Cunningham By-Election, Childhood, Fitness, Cooking, V8 Supercars, Labor Policies, Iraq, Carole Crean, Fuel Tax
Simon Crean - Leader of the Opposition
Radio Interview - 19 September 2002
E & OE PROOF ONLY
PHOEBE: Wave FM, Phoebe and Dave here, the Big Breakfast.
DAVE: Sorry, I didn't have that microphone on.
PHOEBE: I'm over here. Simon's on my microphone, that's my microphone, Simon. Simon Crean, the Leader of the Opposition. Oh, it's all yours.
DAVE: Good morning, Simon.
CREAN: Dave and Phoebe, how are you?
PHOEBE: Good, nice to have you aboard. Thanks for coming in.
CREAN: My pleasure:
PHOEBE: Nice to have your entourage, too. What have we got? We've got four cameras, two sound guys and host of others. Morning, everyone.
CREAN: They're all local production facilities.
DAVE: Good on you, boys. Now, 21 to 8, and we just thought we'd have you in. You're in the area; there's an election or something on the weekend, isn't there?
CREAN: On the 19th of October, the Cunningham by-election.
CREAN: Four weeks off, but it's still important.
DAVE: Okay, well let's not talk about that.
CREAN: No, no.
DAVE: Let's talk about you, and I don't know, we've got some questions we thought we might get stuck into, Simon, if you don't mind.
PHOEBE: What do you want to be when you grow up, Simon?
CREAN: Prime Minister.
PHOEBE: Good, we've got to talk about that later.
CREAN: I haven't always wanted to be that.
DAVE: What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you want to be a jet-fighter pilot or a fireman or something
CREAN: I think I wanted to be a rock star or a movie actor.
DAVE: Well at least you get your head on TV a bit.
CREAN: I do now, but that's not acting, it's serious.
DAVE: Yeah, right!
PHOEBE: What were you like as a kid? Were you in trouble much?
CREAN: Um, I got up to
I was a little bit rebellious, not overly so. But I snuck out to see the Rolling Stones concert when I should have been grounded.
PHOEBE: Well, darling, you can sneak back in soon, because they're coming back.
CREAN: 1966. I know, and I went to see them in 1996, and I took my kids to see them.
DAVE: What's the first time you got in trouble with the cops?
CREAN: Um, the first time I got in trouble with the cops, I think I would have been about 12.
DAVE: Yeah? What did you do?
CREAN: I think
what was I doing? I was riding on the running board of the tram. [laughter]
DAVE: And, what? They fined you for that?
CREAN: And in fact there was this funny circumstance where my brother, who used to like playing practical jokes, rang my mother I was at home and said, this is the South Melbourne Police ringing here, Mrs Crean. And Mum said, all my boys are at home! [laughter]
PHOEBE: Simon's been hanging off the Number 1 again! When you were little or even now who's your hero?
CREAN: Muhammad Ali, I think, was my hero. A great fighter, but took a strong stand a strong stand against the draft; a strong stand for civil liberties. So he's been a hero of mine. I met him during the Sydney Olympics, and it was fantastic but it was sad, because of the condition that he was in.
DAVE: Simon, as far as exercise goes, we see John Howard up every morning and running around Lake Burley Griffin, that sort of thing. What do you do to keep yourself fit? I mean, you're a fit-looking sort of a bloke.
CREAN: Well, thank you, Dave.
DAVE: How do you keep yourself fit, and how do keep yourself regular?
CREAN: Well, I swim for a start. I'm either in the gym or I swim every morning. That's an important discipline for me. So I'm up early and I'm doing either of those. I like bike riding, I like bush walking, all those sorts of things when I get the chance.
DAVE: How many laps of the Olympic Pool do you do of a morning?
CREAN: Well the , I'd do, I'd do 80 laps of a 25-metre pool, so 2 k's.
DAVE: 2 k's? Is that walking around, or do you hop in?
CREAN: No, I hop in. In fact, there's this funny instance where Susie Maroney was swimming in Lake Burley Griffin.
DAVE: Was she chicken-fatted up? Was she, did she have all the grease all over her?
CREAN: It was freezing. I took the wet-suit top out. [laughter] And she said, are we going to dive in or
and I said, what's the temperature? And she said, I think she said it was 17 degrees; I said, we're diving in, there's no question there. [laughter] I had a bevy of cameras all around us.
PHOEBE: Do you actually swim in the pool at Parliament House?
PHOEBE: And who else is in there with you?
CREAN: Um, there's a few down there of a morning. Jenny Macklin gets in. I'm usually the first in, so they're starting to filter in as I'm leaving.
PHOEBE: This is the same pool that somebody nuded up in recently, isn't it?
CREAN: No, that was New South Wales
We're decent in the Federal Parliament. That was the NSW Parliament.
DAVE: You're talking about the same place you can get brown-paper packages sent anonymously to your home.
CREAN: We've outlawed the brown-paper packages.
DAVE: [Laughs] Oh, have you?
CREAN: Yes, we're outlawing corruption.
PHOEBE: There goes half of your mail, Dave. [laughter]
DAVE: Simon, around the house, what are you like around the house as a handyman?
CREAN: Well, I like doing the gardening when I get the chance. I'm not very good at fixing or doing carpentry work. I like cooking.
DAVE: Apparently, you bake a lot.
CREAN: Well, I can bake, I can fry, I can barbecue, I can paella, I can do risotto.
PHOEBE: You make-a paella.
CREAN: But I did make a nice bread-and-butter pudding the other day, and they were all impressed with that again.
PHOEBE: What's your best?
CREAN: Well that's pretty good, but it's got a great base. It's got my mother's marmalade jam.
PHOEBE: Ooh, now you're talking. Sultanas?
