Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Ballarat Prisoner of War Memorial, Deer Park By-Pass, Family First, Labour Force Figures, World Oil Prices - Doorstop Interview, Ballarat

TRANSCRIPT

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
TREASURER

Doorstop Interview
Australian Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial
Ballarat,Victoria

Thursday, 7 October 2004
11.55 am

 

SUBJECTS: Ballarat Prisoner of War Memorial, Deer ParkBy-Pass, Family First, Labour Force Figures, World Oil Prices

TREASURER:

Well it is a pleasure to be here today in Ballarat with Elizabeth Matuschka the Liberal candidate and it was a wonderful opportunity to see the Prisoner of War Memorial which is a very moving memorial and which I think is a great tribute to Australia's prisoners of war and to the people of Ballarat that have put it together.

The city of Ballarat has previously written to the Federal Government and asked for a contribution of $290,000 to help with the business plan to complete the memorial and to make it fully operational and I have just informed the committee that the Federal Government will be providing $300,000 for that business plan in the current financial year to assist with the completion of the memorial.

It is a contribution that I think the Federal Government is honoured to make with the help of the private sector, the contributions which I hope will also be forthcoming from the State and this of course is in addition to the $200,000 which the Federal Government has already put into construction.

I hope that the Prisoner of War Memorial here in Ballarat becomes very meaningful for all of the families of the Prisoners of War. I hope it is a Memorial that reminds future Australians of the great sacrifices that were made. I hope it becomes a major stopping place for remembrance here in Ballarat and the Federal Government contribution of $300,000 in the current financial year, I hope, will assist the business plan in making it fulfil all of those objectives.

JOURNALIST:

Dana Vale was very insistent only a few months ago that this (inaudible) was not a national memorial, why has something changed?

TREASURER:

Well we have had further representations from Michael Ronaldson, from Elizabeth Matuschka, I got out the correspondence, I took the opportunity to come and see it and I think it is the right thing to do.

JOURNALIST:

It is not the fact that there is an election on and this is a marginal seat?

TREASURER:

Well I think it is the right thing to do. I am not putting it forward in politically partisan terms. I would hope that if there were a change of Government you would also have such an assistance but I can assure you of this, that as Treasurer, I am making this commitment. If I am Treasurer after the election, I can assure you it will be honoured.

JOURNALIST:

So you are happy this is (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well I think it should be considered a place of remembrance for Australia's Prisoners of War and I think if people from all over Australia can come here and engage in remembrance, I hope they do, and I think it is also a great thing for the city of Ballarat.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, (inaudible) a question, if people from all over Australia can come here to celebrate our Ex-Prisoners of War, why can't the Government recognise this as a national memorial?

TREASURER:

Well the Government has just recognised it with a contribution of $300,000, and…

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) memorial…

TREASURER:

…well, let's not get hung up with syntax…

JOURNALIST:

…well, (inaudible)…

TREASURER:

…well the reason I am here today is to announce $300,000 to fix and bring to fruition the business plan for the Prisoner of War Memorial. And I think that will be warmly welcomed by the committee and I think it will be warmly welcomed by the people of Ballarat and I would just say on an issue like this which is something that cuts very deeply in the national consciousness, I hope that those people that are affected do recognise as the Commonwealth Government does, the importance of this place.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, can I ask, why hasn't the Government funded the Deer Park By-pass?

TREASURER:

Well this is the Government that has announced funding for the Deer Park By-pass of $80 million and it is part of our Auslink Programme. We are the only Government, Commonwealth Government, that has announced funding for the Deer Park By-pass.

JOURNALIST:

But you know that Labor has obviously bettered your deal?

TREASURER:

Well the Labor Party has said that they may take funds out of the Scoresby Freeway if they are elected. And then they say, oh we may spend the money on Deer Park. But I would make this point to you, if you couldn't believe the Labor Party on the Scoresby Freeway, why would you believe it on the Deer Park By-pass? You see, Labor also said they were going to build the Scoresby Freeway. Mr Bracks now says he is going to put tolls on it. People who see Labor's track record on road funding I think should be very, very suspicious about what they are saying over the Deer Park By-pass. In fact I think I would put a Freedom of Information request on the Labor Government at the moment to see whether they are working on any other nasty surprises.

JOURNALIST:

So you don't think they would get it done?

TREASURER:

Well, we are the Government that made a commitment to the Scoresby Freeway, we are the Government who will build the Scoresby Freeway. Labor committed to the Scoresby Freeway, Labor will not build the Scoresby Freeway. All I am saying is I think the track record of the Coalition announcing and delivering is much stronger than the kind of empty hollow promises you get from the Labor Party, that is my point.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello the Prime Minister has yet to visit the ex-Prisoner of War Memorial, do you think it is important that he does?

TREASURER:

I think he would be very moved by it. If he has the opportunity I am sure he will. I was very moved by it today and it is the first opportunity I have had to look at it and it has been a great experience.

JOURNALIST:

Elizabeth Matuschka, you said you would bring the Prime Minister to Ballarat before the election, is there something you know that we don't?

MATUSCHKA:

No I didn't actually say that, I said that the Prime Minister has said to me that he is very keen to visit Ballarat and that he would come here if he had time before the election.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello you are only the second senior Liberal to visit this seat, this is a marginal seat, there is a perception that the Liberals have given up any chance of winning it, what…

TREASURER:

Well I think that Ballarat is going to be a tight race. I think the incumbent Labor Member is taking the electorate for granted and she is betraying a great deal of confidence and I would say to the people of Ballarat, I'd think very carefully on Saturday about your vote, you have the opportunity I think, to have an energetic person like Elizabeth as the local candidate and I think at the national level, think very carefully about the implications. If Labor is elected on Saturday, your mortgage, your business, your job, will rely upon the economic management of Mark Latham and that is a big risk. And I would say to people think very carefully – do you want the failed Mayor of a failed Sydney council running an $800 billion national economy – I certainly wouldn't be risking it if it was me.

