Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Mr Latham'€™s Plagiarism, Economy - Interview with Matt Brown, ABC AM

TRANSCRIPT
THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP
Treasurer

Interview with Matt Brown
AM, ABC

Thursday, 22 April 2004
8.05 am

SUBJECTS: Mr Latham’s Plagiarism, Economy

BROWN:

Peter Costello, are you against what Mark Latham is saying about trying to make sure every 12 year old has access to the Internet, about making sure every teenager has the chance to get a higher education.

TREASURER:

Well let’s be clear about who is saying what. Bill Clinton of course was saying that, Bill Clinton said that in his State of the Union address, and along comes Mark Latham, he says I have got some new ideas, I am a breath of fresh air. And what we find out in fact he is doing is he is repeating the Clinton State of the Union address, now…

BROWN:

Does that mean they are good ideas?

TREASURER:

…well, Bill Clinton is not running for Prime Minister of Australia, Mark Latham is. The thing I find extraordinary about this Matt, is that Mark Latham has made a bit of a career on anti-Americanism, he has accused the Coalition of being lickers and suck holes, and what do we find, he recycles American political speeches, and then claims that they are his own.

It is the most extraordinary thing, and I think that this really illustrates that as I said earlier, the Latham ideas are essentially generated by internet search engines. Now, we noticed this when he was trying to be the Shadow Treasurer, he would come up with a new economic theory on a daily basis, there was never any depth to it and no understanding.

BROWN:

But let’s go to the current day, the present day, when you and the Prime Minister say that you are not going to cut and run from Iraq, you don’t seem to worry that those are the exact words that US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage used in mid-March.

TREASURER:

Well Matt, let me just finish that point I was making. What we found out that Mr Latham was doing, was that he was going to the internet, he would get on to Google which is a search engine, and he would type in something like economic policy, and that would come back as the economic policy and he went through all of the fads on economic policy. And I think that what has happened here is somebody has gone to the internet and they have typed in the words, ‘good speeches’ and up has come the Clinton State of the Union speech, and Mr Latham has essentially delivered these lines. And I must say…

BROWN:

How does it happen then, that the Federal Government, the Prime Minister, yourself, your fellow Cabinet Minister say that you are not going to cut and run from Iraq and Richard Armitage says that the Coalition, the US is not going to cut and run from Iraq. Is there anything wrong with that repetition?

TREASURER:

…well, Mr Latham must have thought this speech was a great joke, because he was giving a speech on Australian identity, and in the course of giving a speech on Australian identity, what he has done is he has plagiarised the speech of an American politician, he must have been sitting there thinking to himself, this is a great joke which we are playing on the Australian public. Now the point about all of this Matt…

BROWN:

Why is it OK Treasurer, for Richard Armitage and…

TREASURER:

…no, Matt…

BROWN:

…I am just trying to get you to answer this question, why is it OK…

TREASURER:

…no, because the issue that, the issue…

BROWN:

…to repeat the same lines as Richard Armitage and not OK for Mark Latham to sound like Bill Clinton?

TREASURER:

…no, because Mark Latham has plagiarised the speech of Bill Clinton, that is the issue that arose last night, rather than admit it and say well, you know I shouldn’t have done it, Mark Latham now denies it, the record is there for everybody to see, and Matt, the critical point is this, what does Mr Latham think about plagiarism? Well, we know, because he gave…

BROWN:

He says he is not a plagiarist.

TREASURER:

…we know because he gave a speech in the House of Representatives on 27th of May 1996 attacking Richard Evans the Member for Cowan as a plagiarist and he said that Mr Evans, and these were Mr Latham’s words was nothing more than “a cheat, a fraud and a plagiariser” and he called for him to resign from the House of Representatives. Now all I am saying is that this is the standard that Mr Latham has set up in relation to plagiarism - the question is will he be living by his own standards?

BROWN:

Your heading off now to Washington, to meet with people in the International Monetary Fund. You will be meeting with Alan Greenspan the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, and he’s signalled that US interest rates may soon rise. The IMF says that needs to happen, essentially around the world. What are the implications of that for Australia?

TREASURER:

Well US interest rates have been at historical lows, official interest rates around about 1% and that is because the US economy has been in recession. Now the US economy is moving out of recession and it is growing, you would expect that as the economy grows in the United States that interest rates will rise somewhat. The situation been different in Australia however, we haven’t been in recession, we avoided the US recession, we avoided the recession that hit most of the rest of the world and our interest rates are not at 1 per cent, the short end of our interest rates are significantly more than that so...

BROWN:

… However Ian MacFarlane the Governor of the Australian Reserve Bank said last week that housing lending is still too high, still unsustainable and needs to come down. Around $12 billion a month it is at the moment. Do you agree with that?

TREASURER:

Well I think that the housing market has come off, yes I do. I think it has come off in terms of auction clearances and it has come off in terms of borrowing and certainly I think in the unit area of the market there is evidence of oversupply, so I think that the Australian housing market is cooling. I don’t think that is a bad thing, incidentally.

I would prefer to see prices plateau because I don’t think they can continue to grow at the rate that they have been in the last couple of years and if in fact that does occur as we expect that it will, I think it will actually be a welcome rather than an unwelcome development.

BROWN:

Treasurer thanks for joining AM.

TREASURER:

Great pleasure Matt, thank you.

23 Apr 2004

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