Peter Costello

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Interest Rates; Good Economic Management; Candidate for Goldstein, Andrew Robb; Labor's Medicare Policy - Doorstop Interview, Melbourne

TRANSCRIPT

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
TREASURER

Doorstop Interview
1 Eddie Street
Highett, Melbourne

Thursday, 30 September 2004
3:15 pm 

 

SUBJECTS: Interest Rates; Good Economic Management; Candidate for Goldstein, Andrew Robb; Labor's Medicare Policy

TREASURER:

One of the secrets of Australia's economic strengths over the last eight years has been the low interest rate climate. Interest rates have averaged 7.15 per cent over the last eight years compared with 12 ¾ per cent under the Labor Party from 1983 to 1996. Low interest rates have been good for home buyers. It has meant that home buyers have been able to service their mortgages and families have been able to face the future with security. Of course good economic management is required to keep our economy strong and to keep interest rates low. Economic management is not an accident, it is not a fluke. It requires concerted, disciplined policy, hard work, experience and an understanding of those things which are important to Australia's future and that is what this Government has shown over the last eight years. Home buyers rely on good economic management, small businesses do and ultimately people rely on it for their jobs.

It is a very great pleasure for me to be down here today to support Andrew Robb the candidate for Goldstein, a very old and dear friend of mine who I think is working extremely hard to win the trust and the confidence of the people of Goldstein and I wish him all the best. And I make this pledge to the people of Goldstein that if the Government is re-elected, economic management in this country will remain strong, families will be able to plan for the future with confidence and businesses will be able to create jobs to keep our economy going.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think you have a monopoly on that good management line?

TREASURER:

Well you can compare the Government's record over the last eight years with the Government before it. You can compare this Government's record with other countries around the world during the same eight years, almost alone of the countries of the developed world, we have grown over the last eight years and economies bigger than ours have gone into recession. The Americans have, the French and the Germans and the Japanese, so if you compare us during this period with countries overseas or you compare us with previous Governments in Australia, the record is strong. And we will put our record of managing the Australian economy up against Mark Latham's record for managing the Liverpool Council, any day.

JOURNALIST:

On another issue, how do you feel about Mr Latham's concept for the Gold Medicare?

TREASURER:

Well I think this policy of Mr Latham's has got a lot of problems and he is beginning to realise what they are. The first thing is, if you give up your private health insurance and you rely on Mr Latham's promise to find you a bed, he doesn't guarantee you a private bed. You could well be left without your private health insurance and offered a shared ward and his policy says, if you want the option of a private bed you will have to pay. Of course you wouldn't have insurance by that point so it would be a very high amount. The second point that I will make is this: if the number of beds are the same, and he guarantees to get more over 75s into those beds, the only consequence is that some other group will have less access. You have got the same number of beds and you are promising more to over 75s, that is good if you are over 75 but if you are under 75 you could be the one that misses out as a consequence. So as the course of the day has gone on, I think some of these problems are beginning to dawn on Mr Latham, that this policy has a lot of problems. And I would say to any 75 year-old, if you are going to give up your private health insurance and rest your health care on an assurance from Mr Latham for the rest of your life, you would have to be pretty game, it is a very big risk. I can tell you this, I wouldn't be risking my health at 75 on promises from Mr Latham.

JOURNALIST:

Aren't you catering to a fear factor there?

TREASURER:

Well I am making the point that I don't think his policy will work. I hope he doesn't get the opportunity to experience these failures because I hope he is not elected. I am warning people of the consequences. I am saying this, that if you are 75 and you have had private health insurance for most of your life and you decide you are going to give it up because Mr Latham says he will look after you, you are putting a very big confidence in the hands of Mr Latham. And once you are out of that private health insurance, then you are not going to have any safety net. So people have got to think very carefully whether they are going to trust their health care in their declining years to Mr Latham. Personally, I wouldn't do it, but people will make their own decisions. OK, thanks very much. Thank you.

30 Sep 2004

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