Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Doorstop Interview, David Bushby's Electorate Office, Rosny, Tasmania

TRANSCRIPT 

Of

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP

FEDERAL MEMBER FOR HIGGINS

DOORSTOP

OFFICE OF SENATOR DAVID BUSHBY

ROSNY, TASMANIA

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

2.30pm

 

E & OE

SUBJECTS:      David Bushby, Party Renewal, Economy.

JOURNALIST:

What brings you to Tasmania?

MR COSTELLO:

I am opening the office of Senator David Bushby, the newly installed Senator for Tasmania.  He's doing a great job in Canberra and this is his new office and he invited me to come down to support him and I'm only too happy to do so. I am also supporting Vanessa Goodwin who is running in a by-election on the weekend, she is a great candidate and I hope she's elected.

JOURNALIST:

How are the Liberal's going in Tasmania?  Obviously we have got this by-election and a State Election in March?

MR COSTELLO:

Well, we are hoping for a good outcome in the by-election on the weekend. You can't take these things for granted, obviously it will be a tough fight, but I think Vanessa Goodwin is well known as a candidate.  She' is concentrating on local issues. She got a great chance of being elected. I think Will Hodgman has a good chance of being elected too in March of next year.  It's too early to call a State Election when you are nine months out but Will is energetic and talented and he has got a good team.

JOURNALIST:

The opinion polls, do you think Malcolm Turnbull's results will affect what will happen on Saturday?

MR COSTELLO:

No. I think that the by-election will be fought on state issues.  They are the issues that will be in peoples' minds, they will be fought out by the candidates, Vanessa Goodwin has a lot that she can bring to the by-election.  I don't think it'll be a Canberra based by-election, I think it will be very much a Tasmanian based by-election.

JOURNALIST:

How long do you think Mr Turnbull can last on the basis of those figures?

MR COSTELLO:

Well look, Malcolm Turnbull has every opportunity at the next election when you think about the fact that the Budget is now in deep deficit, Labor has re-borrowed all of the debt that we paid off over 11 years of Government, unemployment is rising, confidence is down.  Now this presents Malcolm Turnbull with a great opportunity in a slowing economy with a Budget deficit which is growing by the day, it is a great opportunity for him to campaign on economic issues.  And the fact that the economy has actually turned down as much as it has, since the November 2007 Election should be a great opportunity for Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberal Party.

JOURNALIST:

But will the Party hold on to him if he continues to return those sorts of figures in the opinion polls?

MR COSTELLO:

Well, the Party obviously will want to put it's best foot forward for the election.  And the Party obviously will have to put forward policies to win the trust of the Australian public at the time of the next election.  And my advice to the Party would be to concentrate on the issues, concentrate on the policies, get the policy right, appeal to the Australian public. The Australian public want to know if they are going to have a job.  They want to know how we are going to get our kids out of this debt that's being built up.  They want to know what the future is going to be in terms of services.  They are the issues that the Liberal Party in my view has to focus on.

JOURNALIST:

What sort of Leader would Tony Abbott make for the Liberal Party?

MR COSTELLO:

Well, Tony is a character and he has put forward his views in his recent book and I suppose if you want to know what Tony stands for and believes in read his book.  That will give you the best idea.

JOURNALIST:

It's not the best of, it's not the glowing endorsement there at all?

MR COSTELLO:

Tony has been a colleague of mine for a long period of time, he's a character, I think he brings a lot of colour to the Parliament.  But as far as I know he's not running for Leader of the Liberal Party so, I can't give him an endorsement.

JOURNALIST:

Are there any members of the Liberal Party still trying to convince you that perhaps you could have one more go for the good of the Party?  Are you still getting phone calls?

MR COSTELLO:

Look, the feedback from the public has been very supportive and I thank them very, very much, but I've made my announcement.

JOURNALIST:

In terms of the Party generally, long time members like Wilson Tuckey saying that they're going to run again, is it time for some renewal in the Party to perhaps get some more young blood through?

MR COSTELLO:

In my view there is a place in a political party for experience and there is a place for youth.  I think you need both.  I think we do need to get young people in.  I think we do need to build for the future.  That has always been part of my advice to the Liberal Party.  That is advice I put to the Liberal Party before the 2007 Election.  I thought we needed to rebuild then.  But that doesn't mean that everybody with experience should leave. Wilson Tuckey is an enormously successful candidate in elections. He has enormous support in that electorate and he's a highly intelligent person. I haven't agreed with everything Wilson has said over the years and over the years he has said some pretty funny things about me.  But I'll tell you this, he's a very intelligent man.  And I'll make this point that when you go to Canberra, you go to Canberra to take a view, and you are entitled to put your view.  You are entitled to put your view in the Parliament, you are entitled to put your view in the Party Room.  Nothing wrong with putting a view.  Now when the Party makes a decision it is best if the members support that decision.  But you have every right to put your view in the forums of the Party when it is coming to a policy decision.  And I wouldn't want to see a situation where Liberals sit back and say we're not allowed to express a view.  That's what you're there for.  You're there to represent your constituents and to bring a view.  And I think a vigorous debate never hurt any political party.

JOURNALIST:

You spoke about the economy in your speech earlier.  Do you think Australia has come out of the worst of it?

MR COSTELLO:

Australia went into this instability in an incredibly strong position.  Because unlike Britain and unlike America we had a Budget in surplus.  And unlike Britain and unlike America we had no debt.  Unlike Britain and unlike America our banks were well regulated and well capitalised.  So the strength of the Australian economy is the strength of its starting position and that is what's going to mean that we'll come out of this better than Britain, we'll come out of it better that America.  Why?  Because we started from a position of strength. And I hate to think what would have happened if we hadn't started from that position of strength. But it gave us a lot of padding, a lot of insulation, and as a result of that Australia will do better than other countries.

JOURNALIST:

But do you think it is the beginning of the end or do you think there is sometime to go yet before this, we've come through it?

MR COSTELLO:

Well, I think that it's plain that people are losing jobs and unfortunately it looks like more Australians will lose jobs.  But I also think it won't be as many Australians that will lose there jobs as Britons and Americans and that's because we were in such a strong position to start off with.  We were in a position where unemployment was at 4 per cent, we had full employment, we had created 2.2 million new jobs before this instability started.  So I would want to go into instability from a position of strength, that is what we did in Australia. Last Question.

JOURNALIST:

Finally on that issue, I guess, how, what do you make of the way the Government has handled this economic crisis?

MR COSTELLO:

Well, the Government has had the advantage of an incredibly strong starting position.  Obama didn't inherit a US Budget which was in surplus, Obama didn't inherit a US Government which had no debt, Obama didn't inherit well capitalised and profitable American Banks.  He came into a situation of deep deficit, deep debt, of poor banking regulation.  Mr Rudd inherited a position of strength, a Budget surplus, no debt, capitalised banks, the Prudential Regulatory Authority which had ensured that the system was sound and secure.  As I said at the time, the greatest inheritance any incoming Prime Minister has ever had, upon a change of Government.  And that has given us enormous strength.  Thank you very much.

 

29 Jul 2009

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