Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of doorstop interview: Prahran Town Hall: Thursday, 15 November: Stonnington CCTV announcement; Victoria Police inquiry; economic management; election.



Download PDFDownload PDF

TREASURER

www.treasurer.gov.au

PRESS RELEASE

NO.

TRANSCRIPT

Of

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP

Treasurer

Doorstop Interview Prahran Town Hall

Thursday, 15 November 2007

10.15 am

E & OE

SUBJECTS: Stonnington CCTV announcement, Victoria Police inquiry, economic management, election

TREASURER:

Well can I first of all welcome here today a number of people who have been very much part of this project. The Mayor of the City of Stonnington, Councillor John Chandler who is here on my right, and Councillor Claude Ullin who is also here somewhere, thank you very much. Andrea Coote, the Upper House MLC for the Southern Metropolitan Area. The Streets Ahead group, which has been a big part of raising the issue of safety down in Chapel Street here, and have really been part of this alliance and Margaret McLean from Reclaim Chapel Street who has been very active on this local issue as well. Can I also welcome Acting Inspector Michael Dwyer from the Prahran Police Station who is here, thank you for your support.

Today I am announcing that a re-elected Coalition Government will provide $360,000 for the installation and maintenance of ten closed circuit TV cameras in Chapel Street, Prahran outside the South Yarra railway station and also in Toorak Road. These cameras will provide live feed to police stations which will allow, in real time, a response to acts of violence, vandalism or assault. They will also provide footage which will be kept and will allow the apprehension of offenders and the bringing to justice and the proving of cases against such offenders.

We have found that the CCTV is a very effective tool in relation to law enforcement. And there have been problems with law enforcement in Chapel Street over the years, particularly with patrons coming out of nightclubs early in the morning, and there have been assaults in the past and even worse, acts of violence.

2

To have these cameras here will firstly be a deterrent. Anybody who wants to engage in an act of violence will know that there will be cameras recording what they are doing. Secondly, it will allow a rapid police response and thirdly, it will provide evidence for the bringing to justice afterwards of would-be criminals.

I want to pay tribute to the local traders’ organisation which has taken this issue up, and the Council have supported them in relation to managing the costs. But with another $360,000 over the next four years for another ten cameras, this will be a really direct improvement in relation to law enforcement. This is a programme which as Treasurer I have set up at the national level and as the local member, it is a great pleasure to be able to deliver here to Stonnington what I hope will be an effective deterrent against local street crime. And I congratulate you, Mr Mayor and your staff very much on this initiative. Well done.

JOURNALIST:

In what other electorate will you put (inaudible) cameras?

TREASURER:

Well this is a national programme and other electorates are eligible for applying for CCTV under this programme. It is a nation-wide programme. But as the local member I got an application in, in relation to this particular area - $360,000 is a pretty large grant under the programme. This is a wonderful area to live and to do business but it is being spoiled by some of the acts of vandalism and crime and this is a very practical demonstration to would-be vandals and would-be criminals: don’t try it in Chapel Street, Prahran.

JOURNALIST:

They have also announced funding for cameras in the Prime Minister’s seat of Bennelong. Is there anywhere else other than your seat and the Prime Minister’s seat that are getting money?

TREASURER:

Oh yes. There would be numbers of electorates (inaudible).

JOURNALIST:

On the subject of crime, have you been the surprised by the revelations coming out of the OPI inquiry?

TREASURER:

Well look, I think it is very important that the OPI get to the bottom of these matters. The police do a great job in our community and we respect them very much. But it is important that if there has been any collusion at all in the doing of a crime that the OPI get to the bottom of that. And I wish the OPI well and the Commissioner well in their inquiries. We value the work that police do, we know it is important to our standard of life and the safety of our community and we want to see the police reputation above reproach.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)?

3

TREASURER:

I think the overwhelming majority of Victoria Police are fine men and women. They are people who put themselves in the line of fire, put themselves in danger every day serving us as a community. And they would want to know and the community would want to know that the senior command and those that direct them is above reproach and that is why an OPI investigation was appropriate.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, are you concerned that Mr Rudd has stolen the economic high ground off the Coalition with his spending announcements yesterday?

TREASURER:

Well I would be concerned if he had but he hasn’t. Let me make this point. When Labor was last in office, the Budget was $10 billion in deficit, Commonwealth debt was $96 billion and it was my task to balance the Budget and repay $96 billion of Labor debt. That is what I have done. As Federal Treasurer, we have now had ten surplus budgets. And as Federal Treasurer, I would know if Mr Rudd had supported those budgets. Let me tell you, he didn’t. He never did. He never supported balancing the budgets, he never supported paying off debt. At every opportunity he sought to frustrate those efforts. And to turn around now and say he is an economic conservative is laughable. In fact, I invite you to do this little check. Find out when he first described himself as an economic conservative. Mr Rudd has been in Parliament since 1998. Pull out all of his Parliamentary speeches where he describes himself as an economic conservative or where he supported my measures to balance the Budget and pay off debt. I will warrant to you, because we have been unable to find them, he never even described himself as an economic conservative before the advertising agency told him to use that phrase this year. He has been in Parliament nearly ten years, he never used that phrase of himself until this year.

JOURNALIST:

Were you comfortable with the $9 billion spend at the campaign launch or did you advise the Prime Minister behind the scenes that this sort of spending ran the risk of being (inaudible) again as big spending?

