Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Labor's Tax Agenda; Leadership; NSW Funding - Doorstop Interview, Treasury Place, Melbourne

TRANSCRIPT
THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
Treasurer

Doorstop Interview
Treasury Place, Melbourne

Sunday 7 March 2004
12.00 Noon

 

SUBJECTS: Labor’s Tax Agenda, Leadership, NSW Funding

JOURNALIST:

I don’t know whether you saw the Sunday program on Channel Nine this morning and the Latham interview (inaudible) but a few things have come out of that (inaudible). First of all the Opposition Leader is refusing to rule out tax increases if they go into power. What is your response to that?

TREASURER:

There is no doubt that if Mr Latham was elected to government, Labor would increase taxes. They have to increase taxes because they have made so many unfunded promises. We know from Mr Latham’s record that the first day on the job as Shadow Treasurer he wanted to abolish negative gearing. In September of last year he wrote a secret letter to Access Economics asking them to cost increases to capital gains tax, and today he can’t rule out tax increases because Labor’s program is to increase taxes. As sure as night follows day, Labor wants to increase taxes. The only thing I say to Mr Latham is tell the public now, don’t try to sneak in to office and do it afterwards.

JOURNALIST:

Given the cost of the Iraq and Solomons engagements, can you definitely rule out that your Government won’t increase taxes to meet the cost of those?

TREASURER:

The Government will not be introducing new taxes, we will not be increasing the existing taxes. In fact in the last Budget we cut tax, we introduced an income tax cut for every Australian. But Labor has to increase taxes because they are making promises they cannot afford. Their economic policy is a shambles. We have a secret letter they have written to their consultant, asking the consultant on options to increase capital gains taxes. Mr Latham himself said he wanted to abolish negative gearing and as sure as night follows day Labor will increase taxes if they ever get elected.

JOURNALIST:

Now the Opposition Leader says it should be relatively easy for you to rule out an opposition challenge to Mr Howard. Will you?

TREASURER:

Well I noticed this morning that Mr Latham can’t rule out increasing taxes. He has got all sorts of advice for everybody else. Let’s just focus on what Mr Latham is about here. He was asked whether he would rule out increasing taxes and he doesn’t. We have a secret letter showing that he’s working on tax increases, and we know from his record he wants to abolish negative gearing. Mr Latham wants to increase taxes and I say to him - tell the public now, don’t try to slip into office and tell them afterwards.

JOURNALIST:

Is it basically none of his business that he should say that it’s relatively easy for you to rule out an opposition to the Prime Minister?

TREASURER:

Mr Latham is full of advice on what should be ruled in or should be ruled out, and yet he can’t rule out increasing taxes. He caught himself this morning, he was caught by his own words. He can’t rule out increasing taxes because he has got a secret plan. Come clean now, Mr Latham.

JOURNALIST:

(Inaudible) would you regard maybe as your greatest opponent in becoming Prime Minister, Mr Howard or Mr Latham?

TREASURER:

We have got an election coming up and I can tell you this I will be working as hard as possible for the return of the Liberal government.

JOURNALIST:

Now Mark Latham has also said that this morning that he has never told a lie in politics. Do you believe this?

TREASURER:

Well let’s give him the benefit of the doubt - he changes his mind on very frequent occasions.

JOURNALIST:

You know what the general public would say of course, is it really possible for any politician to be in that job and I mean it’s part, it’s part of the brief isn’t it, it’s part of the CV?

TREASURER:

Well let’s give Mr Latham the benefit of the doubt - he has said a lot of things and he has contradicted himself later on. Let’s just say he has changed his mind much more frequently than other people in politics.

JOURNALIST:

Just to State matters, Bob Carr has this morning said that, or branded John Howard as a “serial burglar” because he is going back on his word, according to the NSW Premier on the health care agreement with the States which he says will cost NSW $100 million and if the Budget is in the red up there it will be Mr Howard’s and your fault?

TREASURER:

Bob Carr is preparing a litany of excuses to say that everybody except that Bob Carr is responsible for NSW and the only thing I would say to Mr Carr is you have been the Premier for what, 8 or 9 or maybe more years, take responsibility, don’t try and push your problems off onto somebody else. These things are determined by independent commission, the Commonwealth Grants Commission. NSW was happy to take advantage of this procedure when it delivered them a bonus. Mr Carr wrote in his diary how pleased he was. When the independent commission brings down the system the Commonwealth will abide by it. Mr Carr should abide by it but he should take responsibility for his own government.

JOURNALIST:

So the Premier is basically looking for a scapegoat?

TREASURER:

Well I think that Mr Carr has been Premier of NSW long enough to start taking responsibility for his own budget and he can’t try and pretend that somebody else is responsible for his own budget. He’s the Premier, he’s the Premier of NSW, he’s responsible for it.

 

7 Mar 2004

View more media transcripts …

Latest News

Paris Diary

Peter Costello Paris Diary

Read more …

To the Brink 1997-2001 Black Holes to Surplus Budgets

Peter Costello To the Brink 1997-2001 Black Holes to Surplus Budgets

Read more …

The Hole Truth

Peter Costello in the Daily Telegraph

Read more …

Videos

Video Screenshot

Watch videos …