South Australian election, Shell / Woodside, Mitsubishi

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South Australian election, Shell / Woodside, Mitsubishi

Transcript No. 2001/037



Hon Peter Costello MP


Doorstop Interview
South Australian Liberal Party Convention
Saturday, 21 April 2001
2.15 pm local time


SUBJECTS: South Australian election, Shell / Woodside, Mitsubishi


Mr Costello, youre here to help to kickstart the standing of the South

Australian Liberals, theyve been behind in election opinion polls for quite

some time now. Here in the run up to the election, what do you say to the

voters of South Australia to help your SA colleagues to be returned?


Well I think John Olsen and his team have done a very good job in managing

the State of South Australia. Theyve got some very good projects going,

I think, they have the runs on the board and I think they are entitled to

finish the job of good economic management. And I dont see their opponents,

seriously, putting any significant proposals forward. They seem to be pretty

low on ideas, and I think Premier John Olsen and his team are running very

hard to win the next election.


Is that going to be the key, do you see that as a key element of the Liberals

re-election campaign in South Australia, reminding voters about the State

Bank, economic mismanagement of the former administration?


You are entitled to judge the Labor Party on their record. And the record

of the Labor Party in South Australia, the State Bank and the financial

scandals is a pretty, is the best indication at this point as to what would

they would be like if they got back into Government. People shouldnt forget

that. And youre also entitled to judge Premier Olsen and his team by their

record and I think their record has been a pretty sound one over the term

of office.


Mr Costello, can you say when you will announce the decision on the Shell

/ Woodside bid?


Very shortly. I wont be doing it this weekend because I have got a few

other things on, but after the weekend it will be very shortly.


Have you made a decision?


I will tell you the decision when I announce it.


Mitsubishi officials in Japan have hinted that a tariff freeze, thats what

theyll be seeking in order to keep their operations in Australia open.

John Olsen says he will be asking to talk to you about that, lobbying for

that. Is that something you are prepared to consider, a five year freeze?


Well look, obviously if John Olsen was to put matters to the Federal Government

we would always listen and give him a fair hearing. But we have laid down

a program in relation to tariffs to give the industry certainty, as it asked

for. And the industry is entitled to operate on the basis that that will

be put into effect. And thats the Governments policy. On the question

of tariff, let me make this point, that recent developments in relation

to the exchange rate have been better within import competing industries

and in helping export industry, than any tariff. Thats the point youve

got to remember. The movement in the exchange rate in the last year has

been of more assistance to Australian exporters and to Australian companies

that are competing with imports than any tariff ever was. And when you put

that together with the low interest rate environment, you are seeing a very

good situation for Australian exporters and Australian companies that compete

with imports and I think people ought to bear that in mind. Its a very

significant benefit for companies that are seeking to export cars or anything



Mr Costello, you say the State Government has been doing a pretty good job

managing the economy, yet one of the biggest problems we have here is with

electricity and weve got businesses threatening to leave the State. How

can you say that the Governments been doing a good job when the markets

not working?


Well, Im not going into electricity matters because theyre not my responsibility,

Ill leave that to the State Government. But I think its been doing a good

job in terms of managing its budget, I think its been doing a good job in

terms of projects, particularly in relation to the Darwin to Alice Springs

railway project. I think it has been doing a good job in creating an environment

for business and youve seen in South Australia over recent years, unemployment

has fallen quite significantly and of course thats got to do with both

State and National factors. But unemployment today is much lower than it

was when the Coalition Government was elected. Its much lower than it was

when the Labor Party was thrown out of office in South Australia.


Mr Costello, just back to the Shell bid, can you, are you looking Monday

or Tuesday? Or will you (inaudible)?


All I have said is I wont be doing it this weekend. Ive got a few other

things on, but I expect to announce it shortly thereafter.


Will you say where and how? Will it be the Government that annouces it or

will the companies?


No, the companies wont announce it. The Government will annouce its decision

on the issue. In fact I will announce the Governments decision on the issue,

and as I said it wont be this weekend, but it will be very, very shortly.

Thank you