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Transcript of doorstop, House of Representatives, Canberra, Thursday, 8 September 2005: Liberal leadership odds; next election; petrol prices; industrial relations; Alexander Downer.

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Bernie Ripoll MP Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Industry, Infrastructure, and Industrial Relations Federal Member for Oxley


Subject: Liberal leadership odds, next election, petrol prices, industrial relations, Alexander Downer

RIPOLL: We all know that John Howard has been really

struggling in the House without Peter Costello there by his side so I thought I would look up Centrebet and just see how they are going. Peter Costello has firmed up to be the leader or Prime Minister at the next election. He’s on $1.90 to one odds and John Howard is struggling still at $2 to still be the leader. Interestingly enough though, everyone else in the Liberal Party is at $67 to one, except for one person - Alexander Downer who is at $100 to one. And what that really tells everybody is that Malcolm Turnbull, Brendan Nelson and Krusty the Klown have got more chance of being the Prime Minister before Alexander Downer has.

JOURNALIST: So what are Kim Beazley’s chances?

RIPOLL: Well, we’ve got to win the election first and we are working hard to do that. So we are working very hard and we have got some really great issues. I think people are really concerned about Telstra; they are concerned about industrial relations; they are concerned about this Government’s ideological agenda in terms of students. They are really worried about what is happening to the lives and to their families.

JOURNALIST: What about petrol prices?

RIPOLL: Petrol prices are a really big problem. It’s not good

enough for the Government to just say that it’s an international problem [and that] they can’t do anything about it. They can, there’s the ACCC, there is a whole range of things the Government could be doing and I think people are getting sick and tired of this Government just saying:

hands off, we’re not responsible we can’t do anything at all about anything. The reality is John Howard and this Government have been in for nine and a half long years and if they can’t do something maybe they should move out of the road and let people in who can.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

RIPOLL: Look, what needs to happen is the Government needs to make it a priority. It needs to actually pay attention to fuel prices, pay attention to things which are hurting families. If they don’t do that then they are not doing their job. What Labor is saying it’s time for the Government to stop mucking around on issues like industrial relations, and student issues with VSU, and start dealing with the issues that are hurting

families. That’s the priority and until we see the Government actually dealing with the priorities they are not doing their job.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible]

RIPOLL: I’ve said a lot on industrial relations. It is quite simple: industrial relations is an ideological bent that this Government has. John Howard is fighting an old battle. Thirty years he’s wanted to, you know, get rid of unions, he wants to take away rights of workers. We know what John Howard is doing, what he should be concentrating on is trying to get

better productivity, better collective agreements, trying to do something for the economy rather than just trying to take away people’s rights, their wages and conditions. It is a simple as that.

JOURNALIST: Is Mr Downer worth a few dollars at those odds?

RIPOLL: Well, mate he’s at 100 - 1. I’m not going to put any

money on him because I reckon he’s probably at worse odds than that.


Media information: Neville Conway 0418 879 091.