Peter Costello

Media Transcripts

Interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW, 23 September 2009

Transcript

of

The Hon Peter Costello MP

Federal Member for Higgins

Interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

9.20am

 

E&OE
SUBJECTS:  Double dissolution; emissions trading; Matthew Lloyd.

MITCHELL:

On the line is a man who has been Treasurer, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and in fact would have been in the forefront of such discussions when they were going on in the Conservative Government about forcing early elections and the rest, the Member for Higgins, Peter Costello, good morning.

MR COSTELLO:

Good morning Neil.

MITCHELL:

I should say the retiring Member for Higgins.

MR COSTELLO:

Certainly.

MITCHELL:

Okay.  Point one will there be an early, does Labor want an early election?

MR COSTELLO:

I don't think that Rudd wants to see this legislation defeated.  The point that I make in the papers this morning is that he actually wants Turnbull and the Coalition to vote for this legislation because when energy prices start rising, when food goes up and services become more expensive he wants to be able to say oh well you voted for it - that this was a bipartisan thing.  So that for all of the talk if he really wanted an early election he wouldn't be trying to get the Coalition to vote for the legislation he would be trying to get the Coalition to vote against it.

MITCHELL:

And your view is that it would be that negative if you have increases in food and services and everything?

MR COSTELLO:

Well I think what the public has been told is one side of the story.  One side of the story is we will reduce carbon emissions and most people would think that is good.  The other side of the story is of course the way we are going to reduce carbon emissions is we are going to put up the price of power so that you use less of it.  We are going to put up the price of coal fired electricity in particular which is where we get our electricity from so that eventually you will start buying other forms of electricity which certainly happen to be uneconomic at the moment because they are much more expensive.  So there is another side to all of this - the way people are going to reduce carbon emissions is we are all going to be paying more.  And I think once it becomes apparent to people that there is in fact a cost, there is a cost not only on the hip pocket but there is a cost on jobs they will start to think that maybe the argument wasn't as clear cut as they originally thought.

MITCHELL:

Does the Coalition want an early election?

MR COSTELLO:

Well I can't speak for the whole Coalition but I don't think the Coalition is trying to engineer an early election, no, I think the normal time for the election would be in the second half of next year and a double dissolution only gives you the option of going in the first half of next year.  So bear in mind this, the difference between a normal election and a double dissolution amounts to all of six months.  It is not a big issue and for whatever reason the speculation is out there.  In my view at the end of the day Mr Rudd wants the Coalition to vote for this legislation because he wants to lock them in in a bipartisan way when the price rises start occurring.

MITCHELL:

So it is your view the Coalition should not vote for the legislation?

MR COSTELLO:

Well I am not actually in this column today taking a position on the way they should vote.  I am just saying...

MITCHELL:

I noticed, that is why I asked you.

MR COSTELLO:

I am saying this, don't be bluffed by the threat of a double dissolution.  The Government doesn't want it, decide whether the legislation is good or whether the legislation is bad and vote on whether it is good or bad don't vote for other tactical political reasons.

MITCHELL:

So what's your view?  Is it good or bad legislation?

MR COSTELLO:

Well look I think in its current form it is not acceptable.

MITCHELL:

So you would vote against it?

MR COSTELLO:

Well the Coalition has voted against it in its current form.  The question then becomes whether it can be improved. 

MITCHELL:

Yeah okay.  Can it?

MR COSTELLO:

Well I think Neil, I think you said in your introduction this is mind numbing detail and there is going to be a lot of discussion over the next couple of months about some of the detail and the public I think will find it very hard to follow.  But I would make this point - I think it is very, very important here that we figure out what the rest of the world is going to do before we lock ourselves in here in Australia.  Bear in mind it is all very good for Australia to reduce its carbon emissions but if the rest of the world actually is increasing theirs in particular China and India it won't make any difference.

MITCHELL:

What is the best chance for the Coalition in political terms you would have to say winning the next election is an outside chance wouldn't you?

MR COSTELLO:

I would say winning an election against a government in its first term is always hard and it's rarely done.  But it has been done.  But I would agree with you a government is the favourite when it is coming up for its first re-election but that doesn't mean it can't be done.

MITCHELL:

And when would the election best suit the Coalition?

MR COSTELLO:

Well I think the Coalition should be prepared as from now.  If it is a double dissolution it's going to be in the first half of next year, if it's a normal election it will be in the second half of next year.

MITCHELL:

I understand that.  But when would it...

MR COSTELLO:

One way or the other in my view is it should be ready now.

MITCHELL:

I would agree they should be ready, everybody should be ready.  But when have they got the better chance of winning?

MR COSTELLO:

To be frank Neil I don't think it matters that much whether it is the first half or the second half of the year.  Whether it's April or whether it's October I don't think things turn on that particular date I think actually what's going to turn the election more is how they stand on key issues particularly how they stand on bad legislation.

MITCHELL:

Okay well it's a good column I would suggest that you get on to The Age and say put it at the top of the page are they a bit embarrassed by having you there?

MR COSTELLO:

Well you may say that Neil but I couldn't possibly comment.

MITCHELL:

Have you got a job yet?

MR COSTELLO:

Yes I have got a job as Member for Higgins.

MITCHELL:

But when that finishes?

MR COSTELLO:

When that finishes I will be doing some other things yes.

MITCHELL:

Have you got them lined up?

MR COSTELLO:

I will announce them when I am ready to announce them.

MITCHELL:

Okay one last question that you might answer.  Matthew Lloyd is going to announce his retirement in 29 minutes time.  Now he has got to be remembered as a great player not for the way he went out.

MR COSTELLO:

Oh look Matthew Lloyd was a fantastic player, one of the great full forwards.  I guess Matthew Lloyd and John Coleman, are the great full forwards of the Essendon Football Club.

MITCHELL:

That's a big statement putting him in the same class as John Coleman.

MR COSTELLO:

Well I think they are probably the two great full forwards for the Essendon Football Club.  Coleman probably in his day was greater but his career was cut short.  Lloyd kicked more goals and he was a club captain.  You know a football career, everybody's career comes to the end in football.  That's life isn't it.  And...

MITCHELL:

And politics.

MR COSTELLO:

And maybe even media Neil you never know. 

MITCHELL:

Oh certainly.

MR COSTELLO:

But it is a sad way to go out with the suspension but he should be remembered for his great career and the great service he gave the Essendon Football Club.

MITCHELL:

Thank you for your time.

MR COSTELLO:

Thanks very much Neil.

MITCHELL:

Peter Costello, the Member for Higgins.

 

23 Sep 2009

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