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Part transcript of interview: 3LO: 27 October 1992

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Deputy Leader of the Opposition


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


Good afternoon, Doug.


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.





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


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?


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.


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?


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.


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.