JOURNALIST:

What do you think the chances are of reclaiming Ballarat?

TREASURER:

Well I am hopeful. We are working to re-claim it, Elizabeth is working to re-claim it. We are putting our case forcefully to the people of Ballarat, we don't take anything for granted, we hope that we can win their trust.

JOURNALIST:

How important has the Family First preference deal been to the Liberal Party in (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well if people who support families think carefully, I think they will all give preferences to the Liberal Party because I think the Liberal Party is a pro-family party and…

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) a church party you have visited the Hillsong Church (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

…well there is nothing wrong with churches, and I don't make any apology for visiting churches. I go as regularly as I can, people probably say I should go more often. But I go as regularly as I can and I would say to people who believe in family values that you can vote for the Liberal Party, I think you should vote for the Liberal Party first, myself, but if you are thinking of voting for another party than certainly vote for the Liberal Party second.

JOURNALIST:

Will Family First have any role in policy should you win Government and should Family First win some seats in the Senate?

TREASURER:

Well if they won seats in the Senate I imagine they would be trying to influence policy in the same way that Bob Brown does, in the same way that One Nation does, in the same way that the Democrats do and the same way that the other political parties do. But that is the point of getting elected, you get the chance to actually influence things. But can I tell you, as far as I am concerned, I am punting for Liberal candidates in the lower house and I am punting for Liberal Senators in the Senate. And the wonderful thing is, we have got a wonderful candidate for the Senate here in Victoria, Michael Ronaldson who the people of Ballarat would know. Now, can I just say one other thing…

JOURNALIST:

Can I ask you…

TREASURER:

 …last question and then I have got to say one thing about the Labour Force.

JOURNALIST:

…when Mark Latham was here just before the election was announced, he promised that Labor would fly the Eureka Flag at Parliament House, what do you think of that and (inaudible)?

TREASURER:

Well I think the Australian Flag should fly on Parliament House. We have got one flag, the Australian flag, it represents our nation. I think the Eureka Flag is a great flag to fly at the Eureka Stockade and at Sovereign Hill, but I don't think it is a great flag to fly at Parliament House, I think that the Australian Flag should fly at Parliament House.

Now, today's Labour Force, today's Labour Force jobs figures released for the month of September, showed that the number of jobs in Australia increased by 63,000. The unemployment rate consequently fell from 5.7 to 5.6 per cent. In relation to employment, full-time jobs increased by 19,000 for the month, part-time jobs increased by 44,000. Now, if this continues, Australia's unemployment rate below 6 per cent, it is the longest rate that we have had below 6 per cent, now going back more than 20 years. Unemployment is low because our economy is strong. Our economy is strong because our interest rates have been low. An economy doesn't just run itself, economic management is not an accident, it is not a fluke, it takes a lot of work and on Saturday, people will have to decide who is going to be responsible for the management of the $800 billion Australian economy. If you get decisions wrong, people suffer on their mortgages and their businesses and they suffer with the jobs, so I welcome today's labour force figures, it shows that job creation and the Australian economy continues, unemployment is low, more Australian's are in work than ever before and that is the way we need to keep it.

JOURNALIST:

What about your record (inaudible) regional areas?

TREASURER:

Well the record in relation to employment in regional areas has also been strong. Employment in regional areas, including areas like Ballarat, is now at the best it has been in 20 years…

MATUSCHKA:

Down to 6.8 per cent.

TREASURER:

…and that is a consequence of strong economic management and low interest rates and you know, I can remember the days when Labor was in office where you were having unemployment rates of 13 and 14 per cent in regional Victoria. So, if you want compare the record in relation to job creation. Alright, last question, Sir.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) responsibility for the price of petrol being $1.15 a litre in regional areas.

TREASURER:

Well the major determinant for petrol prices is world oil prices. When you have got world oil prices at an all time record for around $50 US a barrel, the petrol price goes up…

JOURNALIST:

What about GST?

TREASURER:

…and until such time as you have world oil prices coming down, you have stability in relation to the Middle East, you have demand being moderated, you are going to have high world oil prices and high petrol prices, I don't like it…

JOURNALIST:

About excise?

TREASURER:

…nobody likes it. Well the Commonwealth excise in relation to petrol is 38 cents a litre, it doesn't move, it doesn't go up…

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)?

TREASURER:

…it doesn't go up, it doesn't have an effect in relation to the petrol price. Whatever the petrol price, the Commonwealth excise is the same. So, it is not a Commonwealth excise that is having any affect in relation to petrol prices, petrol prices are moving because of world oil prices. I don't like it and unfortunately I don't control oil prices, and until such time as we get stability in the Middle East and demand pressures ease, the world oil price is going to be high. Thank you very much.

7 Oct 2004

View more media transcripts …

Latest News

Paris Diary

Peter Costello Paris Diary

Read more …

PPI - Rising Role of Sovereign Wealth Funds

Peter Costello Rising Role of Sovereign Funds Speech

Read more …

The Hole Truth

Peter Costello in the Daily Telegraph

Read more …

Videos

Video Screenshot

Watch videos …