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 16/08/2006

Doorstop Interview

Parliament House
Canberra

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

4.40 pm

SUBJECTS: Consumer sentiment, emissions trading scheme, stem cell research

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, lower consumer confidence, does that mean that the pressure is off the Reserve Bank to bring on another interest rate rise before Christmas?

TREASURER:

Well consumer confidence went down significantly in August, I think that the principle reason for that was the interest rate rise. Now we will have to see whether that has any effects in the real economy, whether it affects demand or not. Certainly nothing in the real economy has changed in the sense that unemployment is strong, growth is strong so that nothing has changed apart from sentiment, it is too early to say whether that sentiment will take some of the edge off demand or not, we will have to see how that works out.

JOURNALIST:

Would you expect sentiment to bounce back like it has previously after rate rises?

TREASURER:

Well that is another thing you will have to take into account, this could just be the immediate reaction, you will have to see whether the change to sentiment has any longer term nature.

JOURNALIST:

So the consumer confidence figures aren’t a sign of any deeper problem that we should be worried about?

TREASURER:

They are a reaction to the interest rate rise and sentiment has fallen quite substantially and there is no doubt in my mind that that is because of the interest rate rise but whether or not that has any effect in the real economy, you would have to wait for a couple of months to see it. Certainly at this stage there is no evidence of any effect on the real economy.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer what is you opinion of the States’ new trading scheme for greenhouse gas emissions?

TREASURER:

Well I don’t think it will work. I think it will push up prices, I think it is half-baked because it is a State agreement and I don’t think that they have carefully thought through the necessary international implications. So, this has the risk of pushing up prices without actually doing much for the environment.

JOURNALIST:

What is your position on stem cell research? Would you support (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well, we will have to wait and see whether a Private Member’s Bill comes up. You are asking me how I would vote on a Private Member’s Bill – we haven’t seen the Bill – I will read the Bill carefully before deciding which way I will vote on it.

JOURNALIST:

What about the broad principle but, of using or creating embryonic stem cells for use in medical research?

TREASURER:

Well I support the current situation which is where IVF couples had embryos for the purposes of IVF and the embryos would otherwise have been destroyed. I thought it was fair to allow them for experimentation because they would be destroyed otherwise. But I will wait and see what the Bill proposes to do before I announce my position. Thanks.