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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11946

Interview with Breakfast Show, Radio 6PR

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 23/05/2001

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 11946

Subjects: Federal Budget.

E&OE................................

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard good morning.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning to you both. Good to be on your programme.

JOURNALIST:

Great to have on. And I've got to admit, we were eavesdropping during our news and we did hear you chuckling away there in the studio in Canberra. So you're pretty happy this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh yes. I think there's been a good reaction to the budget. People think it's economically good for the country and they also welcome the investment we've made in different areas, in health, in the environment, in defence. And also I believe most Australians, whatever age they are, recognise that older people who put a lot into the country over the years are entitled to a bit of an extra dividend.

JOURNALIST:

It's definitely a generous budget Mr Howard. We should have got you to sponsor us for the 40 Hour Famine. We would have done nicely. The senior citizens have definitely been looked after, but is that an admission that they weren't really looked after prior to this?

PRIME MINISTER:

No it's not. One of the reasons why I wanted to provide some help for the self-funded retirees is that low interest rates are great if you are paying off a home or you're running a business. They're fantastic. And we have the lowest interest rates now for 30 years, the average home buyer paying $300 a month less on his or her mortgage than was the case when we came into government. But low interest rates are not so good for a lot of retired people who earn their income from interest on fixed investments. So that's the other side of the interest rate coin, the low interest rate coin. And one of the things that has been motivating me for a while to try and provide some extra help to self-funded retirees has been the impact on them of low interest rates.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard it's nice to talk to you. Can I just ask you this, we've had some complaints this morning on the show, particularly from disability pensioners. What's in it for them?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well somebody who is of aged pension age is the category of beneficiary that gets the bonus. And we are not providing the bonus for people who get Commonwealth benefits who are not of aged pension age. You say what's in it for them? Well the arrangements that were put in place after the introduction of the GST provided increases in all manner of allowances and pensions and the purpose of this was to provide some assistance to people who are of aged pensioned age and that is the eligibility condition in relation to that $300.

JOURNALIST:

Okay, listen I watched the announcement last night. I got to say I don't watch Federal Parliament very often but I was amazed at how much heckling goes on in there during this fantastically important speech from Mr Costello. Do we need that heckling in parliament Mr Prime Minister? Can you get rid of that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well you ought to talk to the Opposition about that. They did all the heckling.

JOURNALIST:

That's what I mean.

PRIME MINISTER:

Go and talk to Mr Beazley. He comes from Perth.

JOURNALIST:

Well next time I see him I will.

PRIME MINISTER:

You have a shot at him over that.

JOURNALIST:

It's just unnecessary.

PRIME MINISTER:

Look I think a certain amount of heckling and interjection in other debates is understandable and the place would be pretty dull if we all sat up and never opened our mouths except when asked to. But a budget speech is a very important document for the country. A lot of people only look at parliament one night a year, that's for the budget. And they're entitled to hear it in peace and quiet and I thought it went over the top last night.

JOURNALIST:

It's putting you off. Hear hear I say. Mr Howard who does the budget at home? You or Mr Howard?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it's a bit of a mixture, although she's pretty good. We tend to sort of share those things a bit. There's certain things I look after, certain bills and other things. And certain things she looks after. Never really sat down and said well you do this and I'll do that. It's not been that kind of marriage.

JOURNALIST:

Probably got a bit on your plate have you?

PRIME MINISTER:

Got a few things to do. Yes. A few telephone calls, a few late nights at the office mate.

JOURNALIST:

Just one or two here or there. Is it going to get you re-elected? Are you going to win again?

PRIME MINISTER:

I think we deserve to win again but that's up to the public. I think we've done a good job, we've made our share of mistakes but the economy's going a lot better and we've tackled some of the hard issues.

JOURNALIST:

Five minutes with the Prime Minister. It seems like five second Mr Howard. I know you have to vacate the studio to let the Treasurer in for another interview. Can I ask you this question as we go out? Dire Straights Walk of Life, I know it's one of your favourite songs. Will it get a bit of run today on the CD player?

PRIME MINISTER:

I reckon.

JOURNALIST:

In the Walkman.

PRIME MINISTER:

Indeed.

JOURNALIST:

Good luck Mr Howard.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thanks a lot mate.

JOURNALIST:

Thanks for your time.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 11946