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Transcript of interview: Channel 10, 7pm Project: 22 October 2010: banks

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Joe Hockey, MP  Shadow Treasurer  Member for North Sydney 




Subjects: Banks

PRESENTER: Welcome back, Joe.

JOE HOCKEY: I’m happy to be back, after that.

PRESENTER: Now, Joe, you’re normally Mr Free Market. You love to let business regulate themselves. Now you want the government to regulate interest rates in the Big 4 Banks. Look this is The 7pm Project, we’re mates. We’ve been hanging out a while. If there’s ever a place that you can take something back if you want, this is it. Do you want to take it back?

JOE HOCKEY: Ah, Charlie, no. I’m afraid I have been misreported. It’s going to be hard for people to believe but the fact of the matter is there is less competition in banking at the moment, and that’s certainly the case since the financial crisis. The banks, the Reserve Bank said, that the funding needs of the banks are now back to pre-crisis levels, and yet the banks themselves are saying they want to increase interest rates beyond the Reserve Bank. I think it’s time to deliver on all that rhetoric and say, look, the banks just cannot keep getting away with this.

PRESENTER: Were you surprised by the criticism you got Joe, I mean, even from your own Party?

JOE HOCKEY: You know what - that was rather mischievous because he was actually commenting on a Greens’ policy proposal but he was cut and pasted into stories last night. Gee, that’s the joy of politics.

PRESENTER: But it’s funny that your proposal was so similar to the Greens’ proposal, Joe?

JOE HOCKEY: Ah, Charlie, not quite. I’m, I’m very fond of my greens, but not the ones that vote.

PRESENTER: Just to quote Don Randall, what he actually said was that it sounded like an idea from the lunatic fringe. Which hairdresser will give me a lunatic fringe? No but seriously …

JOE HOCKEY: You know, there’s two things you never comment on. There’s two things you never comment on. One is a woman’s hair and the second is the length of her dress.

PRESENTER: Thank you, we’ll keep that in mind at The 7pm Project. But I think this is an idea that the electorate is excited about. Is this your way of getting them on side so that you can take a tilt for the leadership position?

JOE HOCKEY: No, no. If my goal was popularity, I would perhaps, you know, be calling for capital punishment might be the answer. No, but I think we’ve got to have a serious debate about banking. The world has changed, and what we’re seeing is that over the last few years, in particular over the last two or three years, governments around the world are now underwriting the risk of the banks. They’re not letting them fail, and therefore, taxpayers are underwriting all the risk the banks are taking into the future. So, they feel free to take as much risk as they want without fear of complete failure and I think this moral hazard that is coming to the financial system poses enormous risk for all of us. We’ve got to have a serious debate about it.

PRESENTER: Just before at the beginning you were saying this is not a tilt at leadership. So clearly you ran this by Tony Abbott and he was happy about it?

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah, I have been speaking to Tony Abbott all along the way. Yeah, absolutely.

PRESENTER: Ok, it’s not really the answer I was expecting, but there you go.

JOE HOCKEY: No, no nice try, but you know you look a lot like Kerry O’Brien.

PRESENTER: We are a bit different in age, but thank you.

PRESENTER: Now Joe, I heard you use a term yesterday that I’d never heard before. the term was Hockeynomics. Do you know where I can get a Bachelor in Hockeynomics?

JOE HOCKEY: Oxford, Cambridge, Melbourne University. Look, I define, I define Hockeynomics as what some spuriously described as voodoo economics, but look it’s far more credible than that.

PRESENTER: Well Joe I think it’s a noble aim there that you’re having a go at the banks about extra fees and the rest of it. Could you maybe have a crack at Ticketmaster and their booking fee please?

JOE HOCKEY: Yes. I don’t know what to say to that.

PRESENTER: It would be a vote winner with maybe some of the younger voters, I’m just saying it would be a good thing.

JOE HOCKEY: Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been to Ticketmaster, but a lot of the bands I prefer end up in RSLs or leagues clubs or you know Anzac clubs or something like that. I’m getting a bit old I’m afraid.

PRESENTER: Yeah, I’m keen for a rocking good time on a weekend with Joe Hockey. Thanks very much for joining us on Friday night. Thanks mate.

JOE HOCKEY: See you guys.