David Hookes, Education, Mark Latham – Interview with Philip Clark, 2GB

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David Hookes, Education, Mark Latham – Interview with Philip Clark, 2GB



Interview with Philip Clark, 2GB

Tuesday, 20 January 2004

5.20 pm


SUBJECTS: David Hookes, Education, Mark Latham


Mr Costello, good afternoon to you.


Hello Philip, how are you?


Extremely well, happy new year to you, welcome to 2004 and all that, well

done in driving the Australian dollar to record highs against the US dollar

while I was away, I appreciate it.


You were away overseas obviously, were you?


Yes, I was indeed, that’s right. Where these things matter, back home

it doesn’t of course.


Well, I was going to say there are a lot of people back here that wish the

dollar wasn’t where it was, so there you go.


Yes, well, I lit a special (inaudible) candle at one point anyway in support

for you, so thank you for that. You have made some comments in relation to,

which I was interested to talk to you about in relation to the incident, the

tragic incident, and senseless too involving David Hookes in Victoria. I mean

I think the manner of his death is the thing that has distressed everybody,

and you have said look, you would perhaps like to see consideration of a three

strikes and you are out policy towards hotels, can you elaborate on what you



Well, look it is such a senseless act of violence. He is somebody who had such

an enormous ability, who gave a lot of pleasure to a lot of people, he was a

good fellow who many of us knew because he was involved with the media as you

know, and you have this tragic and senseless act and he is killed, and one of

the things that I think people who are well-known, I am not saying this is the

case with David, but people who are well-known often run into people who have

had too much to drink and want to take them on, you had the incident with Jeff

Fenech, remember…


That’s right.


…where somebody smashed a bottle over his head, you have had this incident

with David Hookes, and I think some of these venues should be looked at very

carefully. If you are running a venue and you are making your income from providing

entertainment and selling liquor, and hiring security guards, it is your responsibility

to make sure that those security guards don’t add to the problem, but

resolve it, and there are some of the clubs in Victoria who have just had far

too much violence associated with them, and you can have an odd incident here,

or an odd-incident there, but where you see a situation where you have had numbers

of incidents, I think the owners have got to be held responsible, and I think

to give them some incentive to control their security and to clean up their

act, we should be looking at proposals like three strikes and you are out. You

know, one bashing an accident, two a mistake, but if you have had three maybe

the venue should take a bit of a holiday.


Yes, the venues have got to take some responsibility for what happens in terms

of the staff that they engage, and that’s the point isn’t it?


Absolutely. They are employing staff whose job it is to prevent brawling and

if a venue employs staff that doesn’t prevent it, or in some cases adds

to it, who do you think should be held responsible. Now, you set up a venue

because you want to run a business, giving people a good time selling liquor,

that is fair enough.

But part of the business is ensuring that it is done in a safe way, and some

of these venues that say, oh we can’t be held responsible for what our

patrons do outside, I think are avoiding their responsibility, they can be,

they should be, and where there are repeated incidents, I think it is time for

the full force of the law to be brought down on them and I don’t know

if it is three strikes before you take a holiday, it might be two, it might

be four, but where you have repeated strikes, I think it might be time for the

venue to take a holiday.


Yes, indeed. Alright, twenty-five past five, my guest is Peter Costello the

Federal Treasurer on the line too. A lot of comment on the air today Mr Costello

about the remarks of the Prime Minister on public schools and their, well to

use his term, value neutral, politically correct attitudes, which he says are

driving people away to private schools, do you agree with that?


Look, I think that, look, let’s start off with a proposition that there

are some very, very good Government schools and you have seen in the recent

results in New South Wales that Government schools have nearly cleaned up the

academic results, all credit to them. That is fantastic, particularly the selective

schools of course, but I think that there are many parents that choose to send

their kids to religious schools or other schools because they are looking for,

maybe they might be looking for values, maybe they might be looking for discipline.

I am not against that actually, I think parents should have the choice, I think

you should be able to get the education of your choosing for your kids. And

I think that parents do respect those schools that have stronger discipline

and do have stronger values. They need not necessarily be private ones, there

are obviously some Government ones there.


I wonder whether you thought, whether you detected when you talk to people

about these issues, whether there is an aspirational view in a lot of Australians

who you meet, that if they could, they would like to send their kids to a private



You know what I…


…if they could.


You know what I think Philip, I think they would like to send their kids to

the best school available. If the best school available was a government school

where they didn’t have to shoulder the cost, I think that they would like

that even better, if the best school available is a non-government school where

they have got to shoulder a huge cost, they will make the sacrifice and do that.

I haven’t come across anybody that says, look I would like to send somebody

to a private school because I like the snob value of them…


No, no, no, I think that is right, I think it is…




…but it is because people think that perhaps it is better there.


…well, they obviously do. Nobody forces you to send your child to a private

school, they obviously think that notwithstanding these fees you are getting

a better education, that is why they are doing it, and I am certain that if

they were convinced that they could have as good an education in a government

school, they would take it and save themselves the money, but there are parents

that worry about public schools, and that is why I think you have got to have

an alternative for them, but for me I think the real answer lies in making the

public schools and indeed the private schools as good as possible.


Yes, indeed. Well, just before you go by the way, Mr Latham’s honeymoon

in the polls seems to continue, are you worried about him?


Federal elections will be close, they always are, and when the Labor Party

changed from Mr Crean to Mr Latham, undoubtedly that gave them the bit of a

boost. But I don’t think the policy blowtorch has been applied yet to

Mr Latham, and I think he is seriously confused on numbers of issues and that

is what we have got to argue out between now and the next election.


And I expect you to be assisting him with that confusion.


I will be as forensic as I possibly can.


I am sure you will. Peter Costello, good to talk with you.


Lovely to speak to you, thank you very much.