TREASURER:

No, let me say, we released these details yesterday. The Coalition’s total campaign pledges to date: $11.6 billion compared to Labor, $12.3 billion. So to be frank with you, the Coalition pledges - and these tables were released yesterday, and you’re all welcome to them - were not in excess of Labor. In fact they were below Labor.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) spend $9 billion at the launch, are you saying you’ve only ever spent $3 billion outside of that?

TREASURER:

… You’ve got to be very careful here. The overall spending is the critical thing. It doesn’t matter if you do $9 billion at the launch and $3 billion before, it’s the same as being $9 billion before and $3 billion at the launch. I think Mr Rudd is having a lend of you all here because having announced all

4

of his big promises early on, he’d spent all his money by the time he got to his launch. That didn’t mean he was spending less overall.

JOURNALIST:

Labor says the Coalition figures don’t include $3 billion of savings they say they’ve identified.

TREASURER:

Well, I’d like the $3 billion of savings to be released today and I would like it to be put into the Treasury and Finance Department because the $3 billion of savings doesn’t exist. Some of it exists but $3 billion of it doesn’t exist. I’d also like Mr Rudd to explain the statement that he made on AM this morning, he said ‘a net spend of $6 to 7 billion’. Now if he spent $12 billion, even if he claims $3 billion in savings, it doesn’t come to six. Twelve minus three is not six Mr Rudd.

JOURNALIST:

But are you lock-step behind the Prime Minister in this strategy to spend so much money in the campaign launch? You were widely reported in 2004 to have been concerned about how much the Prime Minister spent and that you advised him of a range of options (inaudible). Are you completely behind the strategy of what was unveiled at the campaign launch earlier this week?

TREASURER:

Yes. And let me make this point. After the Coalition has announced its election programme in full, the Budget will be in surplus and in surplus by around one per cent of GDP which is what we’re shooting for. Now, as Treasurer I’ve introduced 10 surplus budgets in Australia. No Treasurer in the history of Australia has ever done that before. And if we had four more, it would be 14. You ought to compare Australia with the United States. How many surplus budgets under the Bush Administration? None. Do you compare it with the Blair/Brown situation in the UK? I don’t think they’ve had any either. I’ve done 10.

And I can tell you something - I never saw anyone called Kevin Rudd helping balance the Budget. Never saw anyone called Kevin Rudd demanding that we cut expenditure. Never saw anybody called Kevin Rudd help pay back $96 billion in debt. Never saw anybody called Kevin Rudd describe himself as an economic conservative until the advertising agency thought that up this year. You can’t believe this guy. He has appeared from nowhere without any runs on the board and describes himself as an economic conservative. Well, if you believe that, you’ll believe anything. Go around the ALP branches today and ask them how many times Kevin Rudd appeared at their branch meeting and said ‘I’m an economic conservative’. Go out to Julia Gillard’s electorate and find out how many branch meetings she addressed calling herself an economic conservative. You’ve got to get a grip on reality here.

JOURNALIST:

Do you feel with just over a week to go and the continued bad state of the polls for the Coalition that the election is starting to slip away from you?

TREASURER:

What I find as I move around Australia is the choice is becoming clearer. And as the choice becomes clearer, people are focussing more on the economic choice. The economic choice is between a Government that has balanced the Budget, paid off debt, had 10 surpluses, put 2.2 million people in jobs, and the Party who, the last time they were in government, had interest rates

5

at 17 per cent, unemployment in double digits - they weren’t balancing the budget incidentally but were running $10 billion-plus deficits - and who have no experience in economic management.

JOURNALIST:

How come none of that is being reflected in the polls, in any of the polls?

TREASURER:

We’ll see what, we’ll see what happens on election day. The election day is the most important poll of all.

JOURNALIST:

What is an economic conservative?

TREASURER:

An economic conservative would have supported balancing Labor’s deficit budgets. An economic conservative would have supported paying back Labor’s $96 billion worth of debt. An economic conservative would have supported reforming the tax system. An economic conservative would have supported reforming the industrial relations system. An economic conservative would have supported making our docks more productive. But Kevin Rudd never did. You know, Kevin Rudd waited until all the hard work was over and said ‘I like the results’.

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, given the state of polls, is this the best use of your time? You’re one of the second biggest (inaudible) in the Government, shouldn’t you be out in more marginal seats than your own?

TREASURER:

Well obviously I take part in the national campaign and I’ve just been campaigning for several days interstate but my heart is in Higgins. And this is a great electorate. And the people of Higgins are worried about crime and I’m doing something for them.

JOURNALIST:

Even Labor has started to believe (inaudible) running against you in this campaign of that theme of new leadership. Has the Liberal Party made a mistake in not going to the leadership transition…

TREASURER:

Well, it is very nice of the Labor strategists to say something nice about me but I usually don’t follow their advice, you know that.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible).

TREASURER:

Very last question.

6

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible).

TREASURER:

This is the very, very, very last question.

JOURNALIST:

Do you still expect to become the next Liberal leader even if you lose on Saturday week?

TREASURER:

Well, I’m not working for a loss on Saturday week. I’m working to get re-elected in Higgins and I ask the people of Higgins to endorse our policy against crime and I’m working to make sure that Australia remains in strong hands. Thanks.