Debate; Labor’s Tax Policy; Terrorism – Doorstop Interview, North Lakes

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Debate; Labor’s Tax Policy; Terrorist Attack in Jakarta – Doorstop interview, Treasury Place, Melbourne
September 12, 2004
Labor’s Tax Policy; Housing Figures – Doorstop Interview, Eight Mile Plains
September 14, 2004
Debate; Labor’s Tax Policy; Terrorist Attack in Jakarta – Doorstop interview, Treasury Place, Melbourne
September 12, 2004
Labor’s Tax Policy; Housing Figures – Doorstop Interview, Eight Mile Plains
September 14, 2004

Debate; Labor’s Tax Policy; Terrorism – Doorstop Interview, North Lakes




Doorstop Interview

Westfield Shopping Centre

North Lakes

Monday, 13 September 2004


SUBJECTS: Debate; Labor’s Tax Policy; Terrorism


Treasurer there’s a view that Mark Latham won the debate last night. What

do you think about that?


Different people will have different views. Some people score debates on

the colour of your tie, some people score it on what you look like. I think

the important thing is content. And you are talking about the right to manage

an $800 billion economy in very difficult terms, and I thought on content

and ideas and record and experience Mr Howard performed the better of the



What about (inaudible)?


Well these things are set down at the beginning of the campaign. The rules,

there’s going to be one debate, and we have had it. So, there you are.


Australian Idol gave it a flogging in the ratings. Does that surprise



That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. I always thought Australian

Idol would out-rate the Great Debate. In fact I was tempted

at one stage myself to switch over. But my two Australian Idols were on

the Great Debate last night.


Two of them?


Are you tempted at all to debate Mr Latham?


Oh I would love to debate whoever I can and if Mr Latham wants to have

a debate about the economy and his tax package I will very willingly point

out the flaws. Let me give you one example which just absolutely intrigues

me – Mr Latham says that if Mum stays at home to look after the kids

and Dad earns $60,000 he would like to give that family more money. But

if Dad earns $30,000 he would like to take money away from that family.

He would like to take money away from families where Dad has a lower income

than families where Dad has a higher income. It is the most extraordinary

thing. I have never heard of it before. Who would have thought if you were

looking after three kids on $30,000 it would harder, to look after three

kids on $60,000. Mr Latham says at $60,000 I will give you some more but

at $30,000 I will take money away from you – $15 a week. So you tell me

how, under Mr Latham, if Dad is earning $30,000 and Mum is looking after

the three kids at home, tell me how they are going to afford $15 a week

less? And tell me this, why has he targeted those families for punishment?

It just defies logic. I assume it is just an error that he hasn’t picked

up yet. But if it is an error he had better start amending it pretty quickly.


Is there nothing about the Labor Party’s Tax and Family Package that you

are attracted to?


Well what is there? We punish lower income earners, we punish families

where Mum stays at home, we take away superannuation entitlements, we increase

the superannuation surcharge – a pretty unattractive package to me.

And in the meantime Mr Latham got caught rigging his tables. See he took

to you all tables that were weekly tables to try and show people who is

better off. One problem, he had left out $600 per child from his weekly



There have been questions (inaudible) by people here today, one of them

was when do you think you will become Prime Minister? What is the answer?


Well that is the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. At the moment

I am focused on winning the election and ensuring that Australia keeps good

economic management. And I hope if we are re-elected to continue to be part

of that economic management.


But it is clearly not the last thing on the electorate’s mind. I mean,

we had a few questions here today and one of them was that. It is something

that has to be addressed isn’t it?


Well people come up to you with all sorts of questions and interests and

queries and we deal with them as they arise. But that is not something that

is on my agenda at the moment.


But the issue of succession is on the agenda of the electorate.


I don’t think so. I think that people are focussed on who has the best

team to run Australia and to manage the economy. And I think when you ask

that question most people prefer the Howard-Costello Team.


Treasurer do you think that it is at all possible the terrorist risk to

Australia has increased as a result of our Iraq commitment?


No because Australians were targeted and killed by terrorists before any

troops, any Australian troops, or any Coalition troops were engaged in Iraq.


So was John Anderson wrong when he said that it was possible?


Well Mr Anderson explained yesterday that he thought it was Australia’s

aggressive chasing of Jemaah Islamiah that might have led to threats against

Australia. He didn’t link it to Iraq. You see, let me make this point, Australians

were killed in the bombing in Bali in October of 2002. No Australian troops

were engaged in Iraq until later in 2003. So it wasn’t Iraq that led to

the Jemaah Islamiah attack on Australians.


But why would increased aggression against Jemaah Islamiah raise the threat

level if our involvement in Iraq wouldn’t? That’s illogical isn’t it?


Well look, I am not going through what does or what does not contribute

but I will make this point. Australians were a target of the terrorist organisation

Jemaah Islamiah in Bali in October of 2002 long before any Australian troops

were in Iraq. So you can’t draw a connection. Now Australia was the target

of a bombing in Jakarta, quite possibly by Jemaah Islamiah, I can’t confirm

that, but that was the suspicion a couple of days ago. And the only point

I am making is that the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiah has been active

in targeting in Indonesia for quite some time and it hasn’t been related

to Iraq.


Do you think Mark Latham…


Last question.


…increased the risk to troops in Iraq with his promise to get them

out by Christmas?


Oh you know, it was a funny thing last night that Mark Latham was asked

to reaffirm his pledge of troops home by Christmas – his 2UE Troops

Pledge – the pledge he made on 2UE and he studiously avoided doing

that. So as of today, I couldn’t tell you what Mark Latham’s policy was.

He took great care not to elaborate on it during the debate last night.

You will have to ask him what his 2UE, whether his 2UE trooping policy still

stands or not. Thank you.