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 23/03/2006

Doorstop Interview

Senator Mitch Fifield’s Office
Mentone

Thursday, 23 March 2006
3:45 pm

SUBJECTS: Pre-selection, RBA, tax, ALP

JOURNALIST:  

Treasurer I was interested to hear you refer to your time dancing the Macarena with Kerri-Anne Kennerley, can we expect to see a repeat performance on a similar programme any time soon?

TREASURER:

Dancing with the Stars?

JOURNALIST:

Perhaps.

TREASURER:

Well, a proposition was put to me but I don’t think I would want to scare the Australian public like that. So, up to now I have declined the offer.  

JOURNALIST:

Well it was, as you said, the second highest rating program of that show.

TREASURER:

I think it was high rating because it was bad not because it was good.

JOURNALIST:

You acknowledged Mr Georgiou’s presence today here. Is that a public declaration of support for Mr Georgiou in his pre-selection battle?

TREASURER:

Well I made my position plain in relation to that weeks ago. As the Deputy Leader of the Party I support my fellow Members of Parliament including Petro Georgiou and he knows that he has the support of the Party Leadership, and I think that is only fair that an incumbent Member should know that.

JOURNALIST:

So what will you do then to show your support for him?

TREASURER:

Well I will make statements as I just did and other than that it is a matter for the Party members. In the Liberal Party we have a membership, they will have an entitlement to vote in relation to these things, they make their own decisions. They are not told how to vote by union bosses or factional warlords, they make their own decisions. But if you want to know my personal view, that is my personal view.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, are you close to making a decision on a replacement for Ian Macfarlane on the Reserve Bank Board?

TREASURER:

Well Mr Macfarlane’s term finishes towards the end of this year and we will be making an announcement as to his replacement closer to that time. I don’t think it is appropriate to announce a successor while somebody still has a decent period in the office to serve, because obviously you want them to be still focusing on their duties. But when we are closer to the time, yes, we will be making an announcement.

JOURNALIST:

You can’t say how solid Glenn Stevens’ chances are then?

TREASURER:

I won’t be saying who’s under consideration. When I have the name of somebody who will taking the job, I will tell you then.

 

JOURNALIST:

Just on Mr Macfarlane, do you support the idea of giving tax breaks to investors in junior exploration companies and so called flow through share schemes?

TREASURER:

Well look this is something that is looked at from time to time, there are arguments for and there are arguments against. I actually think that we are seeing a lift in exploration now, particularly in relation to commodity prices, commodity prices are as high as they have been in thirty years. Once you have commodity prices rising, once profitability comes back into the companies then the companies tend to lift their exploration. And I think we are going into that kind of cycle at the moment. I think there are a lot of other things that affect exploration things like environmental concerns, things like native title concerns and when you are looking at the bars to exploration I think it is important to look at all of those issues.

JOURNALIST:

On the topic of resources would it be a good time to get someone with some resources experience on the board with Frank Lowy’s position being vacant still?

TREASURER:

Well Mr Lowy was a fabulous member of the Reserve Bank Board. He was somebody who had retail experience which was second to none. He could give very good and immediate feedback on consumption and of course we have now got Roger Corbett of Woolworths on the Board and I think Roger has got his hands on the pulse and I think he makes a very good contribution to the Board in relation to retail spending, what’s going on in the market, a real - time feedback on economic conditions.

JOURNALIST:

So would it be time to get someone with resources experience onto the Board?

TREASURER:

Well…

JOURNALIST:

Will you be looking more at manufacturing?

TREASURER:

…well we have got people with resources experience on the Board. Hugh Morgan for one led a very successful resources company in Australia and I think he knows the mining industry pretty well.

JOURNALIST:

You spoke a lot about your Labor opponents today what are your thoughts on Mark Latham giving politics lectures to Australian university students?

TREASURER:

Well I think Mark, Mark Latham does have the capacity to tell you the real inside story of what the Labor Party is like. He used to lead it after all. He knows just how dirty and sordid the whole operation is and I think he is doing a public service in letting the public in on the secret. But the thing to bear in mind of course is that all of those people are still there All of those people are still there. The Conroy type people, the factional warlords who engage in assassination at pre-selection time as they have against Ann Corcoran the member for Isaacs. They are still there, they are still calling the shots, they are still doing it on rigged branch memberships and ethnic branch stacking and there is a certain sickness about the Australian Labor Party that Mark Latham knows only too well. And although he has got problems, here is one thing that he could do for the Australian public, tell the inside story about a corrupt political organisation and the way the Labor Party runs.

JOURNALIST:

What will the budget do for struggling families in Isaacs?

TREASURER:

Well what we want to do for families in Isaacs through economic policy is one, keep their interest rates low, because if their interest rates go up then that puts immediate pressure on families. Secondly give them good job prospects. As I said earlier the unemployment rate in Isaacs is halved over the last ten years, thirdly family benefits for those that are raising children and childcare for those that have mothers in the work force I think are very important. These are the focuses we keep for families in Isaacs and in the bayside.

JOURNALIST:

How about tax cuts?

TREASURER:

Thank you all for your interest and your questions. Thank you very much.