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 02/10/06

Doorstop Interview
Oakleigh Greek Orthodox College

Monday, 2 October 2006
10:25 am

SUBJECTS: Iraq, Kevin Rudd’s essay, Telstra, Qantas and St George jobs

TREASURER:

(inaudible) most people would say that with an election of a democratic government, it is important that the situation is stabilised, that law and order is maintained so that a democratic government can survive and Australia is making a contribution to that.

JOURNALIST:

The new essay by, written by Rudd calling on the churches to take more of a role in politics, calling for an alternative vision for Australia informed by Christian values, what do you think?

TREASURER:

Well I think it is important for people of faith to take part in political questions.  It’s important that our Government doesn’t try and promote one religion over another.  I think it’s important that our Government is neutral as between religion.  But with a neutral Government and freedom of religion, people are entitled to take part and I think people of faith should take part and they do have a great contribution to make and I would encourage them to do so.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello on Telstra shares, do you believe that the recent bickering will affect the price of those shares when they are released?

TREASURER:

No I don’t think so.  I think the value of the shares will be assessed on the basis of their earnings, on the basis of their investment return and prospectus will be available for those that wish to invest and they’ll make their decisions accordingly and they’ll be financial decisions.

JOURNALIST:

Phil Burgess has claimed that the Government’s running a vile and vicious campaign against Sol Trujillo.  What do you think?

TREASURER:

He’s mistaken.

JOURNALIST:

You don’t believe that there has been any campaign against the Telstra boss?

TREASURER:

I think those comments are mistaken.

JOURNALIST:

Paul Budde said on Meet the Press yesterday that, basically advising mums and dads not to invest in the shares.

TREASURER:

Sorry who said that?

JOURNALIST:

Paul Budde.

TREASURER:

Well, as I said earlier, the important thing I think is that people look at the prospectus, they’ll be guided by the investment return, they’ll look at the earnings and they’ll make their decisions accordingly.  I’m not a licenced financial adviser so I can’t advise them one way or the other but I would say to people have a look at the prospectus, have a look at the advertising campaign and make the decisions accordingly.

JOURNALIST:

McGauchie is threatening to include a warning in that prospectus letter though about the appointment of Cousins as a potential risk to the business.  How much do you think that will harm the sale?

TREASURER:

I don’t think it’ll harm it in the slightest because I think people will recognise that Geoff Cousins is a good director and I think that with his commercial experience and with his financial acumen I think that he’ll make a very valuable contribution to Telstra.  So I think when people see that, it’s not going to discourage them, not one iota from investing in the company.

JOURNALIST:

What do you make of Qantas plans to send more jobs offshore and now today St George Bank also planning to send jobs overseas?

TREASURER:

Well you see these are matters for the companies concerned to explain.  It’s not my job to explain Qantas’ business or St George’s business, it’s a matter for them and I suggest you put these questions to their chief executives.

JOURNALIST:

You’d like to see the jobs stay in Australia though?

TREASURER:

Well I want to see as many jobs in Australia as possible.  That’s why during the last ten years of economic management we’ve seen 1.6 million new jobs created.  That’s my policy but if you want to know about the St. George policy or the Qantas policy ask their chief executives.  I’m sure they’ll be only too happy to do a doorstop for you.  Thank you.