Commonwealth Games M2006 coin launch, tax cuts, Telstra – Doorstop Interview, Melbourne

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Commonwealth Games M2006 coin launch, tax cuts, Telstra – Doorstop Interview, Melbourne

Doorstop Interview

M2006 Headquarters

World Trade Centre, Melbourne

Friday, 11 March 2005
10.30 am


SUBJECTS: Commonwealth Games M2006 coin launch, tax cuts, Telstra


This coin is a true collectors’ item Treasurer, good value for money?


Excellent value for money, it is actual legal tender, $5, you can walk into

any store and spend it but it will be selling for a lot more than that. It will

have a face charge and in years to come it will appreciate in value and this

is the kind of investment that if you are a collector you might want to make,

or if you have got a baby being born you might want to keep a few of them for

when they grow up?


How do people get a hold of them? How much will they cost?


They are going to be selling, I think, for $68.50 and the Mint will be making

them available through its distributions.


What about they have announced the first two baton runners, Cathy Freeman and

Elle Macpherson, what do you think of Elle Macpherson being appointed?


Well as I said, I think she will be a far more attractive runner than me and

I think she will be a great ambassador. Cathy Freeman is internationally acclaimed

as an athlete, Elle Macpherson has been somebody who has excelled in the fashion

world who has made Australia well known throughout the world and I expect with

Elle and Cathy that there will be huge international coverage. And it is very

important for us that we get this international coverage so that we can get

Melbourne on the map and so that we can get these Games on the map and not just

here in Australia, we have got to get coverage in Britain and around the world

for people that want to come and share in these Games because it is the crowd

and the enthusiasm that is going to make these, I hope, the best Commonwealth

Games we have ever seen.


Treasurer will you give us tax cuts so that we can afford to go to the Games?


Yes, we are cutting taxes again on 1 July 2005 as announced in last year’s

Budget and that will enable those particularly, who are fronting up against

high marginal rates to get relief by the raising of thresholds.


Ziggy Switkowski said in the paper today that Tesltra services in the bush

are now world class or the best in the world, does that strengthen your case

for 100 per cent sale?


Well I think by international standards Australian services in rural and remote

areas are very strong, by international standards. I think, you go and look

at other countries, you look at Canada or the United States or other countries,

which have vast areas, the Australian services particularly, in coverage for

mobile phone, far beyond what comparable countries do and this indicates that

the Government has been successful in improving services in the bush and there

is no reason why we can’t keep those services strong with Telstra being

owned by private shareholders. There is no reason why you can’t keep those

services strong with private shareholders in Telstra.


Is the public going to back that?


Well look, the fact of the matter is, 49 per cent is already in private hands,

during the period that those shares have been in private hands services have

improved and I would say to people there is no reason to think that the Government

can provide better services than the private sector. In practically any other

area people would assume that the private sector could do better than the Government

and there is no reason why the private sector can’t do telecommunications

as well as the Government, and in nearly every other country of the world the

private sector does provide the telecommunications, it is done in the United

States, it is done in Britain, nearly every other developed country of the world

has private sector provision of telecommunications.


Treasurer, do you support allowing greater foreign ownership of Telstra?


Well the Government’s policy is to restrict foreign ownership of Telstra

so that Telstra stays in Australian hands and I do not support changing that.

I believe that Telstra should have majority Australian ownership.


What about the sell off of Telstra, do you see any merit in it being done over

the net like they did with Google or bypassing the merchant, the investment

banks and the share breakers, do you see any merit in that?


If you could get as good a price, I see a lot of merit in that, yes. If you

could get the right price without paying large fees, there is a lot of merit

in it and I have asked that some scoping work be done to see whether it is possible

to get the proper price, the proper return for taxpayers without the intermediaries.

Now, if the answer comes back and says you are better to pay fees to the intermediaries

because you will get a higher price and it is financially worth it so be it.

But I want to test that proposition very much so and if we could get a good

price and a good return for taxpayers without the intermediaries we ought to

do that.


It will (inaudible) the float though, that is what you are paying for, isn’t



Thank you all very much for your time.