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 22/11/2005

Doorstop Interview
6PR Studio
East Perth

Tuesday, 22 November 2005
9.05 am (Perth time)

SUBJECTS: Industrial Relations Reform

JOURNALIST:

You mentioned in there, that, you put it down to people just being nervous of change. Is it a rational fear of change?

TREASURER:

In my experience when you are proposing change there is always people interested to know how it is going to work out. They are going into the unknown to some degree, and when the change occurs they judge the change by the results. I have seen that in relation to some of our big economic reforms and I am sure it will be the case in relation to industrial relations. They will judge it by its results. And if it produces more jobs and better wages, as I believe it will, people will warmly endorse it. But that’s all ahead.

JOURNALIST:

If you were Leader of the Party would you have done things differently in terms of the IR Bill?

TREASURER:

Well, you have always got to keep on reforming. This is my strong view. If you give up economic reform then your country won’t have the opportunity that it requires in the future. And this is important economic reform, we will go through the change, we will get results.

JOURNALIST:

But had you been Leader would have you gone down this specific path, the IR changes?

TREASURER:

Well I am fully supporting Industrial Relations changes. It is important to create more jobs and it is important to create higher wages.

JOURNALIST:

Even conservatives like Barnaby Joyce seems to think that is reason for nervousness though, for caution?

TREASURER:

Well look, there has been a Senate Inquiry and we await the outcome of that. But I am confident that the Government’s reforms will be passed through the Senate. I am very confident of that. And the essence of these reforms are to improve workplace relations in a way which will lift the economy and thereby create more jobs. That is what I am confident of.

JOURNALIST:

Are you confident that those reforms will pass through the Senate in their current state?

TREASURER:

Well, I hope so. We will have to see.

JOURNALIST:

If and when you take over from the Prime Minister is it a case that you now will inherit a poison chalice with these IR changes? They seem to be very unpopular with the community, you will be left to pick up the pieces?

TREASURER:

I wouldn’t overstate the issue. As you do change, of course people are always apprehensive: How will it work out? What will be the ultimate outcome? But it is when they see the outcome, if it brings positive results that they endorse the outcome. And I think it is totally understandable that people get apprehensive when a change is occurring but it is the results that count. And I have seen this on other economic issues.

JOURNALIST:

But when you take over as Leader though from the Prime Minister, if and when you take over, is it a case now that you are essentially taking over with damaged goods? You know, the situation has changed a lot from what it was 12 months ago in terms of the opinion polls as a starter.

TREASURER:

Well I repeat what I have already said, that people are always apprehensive of change, but in my experience when they see the results and I believe the results of industrial relations changes will be more jobs and higher wages, that they will endorse them then.

JOURNALIST:

Is there enough time between now and the next Federal Election for the electorate to see that change?

TREASURER:

Well, if the law is passed before the end of the year and starts reforming the industrial relations system from the beginning of next year, I think there is. Yes. Okay. Thanks.