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 26/06/2006

Doorstop Interview
Machiavelli’s Restaurant
Sydney

Monday, 26 June 2006
2.15 pm

SUBJECTS: RBA Board appointment, James Hardie, Enterprise bargaining figures

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, today we are talking about influential people, when are you going to tell us who will be the next Reserve Bank Governor and or the fill the Board vacancy of the RBA?

TREASURER:

Look, the Governor’s term doesn’t finish until October as I recall so some time before then we will let you know when we are making an announcement.

JOURNALIST:

Would you like him to continue to help working with the Government in some fashion considering his influence around the world?

TREASURER:

Look, Ian Macfarlane has been an outstanding Reserve Bank Governor, no doubt about that, and the period over which he has been involved in monetary policy has been enormously successful. I have great confidence in him, I hope that he can continue to serve Australia, he will become a private citizen and what he wants to do is his business but from the Government’s point of view if we could harness his talents, yes, we would love too.

JOURNALIST:

Are you looking at a wide range of candidates for that position or are you looking within the Bank?

TREASURER:

Well we are looking for the best person and wherever that person is, that is the person that will get the nod.

JOURNALIST:

Why the delay so far in filling the Board position?

TREASURER:

Well the processes have to be gone through and various people assessed and it is important to make sure that you have got good people. But our Board is functioning quite well at the moment and I don’t see any problem with the Board.

JOURNALIST:

Morris Iemma has again today asked you to step into the James Hardie matter, what is your current position?

TREASURER:

Well the Tax Office is yet to rule on the tax deductibility. That is the important application that is before the Tax Office, I understand that it will be made shortly and once the Tax Office has ruled, we will know what the tax situation is.

JOURNALIST:

If you were to advise the Tax Office, what would your advice be?

TREASURER:

Well look, some time ago we passed a law which allowed for expenses to be deducted which couldn’t otherwise be deducted. And that is the law that Hardies is seeking a ruling on and if it is deductible under that then Hardies will get a deduction. Let me make this point, Hardies owes an obligation to its victims and there is no way it should be allowed to or will be allowed to walk out on its obligations. No way in the world. This is a company which has very large financial resources and the idea that it can somehow walk away from its obligations, it is not one the Australian public will support, it is not one I will support, it is not one that the Federal Government will support.

JOURNALIST:

If Hardies fails its application can you re-draft that law?

TREASURER:

Well let’s just see what the application is.

JOURNALIST:

Another batch today of fairly benign wage numbers coming out this morning, enterprise bargaining figures showing wages growth at less than 4 per cent, what do those kind of numbers tell you?

TREASURER:

Well look, it is important that we keep wages growing at a sustainable pace which is consistent with low inflation. If they don’t grow at that rate then you will put pressure in other areas of the economy. But so far we have managed to do it and it has been a success. Okay, thank you. Thank you very much.