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Transcript of doorstop interview of the Shadow Treasurer: Parliament House, Canberra: 23 June 2005: Peter Costello, John Anderson.

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Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer



SUBJECTS: Peter Costello, John Anderson

SWAN: There are reports this morning that there are plans to get Peter Costello a Prime Ministerial house in Melbourne. Well I’d say to those people, don’t bother signing the lease because if you look at his recent contribution yesterday in the ideas debate there are no ideas there at all. He’s simply the hollow man of Australian politics. Yesterday Peter Costello was out telling us how he had developed a social

conscience. Well, he’s been there for 11 years and we’ve seen no example of that.

Journalist: Do you think rather than buying Peter Costello a house they’d be wishing they’d bought John Howard a house like they did for Menzies to crowbar him out of office?

SWAN: Possibly, because I think Peter Costello’s going to be waiting a very long time if you look at his speech yesterday. Because this man has mounted a savage attack on the under-privileged in this society, has failed to invest in the future, particularly in education and skills, failed to realise that a fairer society builds a stronger economy and has been content simply to live off the hard work of Paul Keating and Bob Hawke. This bloke has run out of ideas; he’s simply an empty vessel.

Journalist: Do you think that Costello might be heartened by the news that John Howard’s great partner John Anderson is talking about resigning this morning?

SWAN: I think we’d all wish John Anderson well in his future life. Politics is hard on families. Everyone who works in this building absolutely understands that, but John Anderson and the National Party still leave a whole raft of unresolved issues that I’m sure Stephen Smith just spoke to you about at length.

Journalist: What are your thoughts on John Anderson … (inaudible)?

SWAN: Well he hasn’t spoken as yet and we respect individual decisions that Members of Parliament make. It’s a hard life for people and he’s been at the top for a long time. So I’m very understanding of that, but that doesn’t necessarily stop us from examining the record. The National Party has been letting down regional

Australia time and time again over the last nine years. But we’ll leave the full review of his record until after we hear from him.

Journalist: But do you think that maybe he’s choosing to go now because the Senate’s changing - they’ve got some very thorny issues for the Nationals coming up, particularly Telstra?

SWAN: Certainly. The National Party are about to desert rural and regional Australia with the full sale of Telstra. We’ve seen the problems with the transportation system, road system, port security, lack of action on water - a whole raft of unresolved issues that go to the core of protecting the living standards of people in rural and regional Australia - all unresolved. But look, we’ll listen to what John Anderson has to say today. We respect the decisions that are taken by fellow parliamentarians. We haven’t heard what he has to say as yet so I don’t want to go into it.

Journalist: If the Prime Minister uses this chance to reshuffle his front bench who would be your No. 1 draft to get the boot by the PM?

SWAN: Well there’s a whole raft of them, look at them. A whole raft of them but we’ll leave that up to the Prime Minister and we’ll talk about that later.

Thursday 23 June 2005 Contact Jim Chalmers 0417 141 676