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 11/07/2006

Doorstop Interview
70 Phillip Street, Sydney

Tuesday, 11 July 2006
9.30 am

SUBJECTS: Undertakings

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello , what is your response to the Prime Minister’s comments this morning?

TREASURER:

Ian McLachlan , a man who I consider to be entirely honourable, has made a statement about what happened at a meeting between him, me and Mr Howard on the 5 th of December 1994 . I did not ask him to make that statement. He made it for the reasons that he has made clear. Once it had become known that the meeting had taken place and Mr McLachlan had said what happened, I was asked my account, and my account is his account. What he said is entirely accurate. And I spoke yesterday and I gave you the full details. My parents always told me, if you have done nothing wrong you have got nothing to fear by telling the truth, and I told the truth. Now the public was entitled to know it and I have told the truth. Now, that didn’t come to pass, what was said in that meeting. Did I breathe a word of it to anybody? No. Did I disclose it to anybody? No. What did I do? I worked for the Government and for the Australian people and I have never let anything get in the way of my absolute determination to work for the Australian people and the Government. And that is what I have done. I have done it from that day to this and you would expect me to have done that and I have. And if Mr McLachlan had not have raised these matters, they may never have become clear. Once they were raised, I have always been taught, if you haven’t done the wrong thing, if you have got nothing to hide, you have got nothing to fear from the truth.

 JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) Mr Howard, Mr Costello, he says that between Christmas and New Year ’94, you reserved your right to challenge and that suggested that no deal had been concluded in early December.

TREASURER:

Dennis, you can go over it a thousand times. I have told you what happened. Mr McLachlan has told you what happened, there is a written record of what happened…

JOURNALIST:

But the Prime Minister went further, did you ever reserve your right to…?

TREASURER:

…I am sorry, I have told you what happened in a meeting on the 5 th of December 1994 in full and accurate detail. I have nothing to fear from the truth…

JOURNALIST:

Do you feel obliged to resign?

TREASURER:

… Mr McLachlan has told you what happened. I understand there is a written note of what happened – not kept by me, not written by me. But once Mr McLachlan decided to disclose the meeting and I was asked the facts, I have told you the full and utter truth.

JOURNALIST:

How is the issue resolved now with the lack of trust between you and the Prime Minister, how is that resolved now?

TREASURER:

There is nothing new about this, I have known this as the truth for 12 years and John Howard has known this for 12 years and over the last 12 years we have worked together in the Cabinet. As I said…

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible).

TREASURER:

…as I said…

JOURNALIST:

…is he a liar, Mr Howard…

 TREASURER:

I am Mr Costello…

JOURNALIST:

…is Mr Howard a liar…?

TREASURER:

…I have told you the truth…

JOURNALIST:

Has he told the truth?

TREASURER:

Excuse me, I have told you the truth, there is nothing new about this. I have known this for 12 years, let me finish. I have known this for 12 years. He has known of this. We have worked together knowing the truth of all of this, why? And I will tell you this, because I had an absolute determination to put the Government and the Australian people first and I never let anything interfere with that. And I just tell you this, with all of that, did I ever talk to anybody? No. Did I ever raise it? No, because I was absolutely and utterly loyal to my job and to the Australian people and to the Government and to the Liberal Party and my record speaks for itself. Thank you.