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And welcome to television. Good evening. On your marks, get set... (GENTLE MUSIC) SONG: # Born free # And beauty surrounds you (APPLAUSE) I like the boy. Only Freeview gives you with more channels. high definition viewing * THEME MUSIC

as the most public face Tim Costello comes to mind in the country. of Christian social justice he's championed the cause of those Over the years, gambling and poverty affected by drugs, booze, the former treasurer Peter Costello, and unlike his brother, of a political party. he's done it without toeing the line

welcome to Talking Heads. Tim Costello, Well, you've done many things. Thank you, Peter. in a sense. and you continue to be a preacher, You've been a preacher, practising lawyer, too, You've been a lawyer, you've been a mayor, practising solicitor, now you're running World Vision. in your mind? What threads all this together

what all those things have in common? How would you define always puzzled me is justice. Well, the question that's get more than they need Why do some people and some people miss out? started as a child, I often joke that it probably shared a room for 17 years. when my brother and I Might have a fight and... No justice in sharing a bedroom. terrifying in Question Time, You know, you think Peter's share a room for 17 years.

if we were squabbling And my father would come in "I don't care who's right or wrong, and he'd say, I'm going to punish you both," "That's so wrong," and I remember thinking, he started it. because it's always Peter's fault, But justice has been my question, I believed law was about justice, so in everything I've done - law - along the way, I had to modify that belief World Vision is really around, politics, preaching the gospel, the world's poor, locked out. why are those who should have more, if you like, clash with reality? Where did these armchair views, in suburban Melbourne, Blackburn. You were brought up and teachers as parents, Growing prosperity, middle-class,

and you got down and dirty, really. certainly raised an eyebrow, The choice of going to St Kilda St Kilda's a very, almost, I mean, today, Trendy? middle class, yuppie place. were literally teeming Back then, the boarding houses drug-affected, sex workers. with mentally ill, homeless, they didn't dress like you, They didn't look like you, they didn't smell like you. They shocked me, I have to say. who had this black eye My first legal client, she'd shot up behind her eye, and told me it was because absolutely freaked me. and I remember thinking, Then she asked me out to lunch, to begin a legal practice, "This is not a good way

dining with a sex worker." in St Kilda, or a Baptist ministry, different world for me, So, yes, it became a completely by those convictions only held together, I guess, when I say I follow Jesus, that, actually, and tax collectors dined with sex workers and marginalised. and people who were unclean of direction, I guess, So there was a radical shift

in the way I approached life. I always remember believing. 'In terms of faith, at a Christian camp, I do remember at the age of 17 of God, of transcendence, having a strong, numinous experience of, "I am not here by accident, in a cosmic zoo. I'm not just a biological freak There's a purpose to my life," experience of awe. and it was quite an overwhelming

physically trembling. I remember actually in the middle of last century, Well, I was born 4th March, 1955, in Melbourne. we lived much more simply, In those times, with my brother I shared a bedroom, obviously, when my sister came along. or nine years of age, We got a car when I was about eight a TV when I was about 11. our own games, So our lives were making up and having our own gangs,

looking back nostalgically, and, I have to say, very, very serene.'

for my life. This house was foundational my parents carved out of orchards. It was a block of land bought by love and security Most of all, it was the safety, of my family and my friends. Roaming these streets at will,

and kids who ate a meat pie, all white Anglo-Saxon families drop-kicked a football. back then was Barassi, The only foreign-sounding name played football for Melbourne. to the Baptist Church 'So my parents went and it was in walking distance. because they didn't have a car, where I got to speak It was the first place at the age of 12 or 13, and my brother also, where you, might give a small talk. and in presentation So great training in skills and a sense of great safety.' Tim, that house we saw there,

moved out of it. your parents have only just recently What happened in that household? this extraordinary family? What was going on there which forged that took learning very seriously. It was a household my father in the private system, Both my parents were teachers, Mum in the public system. we might drive to Adelaide When we went on holidays,

or Sydney, from Melbourne, in the FJ Holden, all the European capitals and my father would teach us and talk about politics - and history, for nearly 33 years he taught politics at Carey Grammar. when I was about 11, So, I remember a friend of mine of debating over Sunday lunch, after two hours going, "Your family's weird." I remember going, "Why?" said, "What are you going to do?" What would you say to kids when they going into the Baptist ministry. Sometimes I thought of That wasn't cool to say. You would. Careful who you'd say that to. You'd get a look, a Baptist school, you'd get a look. even though Carey was I almost certainly thought I'd be like my parents and be a teacher. Your mum and dad came from different faiths, which, back in those days, they were not easy bridges to cross. Indeed. And theirs was technically not a mixed marriage,

because Dad had this wonderful, evangelical born-again experience. Thanks to the Presbyterian Church, he wanted to play with the cricket team. So the born-again experience was playing cricket, was it? It's a testimony to the power of sport. He had to go along to church to play cricket with the cricket team, he got converted.

