Launch of Higgins Campaign, Higgins Campaign Office, Malvern

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November 2, 2007
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November 4, 2007
Garrett’s revealing comments, republic, election – Interview with David Speers, Sky News
November 2, 2007
Coalition roads announcement for Victoria, economic management – Doorstop Interview, Nagambie
November 4, 2007

Launch of Higgins Campaign, Higgins Campaign Office, Malvern






3 November 2007


Well, Alan, thank you very much for that introduction and thank you all for being here today.For today we are launching the campaign for the Liberal Party here in Higgins and I am pleased to be your candidate for the seat of Higgins.

Thank you to all our campaign workers, particularly Andrea who is working on the campaign, and Helen Kroger, who is part of our Senate team, Michael O’Brien I saw who is here, the Member for Malvern, and a special welcome for our special guest today, my beautiful wife Tanya.

As I have campaigned in this seat over recent weeks from Punt Road to Warrigal Road, from Camberwell to Hughesdale, I have had to put up with some really searching questioning – really searching questioning – and I am not talking about the press here, I am talking about primary school visits where you get asked all sorts of questions.At the Solway Primary School recently a little boy put up his hand and he said ‘Mr Treasurer where do you hide your treasure?’ and I had to give him a very long explanation about what Treasurers do.

But I think the best question I have had in the whole of my political life was down at the Ashburton Primary School this week when I was taking questions from the prep students and a young kid by the name of Rourke said to me: ‘Mr Peter Costello, who made cactuses?’ and this was a very difficult question to answer.And we have been wondering why Rourke was so worried about cactuses and we think maybe his parents had been talking over the dinner table about paying cactuses to the Federal Government or the State government and he has just got the words a bit mixed up.

Anyway the good news for Rourke is we’re cutting cactuses if we’re re-elected.

I have a seven-point plan for re-election here in Higgins.The first point is to make the Australian economy more competitive with a tax plan which will mean low income earners won’t pay tax until they earn above $20,000.For 45 per cent of taxpayers, particularly working mums, they won’t face a marginal tax rate higher than 15 per cent.For the majority of Australian taxpayers – 85 per cent – they won’t have a marginal tax rate higher than 30 per cent.For 98 per cent of Australian taxpayers they won’t have a higher marginal tax rate than 35 per cent.

And this is a plan which has been developed to make our economy stronger.

Now after I announced that on the first day of the election campaign Kevin Rudd went away for five days and came back on the Friday and said he thought this was such a good tax plan he’d like to implement it too.For 91.5 per cent of it he copied it in its entirety.

And how do you feel when people copy your work? Well on the one hand you feel flattered but the great risk for Australia is this – that if Kevin Rudd were to be elected there wouldn’t be anyone to copy.He wouldn’t have the luxury of being able to copy our policies because it would all be up to him.And this is where you get into trouble.When you start copying somebody else’s work it is okay whilst they are doing it but if they’re not doing the work you are on your own.

And he wouldn’t have the policies of the Coalition to copy.He would be it and that would be a risk for Australia.

You know the one thing you can’t copy – you can’t copy experience.

Kevin Rudd wouldn’t be able to copy the experienced economic management that we’ve been putting in place over recent times.

I think one of the most memorable statements of this election campaign was the one which was made by Peter Garrett yesterday.Peter Garrett yesterday said ‘When we get elected we’ll just change it all.’

What he was saying was this – they don’t believe in me-tooing Coalition policy, they don’t believe in their tax policy, they don’t believe in the assistance that we have laid down for pensioners, they don’t believe in our Kyoto policy which requires the developing nations to come into the Kyoto negotiations, they don’t believe that.

This me-tooism is an elaborate ruse.It is a pretence to try and get to the election and try and fool Australians into believing that they could be trusted with government.

When they get there they will change it all.If they change it all people’s jobs are going to be at risk and their businesses and their mortgages.

So I am standing on a seven-point plan here in Higgins to keep that economy strong, firstly with a new tax plan.Secondly, to recognise self-funded retirees (inaudible) pensioners with a $500 Utilities Allowance.Thirdly, to improve local school facilities with our Investing in Our Schools Programme with better facilities in government schools.Fourthly, to invest in additional health services like practice nurses being able to come into the home and claim a Medicare rebate to do it.Fifthly, to crack down on street crime, a big problem here in Glenferrie Road and in Chapel Street and at our local stations where people are worried about street crime.

