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Melbourne: transcript of doorstop interview: share ownership; Mark Latham.



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TRANSCRIPT of

THE HON PETER COSTELLO MP Treasurer

Doorstop Melbourne Monday, 6 May 2002 9.00 am

 

SUBJECTS: Share Ownership; Mark Latham

JOURNALIST:

Treasurer, what do you think of Labor's asset plan?

TREASURER:

Well, if the Labor Party wanted to encourage share ownership, they could support offering Telstra shares to the public...

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

...the largest offering of shares to the Australian public and the largest opportunity people ever got to take out share ownership was in relation to Telstra, which the Labor Party opposed and still opposes. So if they want to get into the business of promoting share ownership they'd better change their policies.

JOURNALIST:

We noticed the Telstra Chief entering 4 Treasury before. Is he here to brief Cabinet?

TREASURER:

I don't know. I don't know why he is here.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

Well, you can have a Government owned telecommunications company. You have a privately owned telecommunications company which is what the British do and New Zealanders, the Americans, and every other advanced economy of the world. But what you can't have, is, you can't have something that is half-half, that is half pregnant. If you want to have a telecommunications company that's owned by the Government, nationalise it. The Labor Party ought to nationalise it. But if you don't want to have a nationalised Telstra then you've got to resolve the difficulties of the current situation.

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible)

TREASURER:

Well they have to improve. And we have to make them improve. It is our policy to make them improve. But if the Labor Party wants to encourage share ownership, it can vote for increased share ownership. And while they're about it, Mr Latham can also apologise to Tony Staley and withdraw the absolutely tasteless remarks that he made on the weekend. This is a premeditated strike. Mr Latham said he wants the Labor Party to get more vicious. And he showed the way by talking of a man who has severe physical injuries, as a deformed character. One of the most tasteless things that I have ever seen. If Mr Crean had any guts he would pull Latham into line, he would make him withdraw it, and he would discipline him for doing so.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Latham says that that's something (inaudible)...Heffernan...(inaudible)

TREASURER:

Senator Heffernan made tasteless and false allegations and he was sacked. Mr Latham has made tasteless allegations and Simon Crean supports him. That not only tells you a lot about Mr Latham, this, it tells you a lot about Mr Crean. Mr Crean apparently approves of calling a man who has overcome the most horrific injuries, who walks on crutches, who has fought back from severe incapacity, approves of calling that man deformed, in the aid of a political argument. And this is a low point in Australian politics and if Mr Crean can't do anything about Mr Latham, it will tell you an awful lot about Mr Crean.

Thanks.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000