You had to turn up... There was some minimum attendance. You had to turn up once a month,

in order to play. Not too harsh. Not too harsh. He went along, it changed his whole life. You family became adherents to the Baptist Church because it happened that the Baptist Church was closer to your family home. If you'd not been Baptists, how would you have been different? Look, I think we would have been very different. Baptists believe that you don't baptise children. They might end up Buddhist or atheist.

You wait until they're old enough to say, "I want to follow Christ".

They make the decision, and then they get baptised. How old were you when you got baptised? I was baptised when I was 16. 16? My brother would have been about the same age. Packed churches, very moving, and I think Baptists shaped me in terms of the stories. John Bunyan, the Baptist in prison writing Pilgrim's Progress, saying Baptists are about freedom of conscience, they're dissidents, they actually don't believe

in a State Church with the King of England, or whoever it might be, saying the Church is just a chaplain to power, Baptists will speak the truth, prophetically, and suffer for it. And I think that Baptist upbringing has been incredibly influential in how I go about my life. Tim, if your kids came along and said, "I've met my soul mate, here I am, 17 years of age," how would you respond?

I'd be horrified. And, looking back, I think my parents were. So, I'll be away tonight, I'll be... (LAUGHS) 'My parents went overseas in my last year of school, and I wasn't getting driven by my father, I caught the train, met Merridie. We went off to this Christian camp together, and I remember looking at her and thinking, "That's the girl I'm going to marry."

And I was all of 17. We went out for seven years, got married when I was 24. Merridie had been teaching for three or four years, I had been working in law for a couple of years, I had felt disillusioned in family law and criminal law, feeling that, "I can't see myself doing this for the rest of my life." So, the opportunity with the scholarship to go and study in Switzerland, I took up, and Merridie took up. If you have to study theology, Switzerland's a pretty good place to do it. And they were four wonderful years, living in a little village outside Zurich.

When I was ending my time as a student there,

there were some calls from large, prosperous Baptists churches which would have been very safe.' There was also a letter, torn-off jagged edge, one sentence, from a little church with ten members called St Kilda, which had virtually died. "We would like you to consider being our minister."

St Kilda was a magnet for people with mental illness and drug problems and sex workers. We were young, full of faith, rash, and it certainly was an area we realised our kids were going to grow up in a totally different world. Hello. Great to be back. Hi. Hi, Kerryn. Good to see you. Welcome. Carolyn. Hey, Tim. 'We were on mission, we saw it in those terms.' Wow, this is different. We've had a renovation. Sure have. 'We were there to both learn about ourselves

and to take seriously that faith was for the hard places.

So, St Kilda was all of that for us. It's still pretty rigorous, what gets said here,

and engaging with the difficult issues of our time, I think, we don't gloss over things here, and that's probably part of the tradition that you started. Switzerland? Why did you go there? We won a scholarship, and it sure sounded better than Melbourne. Looks good. Looks good in the pictures.

It was a brilliant experience. There were over 25 nationalities. All the Italian Baptists voted Communist. The Scandinavian Baptists has different views on premarital sex to our Australian Baptists. The British Baptists drank and smoked. So suddenly you had to go, "What's Gospel? What's culture? How have I just seen my faith as really a hand-me-down

of an Australian, narrower church experience?" It pushed you to really think about your faith. Well, I suppose on the surface, everything appears perfect, but with Claire, for instance, your first born, she couldn't become a Swiss citizen.

The experience of Claire's birth, as a foreigner,

which was so different to us, they insisted that it had to be

from a list of names they handed you, that you chose the name. What?! We registered just the boys' names because the ultrasound said we were having a boy. After a long and difficult labour, where the Swiss-German doctor kept shouting at Merridie "Pull, pull," I said, "Do you mean push?" Out came this baby, and then the pressure was on me. Merridie was out of it. You must have a girl's name. No time to talk to her, consult, and I had to choose the name on my own. That rigid Swiss society was an experience that made us much more sensitive to people having births here who were from other countries. When you started preaching at St Kilda, I imagine it was to a virtually empty church. What did you look out and see? Well, I saw ten elderly people, and thankfully, my sister, who came down and joined us, said, "Tim, you might be able to read Greek and Hebrew now, but you sound like a German theologian. Just talk to them." I imagine, at one level, you must have felt revolted by this choice. I was middle-class. Saving for the future, a house deposit, education,

was a fundamental way I thought. In my church we had people, if they had money, they blew it. They just threw a party, they drank, they gave it away,

