Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Charter of Budget Honesty; Election; Economy - Doorstop Interview, Treasury Place, Melbourne

TRANSCRIPT

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
TREASURER

Doorstop Interview
Treasury Place, Melbourne

Saturday, 2 October 2004
12.25 pm

 

SUBJECTS: Charter of Budget Honesty; Election; Economy

TREASURER:

Well on at least 20 occasions through the course of this election campaign Mark Latham has promised to have his policies given to Treasury and Finance under the Charter of Budget Honesty for independent costing.

And as of the close of business yesterday, Labor had not submitted one full policy for costing.

It had doctored its Tax and Family Policy and submitted a doctored account. It had not submitted its other policies.

It is a public holiday in Canberra on Monday and the election is being held next Saturday.

Throughout the course of this campaign, Mark Latham has engaged in an elaborate game of chasey, hide and seek, promising that he would submit his policies for independent costing and hiding them.

And we are now in a situation where the Federal election is going to be held in a week's time and Mark Latham has refused independent scrutiny of his promises. It is because they don't add up.

Every time you hear Mr Latham say he can afford his policies, remember this, he has hidden them from independent scrutiny.

Some of these policies were released nearly four weeks ago and they still have not been fully submitted for independent verification.

Now, the nature of the game that the Labor Party has been playing was revealed last night when Bob McMullan on Sky Television said that Labor was not going to limit its policies to the things that it could submit to the Departments of Treasury and Finance. That is what he said, on Sky News, last night.

The Finance Spokesman said Labor was no longer limiting itself to the policies which should be submitted to Treasury and Finance. In other words, Labor now intends to be unaccountable, without scrutiny, in breach of the Charter of Budget Honesty, making promises which it knows it can't afford and the Australian people can't believe.

Mr Latham has engaged in an elaborate game to hide his policy from independent costing and verification.

We are now in the last week of the campaign and the public ought to know that what Labor has been saying has not been independently verified, and will not be independently verified if Mr Latham has his way and cannot be trusted.

I am also releasing today this week's Economist magazine, which interestingly argues against Labor's economic policy. The Economist magazine which is the respected magazine published in London three years ago argued for a change of Government in Australia.

This time it argues against a change of Government in Australia. And the reason it does is that it says, Mr Latham has raised serious concerns about how he would handle Australia's unions. That he has promised to restore centralised collective bargaining. This will be anti productivity.

And as I have been arguing throughout the course of this campaign, Labor's industrial relations policy is a threat to our economy. The independent Economist magazine, a magazine which in the last election called for a change to a Labor Government has come out condemning that policy, noted the concerns, and says that the risk of Latham and Labor is too great. Whilst I didn't agree with the Economist magazine at the time of the last election I certainly agree with the Economist magazine at the time of this election.

Are there any questions?

JOURNALIST:

Mr Costello, how do you think the Coalition are looking going into the final week of campaigning? How do you feel about your chances?

TREASURER:

I think the election is neck and neck. I think that either side could win. It is quite possible that when you wake up Sunday of next week that it is Mr Latham that is in control of the economy and your mortgage, your business and your job. And I think people have got to focus on that. And I think in the last week of the campaign people have got to focus on the credibility of these promises which he has made but which he refuses to have verified.

JOURNALIST:

Would you say it is going to be one of the closest elections in recent history?

TREASURER:

All elections are close. They all turn on about one per cent. The last election produced a majority of eight seats. And this will be as tight, if not tighter. It is one per cent of Australians, even less in key marginal seats, which will determine the outcome of this election.

Okay, thank you very much. Thanks for coming.

2 Oct 2004

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