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Perth, 28 July 1997: transcript of doorstop [Prime Minister, Wueensland electoral redistribution, families]

JOURNALIST: Mr Costello, Pauline Hanson, would you put her last on the preferences on the ticket?

TREASURER: The preferences for the liberal party are decided by the State Divisions so that will be a matter for the Queensland State Division and they're the only people that can answer that question for you.

JOURNALIST: You wouldn't be urging them to do that? The National Party and the Labor Party would be her last on the ticket.

TREASURER: Well you,d have to direct that question to the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party they'll make the decision.

JOURNALIST: Is there a role though at a Federal level to show some leadership on this and to perhaps say that we would recommend that perhaps Pauline Hanson should be put last?

TREASURER: Well the leadership that we show is this, we reject any policy based on race. We reject divisiveness in relation to our ethnic communities. We reject gun ownership. We reject going back and trying to make Australia some kind of fortress against the world. And to the degree that Pauline Hanson stands for those policies we're against them all and we show leadership.

JOURNALIST: Mr Costello there's some research out in Canberra today that shows that a family on $30,000 would be $33 better off if they were to drop their income back to $20,000 and pick up all the benefits that go with it.

TREASURER: Well look I've seen a great deal of studies in relation to this. None of them is foolproof but I make this point, that low income families have been massively supported by our Government. Our Government introduced the family tax initiative to reduced taxes on families to help those people. Our Government from 1 July is giving $450 to a family to take out private health insurance. Nobody has ever done that before and by 1 July next year our Government is going to reduce taxes on savings. So we are conscious that families in Australia were not looked after by Labor and that why we have introduced these measures, to improve their situation.

JOURNALIST: But how fair is it though for a family on welfare to be better off than people who might be doing the right thing and working?

TREASURER: Well, as I said before, we are always working to improve the situation of families. We're doing that by giving our family tax initiative. And we are always reviewing social security to make sure that the incentives are right for people to work rather than go to welfare.

JOURNALIST: Mr Howard has been out of action for some time, how will that affect the running of the Government?

TREASURER: Oh, well look, Mr Howard's in hospital with pneumonia. I expect that by the end of this week he,ll be back at work. Whilst he is recovering, his duties are going to be assumed by other senior Ministers which of course we're only to happy to do because we want him to get thoroughly well again. He's been doing a magnificent job. A great job for Australia and we want to see him back doing it as soon as possible.