and I was very judgmental until I thought, "Actually, Jesus never had a house, and didn't save for an education, and if he had money, he shared it." Well, this is not a public confessional, but where, when you look back, where do you think you've fallen short? An Aboriginal woman called Eva, with a scarred face, suffering schizophrenia, taught me the Gospel, giving away her last five dollars to people in need, and I knew, despite my Christian principles, I'd never do that. I'd never live that generously. She came to our church, she taught me love and grace, and when she died, I remember being incredibly overwhelmed with grief, because here had been a person who had shown me more of Christ than a lot of my judgments of homeless, schizophrenic people like her had ever allowed. That's one area I changed. 'Modern St Kilda is a city well known for its particular character. Mayor Tim Costello says the council is guardian of that identity.' 'Soon I discovered that many of the people I was working with who had lived for generations in St Kilda, were being forced out as new money came in, so I ran for council on a platform ratepayers' dollars, of putting council,

long-term St Kilda residents, into affordable public housing for that was my platform.' we want to consult with them, We want a poll with our residents, actually be ownership we believe that only then can there

independent communities. of strong, viable, to move into council and politics. 'It was jump for me

a touch of politics in the family. Mind you, there's always been and politics at Carey. My father had taught social studies had just gone into Parliament. My brother around about that time He was a shadow minister. and it came out of faith.' It wasn't a huge jump for me, We feel this is a very savage loss of democracy where close to a million Melburnians represented by those 21 councils, are not going to have elected representatives. 'The dissolution of the council by Jeff Kennett saw me leading a charge against council amalgamations and saying we might lose something here that is actually pretty special.' We were told to clean out our desks. That was my office up there until then. I was the last mayor of St Kilda. is always my great temptation, 'I'd have to say that politics it's not my calling. but I don't think it's my vocation, The media wanted to sign you up. Well, everyone wanted to sign you up. as local mayor. You suddenly became a Costello as it turned out, It's actually quite a big story, wanted to sign you up. and the political parties

the siren song of politics As I said, has nearly seduced me a few times. I thank my wife. She said, So... "If you go in, I'm out of this." "Thanks for giving me a choice." I said, Let's think about this. Well, that's a focusing. Focusing the mind. Indeed. So, look, I'm glad I haven't gone in. At the end of the day, I think I have had a bigger impact, given my values and faith, outside of politics

than doing deals inside. You've had this long marriage with Merridie. If she was saying, "If you go in, I'm going out," why did she feel so strongly? Cos it's not as though you're not consumed by your work. you're not easy to live with. It's not as though... I'm sure Yeah. I'm no saint. (LAUGHS) As Merridie says, I won't burn out, around me. but I'll burn everybody else out

to be absolutely candid, Look, Merridie, on the planet. is the most ruthlessly honest person "I cannot be a politician's wife. She said, just tell the truth as it is." If they ask me a question, I will its impact on family, The choice is yours, but in terms of if you had gone into politics. good gracious, imagine

the first time you had brothers Absolutely, and it would have been parliament in Australian history. in different parties in the same very difficult And that would have made it very, in terms of family relations. quite an exciting scene. Family Christmas would have been I didn't take that course. So, I'm very glad fact, Peter says in his last book. Best decision I made, which, in Best decision you made? (CONGREGATION SINGS HYMN)

'When I came back, it was my wife who said to me, out of being mayor, to being a minister in St Kilda. "You know, you can't just go back me to go and be their minister, At that stage, the City Church asked and also to have the opportunity sort of ministry. to head up a different Church, with its Corinthian pillars, I noticed that the Collins Street

on the steps, many Indigenous. there were people sleeping for homeless people, And there was nothing in the city say to the Church, so I though, "Well, I'll be able to homeless people to climb the steps if you have to step over to go in a worship God, about our responsibilities maybe God is saying something to us to these people." called Urban Seed was born, And out of that a ministry

feeding people in a cafe that goes on today. called Credo Cafe 'Protesters crossed the river today on Crown Casino land, and planted a flag

from gambling. symbolically reclaiming Melbourne 'What a city church allows,

right in the heart of the city, because it is all the issues is the space to actually comment on that affect the city.' Melbourne's soul, Today is to reclaim

is not a casino, to say the spirit of Victoria that is most un-Victorian. and for the Premier to say

boring and they're anti-Victoria. They're just anti-fun, they're called me un-Victorian, 'Kennett called me a lot of names, and, you know, he was dominant. a troublesome priest, to say this, you know, It sounds almost pretentious but I think what I discovered secular Australia, simply being a preacher, was that my ministry wasn't

if I can put it like that, it was also being a prophet, the false gods of our time, being able to say these are and for me, the casino was that. a prophet and being a preacher? Where's the difference between being is a member of the flock, Look, the preacher loved, looked to, supported. Prophets are those who stand over and against,

often against their own flock, their own support, their own culture. You can't do that in politics very well, can you? Now, you can't. Politics is really about surveying the people and saying, "There go the people, I must follow them because I am their leader." It's a good expression, that one. And a prophet is one who is prepared to go against even in the opposite direction where the people are going, because it's right. you've had to go against the culture? How many times do you really think When I stood up against gambling, editorialised against me, I remember the Age editorial in 1996 called me a wowser, have been up in New South Wales, told me to go away, said pokies of course they're coming here. Tim Costello. We don't need the likes of 85% of Victorians, And, most powerfully, latest survey, according the Herald-Sun's

