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ALP Member discusses recarpeting of Cabinet room.



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Chris Bowen M.P. Federal Member for Prospect

TRANSCRIPT RADIO INTERVIEW WITH MIKE JEFFRIES ( Radio Station 2CC) CANBERRA - 7:10AM

14TH FEBRUARY 2006

ISSUES - RECARPETING OF CABINET ROOM

MIKE JEFFRIES: …Now, eighteen months later, the cabinet room has new carpet again. Yes, it’s your tax dollars at work folks. Now the man who brought this to the public’s attention at Senate Estimates was Federal Labor Member for Prospect, Chris Bowen. Good morning.

CHRIS BOWEN: Good morning Mike, how are you?

MIKE JEFFRIES: I’m fine thank you. So what was the upshot of all this?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well as you say, we have the situation where carpet was replaced in the cabinet room about eighteen months ago. Eighteen months later they are doing some other work and they think this carpet isn’t the right colour, it isn’t really good enough, we will rip it up and put it back down again at a cost of $41,000.

MIKE JEFFRIES: $41,000?

CHRIS BOWEN: $41,000 for new carpet to replace carpet that was there for only eighteen months.

MIKE JEFFRIES: What was the original colour? … What, it was blue?

CHRIS BOWEN: Well something like that. I’ve got to tell you, I haven’t been in the cabinet room Mike, they don’t tend to invite me.

MIKE JEFFRIES: Have you spoken to anybody from there Chris? Did the aesthetics put them off their ability to make decisions?

(Laughter)

CHRIS BOWEN: Apparently it was a big issue.

MIKE JEFFRIES: Blue carpet, grey carpet, it is so hard to concentrate when you have to deal with that kind of conflict

(Laughter)

CHRIS BOWEN: Well, its rough isn’t it? … to the government $41,000 isn’t much money…

MIKE JEFFRIES: (interrupts) Well it’s not their money!

CHRIS BOWEN: It’s not their money. Some family has worked all year to pay $40,000 in tax, and we find it being spent on this sort of wasteful expenditure. I have a fear that when a government has been in office a long time, they lose touch with how important these things are for average Australians, and you see this more and more across the board from this government. …

If it was your home or mine Mike and we just put carpet down eighteen months ago and we needed to make some changes, we wouldn’t be throwing it out even if it was slightly the wrong colour…we’d be making it last fifteen or twenty years.

There is a mindset…we have just seen a billion dollars spent on government advertising, you see money wasted across the board, and it’s what you have when you have a government in too long.

MIKE JEFFRIES: Well Chris, I appreciate your time and comments.

CHRIS BOWEN: My pleasure.

MIKE JEFFRIES: Chris Bowen is the Federal Member for Prospect. I am just interested to see that story resolved. It turned out to be true. It cost $41,000 to change the carpet from blue to grey, or was that grey to blue? Obviously whatever it was, it was vitally important and worth $41,000 of your money.

ENDS

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