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 17/07/2007

Doorstop Interview
Dubbo

Tuesday, 17 July 2007
2 pm

SUBJECTS: Rural Health, Dubbo, Coalition

JOURNALIST:

Well first of all, this one is for Nine, the bit in The Australian, John Howard, has he had his day?

TREASURER:

Oh very much not.  We had a long discussion yesterday in Cabinet about the things we want to do in the future for Australia, and our team has a vision to make this a strong country with rising living standards and we have a forward agenda which we want to take the Australian people with us to share in.  And as a team I think we have a blend of experience and vitality and youth, but above all a track record that Australians can judge us on and compare with the inexperience and the risk of a Rudd Labor Party.

JOURNALIST:

There are only polls but, it seems like John Howard is struggling in the polls.  Why can’t he sort of break through that barrier?

TREASURER:

Well I think the important thing is to concentrate on what really is important to Australians.  The ability to get a job, an education, keep their house, keep their business.  And I think if you get the policies right, the politics will follow.  Now, the polls are in a different world, they are questionnaires, they come and they go but people are what politics is about and the people is what we focus on.

JOURNALIST:

You have made an important announcement obviously for Dubbo today, can you tell us about this announcement?  Why is this going to benefit Dubbo?

TREASURER:

I am announcing today $665,000 to build more accommodation for the clinical school for the University of Sydney Medical School.  And this is very much part of our rural health strategy, something that John Anderson has been intimately involved in, giving students rural training.  This is good for the people that get treated by them and it is also good to expose them to regional centres give them the opportunity after they are qualified to come back to regional centres to practice and it is all part of increasing medical services in regional centres around Australia and this is a great announcement for Dubbo.

JOURNALIST:

Why has it taken you so long I guess, to visit Dubbo?

TREASURER:

I don’t have the opportunity to get out here as much as I would like to.  It is a big country and I have to go to as many centres as I can.  But being here in Dubbo is a great privilege and an opportunity to say farewell to John Anderson and to support Mark Coulton.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think the Coalition is in touch with issues that are facing country people?

TREASURER:

I think so.  The Coalition represents rural and regional Australia.  It is the Coalition – the Liberal and the National parties – that represent rural Australia – Labor doesn’t represent rural Australia, they don’t hold seats in rural Australia – and I think the Coalition is in touch but it is important that we maintain as much contact as we can.

JOURNALIST:

You came out there, you are mates with John Anderson, that is no secret, he asked you to come, were you aware that there are (inaudible) in the Liberal Party about perhaps standing a candidate in the seat?

TREASURER:

Well, let me make it clear that as far as I am concerned we are a Coalition, between the Liberal and the National Party.  I am supporting the Coalition.  I will be campaigning for the Coalition in this seat and the most important thing is that it be retained by the Coalition.

JOURNALIST:

What would you do if there (inaudible) a Liberal candidate?

TREASURER:

Oh well, we would face that if that arose.

JOURNALIST:

We talked to Susan Ley today, she of course took Farrer when Tim Fischer retired, she beat her National candidate there.  She said that she thinks the three-cornered contests actually maximised the Coalition votes.  Is that a view that you would share?

TREASURER:

Sometimes they can but in many occasions they don’t.  Personally I think it is a waste of resources for the Liberal Party and the National Party to campaign against each other.  We are Coalition partners, we have sat in the Cabinet Room together and governed Australia together over the last decade.  Our relations have always been close and we work together well.  So as far as I am concerned supporting the Coalition is the most important thing and keeping the Labor Party out.

JOURNALIST:

John Cobb said yesterday that CDMA, he was talking to Helen Coonan, CDMA they were going to invoke a licence requirement with Telstra to say that CDMA would stay on until Next-G gets up to scratch especially in the bush.  Telstra has, Peter Andren’s office contacted us, they were told by Telstra that they are turning it off in January regardless.  Has the Coalition, has the Government got the power to enforce that edict?

TREASURER:

Well I know this has been raised with Senator Coonan.  I know that Senator Coonan is apprised of the issue and I know that she is devoting a lot of attention to it.  But I will leave it to her to announce the outcomes.

JOURNALIST:

Does the Coalition like you, obviously see this seat as an important seat?

TREASURER:

Oh yes, this is a very important seat.  Every seat is important but with the retirement of John Anderson, with the redistribution meaning that John Cobb is going to (inaudible), this is absolutely important, this is critical for the future of Australia and the next Government.

JOURNALIST:

And your visit today, you know, it sort of runs in line with the upcoming election.  Is that why you are here?

TREASURER:

Well, the election hasn’t been called but it is no secret there will be one by the end of the year so while I am here I am supporting Mark our candidate.  But I can’t claim this is an election visit because we are not in an election at the moment.

JOURNALIST:

So I guess if there was going to be a Liberal person run, will you come back and support them if you supported Mark for the Nationals?

TREASURER:

We would face that problem if it arose.

JOURNALIST:

Is it going to arise, do you know?

TREASURER:

Not to my knowledge.  Okay, thanks.