Take them all out." say, "We don't want any pokies. and a lone voice So, from being a wowser starting to win that debate. to actually really you've been involved in, Of the various things yours kids used to say you keep picking losing issues. Has there been a high cost for the kids? Yeah, there has. For our kids to be known as the Reverend Tim Costello's son...

(LAUGHS) not anything that's joyful. My daughter would say,

"But I'm friends with so-and-so whose dad runs Crown Casino

Why can't you just shut up?" and I feel embarrassed. Same with my sons. at their sporting occasions, I was always there South Melbourne, still I'm there. still am, my boys play for Support Essendon, no doubt.

absolutely. And we go to watch the Bombers, but look, So, we have a great relationship, there were very tough times. up to two years ago 'I was playing Aussie Rules football with my wife, I'm training again and after sensitive negotiations to play another season of Masters football, Aussie Rules, over 47s. to watch my boys, who play football The great joy of my life is going in the same team. for South Melbourne, Anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello is taking on a new job as chief executive of World Vision Australia. The global financial crisis - you might have seen the New York Times article saying at least two years. 'It's been two dominant experiences. The first experience

is how the poor show incredible resilience, it has, at the same time, been secondly an impression of evil, some of it natural evil.' 'The railway line was completely destroyed by the tsunami.' just comes straight in, So the big wave just takes the railway line. of human evil, 'It's been even worse an experience

by going to Sudan, Darfur that every woman I spoke to and just being shocked the translator, through the World Vision staff, has seen loved ones killed, they'd been raped, their daughters had been raped. Going to the Congo, and similar stories, and going, humans who are capable of such good are capable of such unspeakable evil.' For me, actually seeing just the level of suffering was both a first and also a reminder that if we have a short attention span, then it will literally cost up to a million lives. It takes an enormous toll on you. I find myself sometimes giving a speech,

and it's not a sad speech,

and, literally without warning, I'll be in tears. And you realise you've built a compartment, a bubble, around what you've seen, because other Australians haven't seen it. You can't expect them to understand, but that bubble leaks, it haemorrhages, and you carry those things with you. You know, that doesn't change. When do you feel most loving? I feel most loving when I am touched by people who are trying their hardest, and this is what I see often in poor countries, and, as a parent, aren't able to guarantee their kids enough education, enough food, enough... I actually go, that's me.

It started in 1988, in the Philippines, in the slum, when a mother had to choose between feeding her two kids and buying penicillin for her third child that meant she couldn't feed her other kids for a week, took the risk of not buying the penicillin, and that child died. You saw that? I saw that, and I was so overwhelmed, with three children, it's why I knew I'd end up working in the area I now am,

in absolute poverty. What have you taken from life?

Or what have you given to life that gives you most satisfaction? I feel I've made choices that weren't based on career, or earning more income, or social advancement. I feel I've made choices that were consistent with my faith and my values, that at the time looked a bit ridiculous, even incomprehensible. That's what I feel is most important, and what I feel I've offered. Tim, it's been great talking to you. Thank you. Closed Captions by CSI * 'Next week on Talking Heads, a couple who've both been awarded the Order of Australia, not for being film stars or business big shots, but for fostering children. A life filled with love, Monday, 6.30, before the news.'

'Wednesday on The Cook And The Chef, our home cooking queen. The women of Australia, they went on this wild adventure with me. That's Margaret Fulton on The Cook And The Chef, Wednesday, 6:30.

This program is not subtitled This Program Is Captioned Live. Tonight - Peter Costello to bow out of politics. It bow out of politics. It is just possible that both sides of the dispatch box are happy with the announcement that I've made, Mr Speaker. (LAUGHTER) Gangland war. Gangland war. Another member of the Moran family gunned down. On the front line in Afghanistan. Aussie soldiers

under fire. And a show of support for Iran's leader, but violent protests continue. Good evening. Welcome to ABC News. I'm Virginia Haussegger. Now we know, it will never be. Peter Costello has ended Peter Costello has ended a 19-month guessing game over political future, and with it, any lingering any lingering leadership ambitions. He will quit politics at the next election,