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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 6706

Mr TURNBULL (3:27 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer, and I refer the Treasurer to his statement in the House on 4 June, when he said that Mr John Grant ‘received the same assistance as any other car dealer’. Will the Treasurer advise the House how many other car dealers he spoke with directly on the telephone before referring them to Treasury for assistance?

Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —It is the case, and I made it very clear earlier, that I stood by all of the statements that I have made to the House 100 per cent. In the case of Mr Grant, he received no special benefit from OzCar and he received no outcome from Ford Credit whatsoever. It is also the case that I did say that he was treated in the same way as other car dealers were treated. Other car dealers were of course referred on to financiers, and I spent some time talking about that in the House today.

There was also some criticism directed at me for having faxes go to my home. I simply could not believe it when we heard the laughter from the other side that the Treasurer of Australia might actually have a fax at 5.14 pm on a Friday! It says something about their approach and their work ethic that they would think that it is hilarious that the Treasurer of Australia would receive a fax at 5.14 pm on a Friday. I do not think they would think at all about busting their gut for the Australian people on a Friday night, a Saturday or a Sunday, but we will do everything that we possibly can to support employment in the Australian community. My fax whirrs through the night because the thing about a global financial crisis is it does not respect time zones. Around that stage when faxes were coming in, we were working very hard and indeed working around the clock.

There were a variety of car dealers who contacted my office, other offices and the Treasury. They worked through the MTAA and made contact with the Treasury. I spoke—and I said this very clearly in my doorstop—to Mr Grant following a representation from Mr Bernie Ripoll. I spoke to him for a couple of minutes. I referred him to my DLO and he was then dealt with by that DLO in the way in which the emails indicate. I spoke to him. I do not apologise for that for one minute.