Peter Costello

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Debate; Labor's Tax Policy; Terrorist Attack in Jakarta - Doorstop interview, Treasury Place, Melbourne

TRANSCRIPT

 THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
TREASURER

Doorstop Interview
Treasury Place, Melbourne

Sunday, 12 September 2004
2.30 pm

 

SUBJECTS: Debate; Labor's Tax Policy; Terrorist Attack in Jakarta

TREASURER:

Well in tonight's debate Mr Latham's got to explain to the Australian people why he proposes to take money away from single income families where Mum stays at home to look after the kids.

Mr Latham has singled out families where Mum stays at home to look after the kids for special punishment under his tax policy. And if you are looking after three kids at home and on an income of $25,000 he wants to rip away around $20 a week. Just rip it away from you as if you can afford to raise three kids on $25,000 and have $20 ripped out of your pocket on a weekly basis. So tonight Mr Latham has got to explain why he is targeting mothers who stay at home to look after their kids, to take money away from, and why he wants to make them worse off.

JOURNALIST:

What does the Government need to tell people tonight?

TREASURER:

Well, what the Government will be saying tonight is that if you are worried about making ends meet, if you are worried about your mortgage, if you are worried about your job, if you are worried about the profitability of your business, stick to those people that can manage the Australian economy and keep Australia strong. But if you want to take a risk on somebody who has no economic expertise, whose tax policy is going to make you worse off if Mum stays at home to look after kids, then the risk is there with Latham.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think the economy will be one of the critical issues tonight given what's happened in Jakarta in the last few days?

TREASURER:

Well I think there are going to be two big issues in this campaign and two big issues in this debate. One, who can look after Australia's economy, keep interest rates low and help people afford their mortgages. And who can keep Australia strong. These are the issues that are going to be debated tonight and in the campaign.

JOURNALIST:

How critical is it that it is this far out? I mean it is still a month away until the election day. Should there be more than one debate?

TREASURER:

Well this is an opportunity for Mr Latham to come clean. And he has got to explain why he wants to punish mothers who stay at home to look after their children. It is not that he doesn't want to help them, he wants to take money away from them. It is the most extraordinary tax package I have ever seen. It is designed to make it harder for those families with three kids where Mum chooses to stay at home and look after them.

JOURNALIST:

Should Mr Latham be given more than one chance to get that message across? I mean, there is only one debate, should there be more one?

TREASURER:

Well Mr Latham has had plenty of time to release his tax policies and to have them costed. Why is he hiding from costing? Tonight he has got to explain why he is making families worse off and why he won't even have his policies costed.

JOURNALIST:

Should there be a worm tonight?

TREASURER:

I am sure there will be a worm and I am sure people will have some fun watching it after the event.

JOURNALIST:

On the issue of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld has come out today saying that it is a fair assessment that countries that supported the Coalition of the Willing may be targeted. Is that a fair assessment?

TREASURER:

Well it is not a fair assessment in Australia's case because we know that Australia was targeted by terrorists before there was any military engagement in Iraq. We were targeted when 88 of our fellow citizens were killed in Bali. That was long before Iraq. So we were a target, we were a target in Indonesia long before Iraq.

JOURNALIST:

Has John Anderson got it wrong then this morning when he said we may be a target?

TREASURER:

Oh no, I think he made it clear in a statement that he has issued that he is talking about Australia being penalised for tracking down JI terrorists. And we are not going to be deterred from tracking down JI terrorists.

JOURNALIST:

And now that Essendon is out of the football are you bitterly disappointed?

TREASURER:

Catastrophic. I am crushed.

JOURNALIST:

Thank you very much.

12 Sep 2004

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