Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Mark Latham, automotive industry - Doorstop Interview, Bulleen

Doorstop Interview
Veneto Club, Bulleen

Friday, 9 November 2007

11.30 am

 

SUBJECTS: Mark Latham, automotive industry

JOURNALIST:

Mr Latham’s comments initially in the Fin Review today, a Rudd Labor Government would be more conservative than the Coalition. What do you make of that?

TREASURER:

Well, what Mark Latham said today is behind the scenes, and I quote it, “Labor people are reassuring each other once Howard is gone, a radical reform program can begin.” What Mark Latham was saying in today’s Financial Review is precisely what Peter Garrett was saying, that all of this spiel we get from Mr Rudd about how he would be just like a Coalition Government is a PR con. Behind the scenes the Labor Party are telling their real friends and supporters once they get into office they’ll come out with the true agenda. Peter Garrett said that. Peter Garrett said once they get in they intend to change it all. Mark Latham tells us in the Financial Review today that behind the scenes Labor people are saying once Howard goes they can get on with the radical program. Now this should be a worry to people. Kevin Rudd runs around now saying he’s an economic conservative. When was the first time he ever used that phrase? This year. Never used it before in the Parliament, never used it when it came to actually backing economic reform. It is just a PR stunt. And Mr Rudd is saying one thing to the public and he’s saying another thing to the Labor Party. What he is saying to the Labor Party is ‘once we get in, we’ll change it all’.

JOURNALIST:

It sounds like you’re giving Mr Latham credibility?

TREASURER:

Well, Mr Latham of course is the person who Kevin Rudd tried to make Prime Minister at the last election. And Mr Latham was the person that Labor put forward to be Prime Minister at the last election. Mr Latham would have a pretty fair idea what’s going on in the Labor Party and what he tells us is behind the scenes they are reassuring each other; once they get in there will be a radical change.

JOURNALIST:

You didn’t think he had any credibility in the past though?

TREASURER:

I didn’t think Mark Latham would have made a good Prime Minister. I never supported him for Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd did. Bear in mind this, Kevin Rudd went right through the 2004 election saying that Mark Latham was the man to lead Australia. I didn’t, Kevin did.

JOURNALIST:

You’d hardly call Mark Latham a Labor Party insider these days.

TREASURER:

He’s a former Labor leader. He served with every Labor MP. He’s very much a Labor Party insider. He was their leader as recently as three years ago.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, Australia’s car industry, does it need further assistance from the Government if it is to survive, are things that dire in the automotive industry?

TREASURER:

I was very interested by what I read in the paper today. The car industry of course is competing with a high exchange rate and that makes things more difficult. But I thought it was also very interesting that the car manufacturers said they feared union militancy under a Labor Government. It should strike a chill into all Australians because business is now starting to worry about union militancy under a Rudd Labor Government. It is something that is creating a lot of uncertainty in the car industry and if you get the union militants back under a Labor Government, it will be bad for investment and it will be bad for jobs.

JOURNALIST:

Would you give the industry the hand-outs that they’re asking for?

TREASURER:

Well we have a competitiveness scheme in place for the industry but what we’ll give the industry assurance about is that under our Government they won’t have to front up against militant unionism, industrial stoppages and disputation. That’s what they’re worried about. That’s what they said in the papers today. They’re worried about a return to militant unionism under a Labor Government. And so they should be, because there would be a return to union power under a Rudd Labor ACTU Government.

JOURNALIST:

Automotive manufacturers are important to Victoria in particular, would the Government stand by and let Ford shut down its Geelong and Broadmeadows operations?

TREASURER:

Well the Government has in place a competitiveness scheme which is providing assistance to the Australian manufacturers. But, let me say, the worse thing that could happen for Australian manufacturers is the election of a Rudd Government because as the manufacturers have said, this will bring militant unionism back into the car industry. Strikes and stoppages are no good for domestic production.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, what’s your definition of sorry?

TREASURER:

Well, I think, I think these things stand and explain themselves.

JOURNALIST:

John Howard seems to think there’s a difference between sorry and I apologise, and I know you said sorry the other day, do you apologise?

TREASURER:

Well, I said precisely last week what I had to say. It’s there for the record, go and have a look at the transcript.

JOURNALIST:

But in the context of this interest rate rise, what is the difference between apologising and saying sorry? What is the difference?

TREASURER:

Well, I direct you to my transcript. Okay, thanks.

9 Nov 2007

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