And we can do something about that with CCTV as a deterrent for street crime.Sixthly, to secure more apprenticeship places and to build 100 technical schools around Australia so that a technical education will be as valued as a university degree in the years which lie ahead.And seventhly, practical measures to address the great climate issues – rebates for water tanks, rebates for solar panels, rebates for solar hot water systems so that people in our area can make their own contribution to the great challenge of climate change.

But I say this, you will never be able to address environmental issues or health issues or educational issues unless we have a strong economy.It is a strong economy that gives us the capacity to do all of these things.

I believe in this country, I believe in its future and I believe we can make this one of the greatest countries in the world and that’s my ambition, it’s a big ambition for Australia.

And my ambition here in the electorate of Higgins is to be the very best representative, the very best Member that I can be to represent each and every one of these people to the best of my abilities to make sure that the people of Higgins have a strong voice and a strong plan in the Federal Government.

With your support and your help I know that we can win this election here in Higgins and I know that nationally we have a plan which the Australian public and the Australian people need for their future.And it is my ambition to explain that and to win their trust and help them.

And now ladies and gentlemen after you have heard from me I want to call on Tanya, my greatest supporter, my greatest supporter, without whom I couldn’t do any of this to officially launch the campaign here in Higgins.Thank you very much.


Well hello my name is Tanya Costello and I am here to launch Peter’s campaign for re-election in the seat of Higgins.

This is the first time I have made a speech like this at one of Peter’s election campaign openings.

That is not to say I don’t have an interest in politics, I do.I care very deeply about Australian public affairs and our nation’s future.

But while Peter has been in the larger public space, my life has been in the smaller local confine of our neighbourhood and our community.I have been very busy raising three marvellous children, involving myself in their lives, in their childcare, their kindergartens, their primary schools, their high schools, their guides and their brownies, their Auskick, piano lessons, school plays, school concerts, trying to be water wise, trying to be good at saving energy in between keeping my own professional career as a lawyer and an adviser puttering along three days a week.

I am a pretty typical Higgins, it is a pretty typical Higgins electorate life I lead.

However today I wanted to come out and launch this campaign because more than ever before I think this election is important to all of our futures.We need the right people to do the very difficult job of steering this country.

Everyone sees Peter as he appears on TV answering technical questions and debating in the Parliament often cracking wonderful jokes.They see him dealing with financial matters, they see him managing the huge Commonwealth Budget but I see a different Peter.

I see the Peter I fell in love with and married, someone who cares deeply about other people.I see him lying awake at night, tossing and turning as he worries about people’s jobs, people’s situations.

I have watched him agonise about Budget decisions, about the decisions that will affect people’s livelihoods and their children.I have spoken with lots of people who tell me in casual conversation about how he helped them with their constituent problems.I see him working every weekend and getting up early and coming home late – if he comes home at all because mostly he lives in Canberra because he believes in doing the right thing for our country.

I have heard him rehearse lots of speeches, funny lines in the shower and give many, many speeches about how we need to build stronger families, stronger neighbourhoods, stronger communities.These are some of Peter’s convictions.

And I know this about Peter.He believes in looking after everyday Australians everywhere.Because I see the guiding values of Peter in action.I see the warm compassionate man that cares deeply about me, about his children, about his parents, his wider family, all of his friends and you know he truly loves his country.He loves the wide brown land called Australia.

I see a man that many people don’t.And that’s why I wanted to launch the new campaign.Not so much because I want to lose him to Canberra for another three years but because I know that he is at his best when he is doing everything he can for his constituents and his country.

And so I am formally launching Peter’s bid for re-election here in Higgins because I believe in him.I believe Higgins needs him.I know this man inside and out.I admire his intelligence, I admire his compassion and I love the way he can laugh at himself.I also believe the wider community needs people like Peter in public life.So I don’t know if there is a ribbon but I declare this campaign office open. And I (inaudible) all the people of Higgins to once again elect this wonderful man Peter Costello.