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 23/11/2005

Doorstop Interview

Australian Opera Studio
Midland

Wednesday, 23 November 2005
10.15 am (Perth Time)

SUBJECTS: IR legislation, US economy

JOURNALIST:

Can I first of all ask you, should the Government accept the Senate Committee’s recommendations and amendments to the IR legislation?

TREASURER:

I think the recommendations that the Committee have put forward are well worth considering and I imagine that the Government will accept many of them. Where there are improvements that can be made, of course we are open to making improvements but the essence of the policy, of course, has been set. It is to encourage negotiations; to give more flexibility in the workforce; to strengthen the economy. And the basic thrust won’t be changing but where improvements can be made I am sure the Government will look at those very carefully.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) penalty rates on Christmas Day for example, is that something the Government will seriously consider?

TREASURER:

Look, we believe that people should have a system where they can work productively, where they get proper reward for effort. I think you will find that most people, and there aren’t many of them, but most people who work on Christmas Day do get substantially more for doing so and that is obviously going to continue to be the case otherwise you won’t get people that are prepared to work on Christmas Day.

JOURNALIST:

Is it a breach of privacy for the Committee Chair to consult the Minister and his Department about the Report’s content before it is tabled?

TREASURER:

Well, this is a matter for parliamentary procedure and privileges and if anyone has a complaint they can make it. But at the end of the day, does much turn on it? No.

JOURNALIST:

But do you think…

TREASURER:

(inaudible)

JOURNALIST:

…that it is a breach of privacy though? I mean…

TREASURER:

It is not privacy. It is alleged sometimes that if you disclose the contents of a Committee Report before it is made public that this is not giving proper disclosure at the proper time. If anyone has a complaint about that they can make it to the Parliament. But let me make the point, does anything turn on it? Did it mean that anybody’s rights were prejudiced in any way? No, I don’t think so. I just think it is a debating point from the Labor Party.

JOURNALIST:

Is the Government going to have to give some ground somewhere along the line to get this through?

TREASURER:

Well, the Government will look at the recommendations of the Senate Committee and where improvements can be made, will make them. Now, these may be at the margin, these may be by way of clarification. But they won’t change the overall policy.

JOURNALIST:

Just on leadership, the transition deadline that your supporters have set for that changeover, does that still stand for March/April of next year?

TREASURER:

I have said all that I am going to say on that issue. I won’t be adding to it.

JOURNALIST:

But in terms of the deadline though, is that still the expectation that your supporters have?

TREASURER:

Well you keep throwing assumptions in your questions, and as I say, I am not going to be baited by them.

JOURNALIST:

If they are assumptions though where does the matter stand then? I am happy to be corrected on that.

TREASURER:

No, I am not in the business of correcting questions. I am in the business of giving answers.

JOURNALIST:

Are you reassessing your intention to challenge for the leadership in the new year?

TREASURER:

Same answer.

JOURNALIST:

Have you told the Prime Minister that this deadline does still stand?

TREASURER:

Same answer.

JOURNALIST:

Which is…

TREASURER:

You’re from the ABC.

JOURNALIST:

That’s right. Will you be disappointed if Mr Howard looks to stay on longer than next year?

TREASURER:

Have we got any serious questions?

JOURNALIST:

Look, I will change the subject completely. How concerned are you about the possible slow-down in the US and what impact it will have in Australia?

TREASURER:

The US economy is the largest economy in the world. It governs global production and it is important for the global economy that the US continue to grow, and if the US should weaken then the global economy will weaken. Fortunately, Australia has been able to shrug off US economic weakness in the past and I believe we can do it in the future. But it is easier to run a strong Australian economy on a strong global economy than to run a strong Australian economy in a weak global economy. So we would like to see the US strong, we would like to see global growth strong.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, just back to the other question I asked before, if someone does…

TREASURER:

All right, last question.

JOURNALIST:

…make a complaint, will you take any action in regards to the Senate Committee Chair disclosing information?

TREASURER:

No. If the Labor Party wants to make a complaint, they make it, as I understand it, to the Senate. They don’t make it to the Treasurer or to the Government, they make it to the Senate. They are free to make any complaint they like. But does anything turn on this? Here is the Report. Everybody knows what it is in it. If you find out what is it in it an hour before or an hour after does anything turn on it? Nothing. It is a debating point, they can make it, but as I say, I think there are more important things in the world today. Okay. Thanks.