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Part transcript of Peter Reith MP



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Deputy Leader of the Opposition

E&OE

PART TRANSCRIPT OF PETER RETTH MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND SHADOW TREASURER, 3LO, TUESDAY 2 7 OCTOBER 1992

...in the new spapers, hot on the heels of Victoria's credit dow ngrading by Moody's last week, is the news that a d d s further to the State's economic w oes an d very disturbing new s too. It seem s that the Kirner Government breached the Loans Council borrowings limit by an am ount said to be at least $1.2 billion. This was apparently taken from temporary borrowings an d converted to ongoing borrowings, technically breaching the Loan Council's global borrowing limit. And the Federal Treasurer John

Dawkins expressed concern to the former State Government it em erges an d now the Opposition, a s we heard on the news, with Peter Reith wants to know m ore about his role in the affair or business. Peter Reith is in South Australia. Mr Reith, good afternoon.

REITH:

Good afternoon, Doug.

AITON:

You're quite sure that John Dawkins did the wrong thing?

Well, he said that he knew before the election and that obviously just raises a whole lot of other questions and quite frankly I think it smells of a cover-up. To start with, I'd like to know exactly what Mr Dawkins knew and when he knew it. Let's get som e details from him. He h a s a major

responsibility a s Treasurer, a s Chairman of th e Australian Loan Council, and I think what has been revealed so far by Mr Stockdale yesterday now puts a lot pressure on Mr Dawkins to answ er a few simple questions.

Now, it seem s that he did warn the Kirner Government, or talk to them, or say that he was, or he thought that this w as disturbing, didn't he?

Well, he may have done that. And we'd like to know exactly how he did that, how disturbing he considered the situation to be, when he first knew of th e se sort of funny money deals that Mr Sheehan w as involved in. What advice he gave the Victorian Government. Again, when that advice w as given. And also, we want to know why it is that we're only finding out about it from the Federal Government after the event, b ecau se that obviously raises questions w hether or not this w as a cover-up to suit the

political convenience of the Victorian Government. And also I'd like to know what further impact having this information kept quiet might have had on the Moody's a sse ssm e n t a s a credit rating of Victorian debt which h as just com e up. I think there are a lot of unansw ered questions and it's about time Mr Dawkins gave us an answer. S o far Doug, all we know is, that spokesm an for Mr Dawkins h as said this or said that. That is clearly not good enough.

AITON:

REITH:

AITON:

REITH:

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600

AITON:

Are you able to tell u s th e structure of how things have happened? I mean, presum ably th e Federal Government, Labor or Liberal, h a s a c c e ss to any State's borrowings of this nature, is that right?

REITH:

Well, the Treasury should be monitoring this, a s I understand the arrangem ent, a n d I would have thought Treasury would have had a feeling for this now going back som e time. I'd b e surprised if they didn't and if that is th e c ase, you know, w as It a s far back a s Ju n e when the Loan Council, I think, last met. W as it at that forum that they were concerned and if so, what w as said, to whom w as it said, what em phasis a n d im portance did the Treasurer, the Federal Treasurer, put on the concerns that he

obviously h a s h ad about the Victorian situation.

AITON:

H as th e Kirner Governm ent b een borrowing money, according to what you know or what now know, h a s the Kirner Governm ent b een borrowing money secretly and illegally over a num ber of m onths?

REITH:

Well, to b e honest with you, I think it's hard for me to give you a technical answ er to that Doug. And I think really that's an answ er that Alan Stockdale, a s the new Treasurer, will presum ably b e able to give, you know, in th e next few w eeks a s he unearths a lot of th ese issues that have b e e n kept from

the public eye. The question IVe really got is, well, whatever the Victorian Government w ere up to, it is obvious now that Mr Dawkins h a s known a lot more than what he has been letting on and we'd like to know to what extent his silence has b een part of a cover-up to assist the Victorian Government. And beyond that, it also ask s questions about the South Australian Government and the W estern Australian Governm ent who have also been in, you know, very difficult economic situations a s a result

of m ism anagem ent by Labor Government's in those S tates a s well.

AITON: <

All right, well a s you say it seem s to b e taking a while to unearth, which is understandable, it's all very complicated. We'll leave that matter for the moment.