) disappointed that in the Newspoll there was no improvement in the Government’s position in the…

TREASURER:

Well, you know, what’s the object of a Budget? The object of a Budget is to put in place an economic policy which will improve our economy and improve the lives of citizens. And I think if you look at the public reaction there was an overwhelmingly strong support for the Budget, I think in economic terms, the strongest that you’ve ever seen. On whether or not, it will make for a better economy, whether it will improve peoples lives, that’s the object of a Budget and if you actually look at the outcome, people have responded very warmly. Wherever I go, the response has been warm. It’s certainly been the warmest response I’ve seen in the time that I’ve been doing Budgets and I think the research that has been done will back that up.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

Well it makes me feel that we probably have put down the right decisions that Australians were thinking about and looking for and now recognising that we have touched a cord in the Australian public and congruously Labor has missed the boat. Labor’s determination to stop Australians getting tax relief is one of the more bizarre decisions that I’ve seen in recent times. They cannot stop the tax relief, all they can do is delay it. And I say to Mr Beazley, give up this useless opposition. Let Australians have the tax cuts they deserve on 1 July.