CREAN: Yes, sultanas.
CREAN: No, cinnamon.
PHOEBE: Oh, nice.
DAVE: And Mrs Crean still makes the marmalade?
CREAN: Yes, she does.
CREAN: Yeah, make the batches up.
DAVE: My Mum still makes those beautiful little biscuits that she's made all our lives, and she's saying to us now: oh look, I'm not sure if I'm going to make them any more, because they've got too much butter in them. Is your Mum sort of cutting down on the, on the health [inaudible]
CREAN: No, no, she uses all the eggs and butter. I do the morning teas down in my electorate, and Mum started off making the scones and cinnamon sponges. And these became so popular, it was like the loaves and the fishes. [laughter]
DAVE: With the masses you were feeding? [Inaudible]
I'm not cooking any more. This started as scones and jam for 20, it's now 400 I'm not doing it [laughs].
PHOEBE: [inaudible], about pollies and scones, because Flo's [inaudible], isn't she, doing the pumpkin scones, yes?
DAVE: Simon, you're a bit of a bloke's bloke. What's your dream car?
CREAN: Well, it's got to be an Aussie car; support the automotive industry.
DAVE: Maybe a new Monaro?
CREAN: Yes, the Monaro looks nice, yes. I've not driven it, but it looks nice. I'd like to have a crack at it.
DAVE: Yes, we've got some new Falcons coming out shortly, the new Commodores coming out shortly, a bit of V8 grunt. I can see you getting around in the Leader of the Opposition Statesman-mobile'.
CREAN: I got around in the V8 Supercar, around Canberra a couple of weeks ago with Steve Johnson.
DAVE: How fast:
CREAN: Two hundred and seventeen k's, it was fantastic.
DAVE: I hope you were wearing a seat-belt.
CREAN: I was wearing everything [laughs].
PHOEBE: Are you slightly greyer now?
DAVE: And a lot of sweat.
CREAN: I'll tell you what, it was really hot.
DAVE: It would have been.
CREAN: We did, what was it, three laps and the speed in a funny sort of way you're not conscious of except when you look at it. It's the sort of G-force, the force coming into the bends and the braking, and stuff like that. But it was a fantastic experience.
DAVE: It gets up to about 60 degrees in those cars.
DAVE: And then you're wearing a suit on top of it, a helmet.
CREAN: You've got the equipment, yes.
DAVE: You're not wrong. Simon Crean, Leader of the Opposition, is our special guest in the studio this morning. Are you going to hang around for a little while, maybe to help us do the Birthday Book.
CREAN: I'm here to assist.
CREAN: Always happy to serve.
The Illawarra's favourite liquor store has now opened a great new location in Park Road, Woonona East. And you can win one of four mountain bikes given away each day until Sunday just by making a purchase at the new Tosti Cellars. Here are some of the sensational opening specials available. Simon, the Opposition of the
DAVE: Opposition Leader
PHOEBE: Thank you. Opposition Leader Simon Crean.
CREAN: Yes, Phoebe. Toohey's Red stubbies, amazing value, $20.95 a carton.
DAVE: You'd see many of those knocked back at Parliament House, wouldn't you?
CREAN: Not many these days, they're all into the sauvignon blanc.
DAVE: Or chardonnay?
PHOEBE: Oh, we got to those in a minute.
CREAN: Okay, Toohey's Blue stubbies, even better, $15.95 a carton. Toohey's Extra Dry stubbies, beat this, $27.95 a carton. 700ml Tia Maria and Kahlua, Tosti's price, $25.95 each that's $6 off.
PHOEBE: That's a good saving.
DAVE: That's amazing.
CREAN: A huge saving.
DAVE: You don't need to like the stuff. You don't need to
CREAN: I [inaudible] they're too sweet for me.
DAVE: You don't need to be the Treasurer to work out that's a huge saving.
CREAN: Yeah, but if you were the Treasurer, you'd be collecting the excise on every bottle.
PHOEBE: How about 700ml of Regency Scotch and Cedar Hill Bourbon, that's an incredible $17.50 a bottle.
CREAN: Yes, and there's Bosca Verdi Spumante, it's a Tosti's special at just $4.50 a bottle.
PHOEBE: Brown Brothers Crouchen Moselle, a low, low, low $7.50 a bottle.
CREAN: That's Riesling.
CREAN: And, the big [laughter, inaudible]
PHOEBE: That's where you come in, Simon.
CREAN: Sovereign Port fruity lexia wine,
PHOEBE: A headache in a box [laughs].
DAVE: Have you got your reading glasses there, Simon?
CREAN: I do. [inaudible] No, it isn't; it's a shadow being cast by the microphone boom that you've got over the top. Two for $10.
PHOEBE: And a big 440ml Black Jack bourbon and cola cans are $6.95 a four-pack or $36.95 a case. Remember, you can win one of those four mountain bikes given away each day until Sunday. Just make a purchase at the new Tosti's in Woonona. Tosti Cellars, Port Kembla, Cordeaux Heights and now at Park Road, Woonona East, just near the railway station.
(birthday messages). Now Simon, we have to give a birthday cake out to one person every morning. Would you like to choose today's birthday cake winner?
CREAN: Alright, today's birthday cake winner is
PHOEBE: Can you read my writing? Hayley
CREAN: I can, it's Hayley, Hayley Benton.
PHOEBE: And she's 14.
CREAN: And she's 14. Happy birthday, Hayley.
DAVE: Oh, lovely.
PHOEBE: It's not every day Simon Crean says happy birthday to you.
[more birthday messages]
DAVE: Now, we've got Simon Crean, Leader of the Opposition, in the studio this morning. So I'm not sure that we're going to play a song after 8 o'clock; we'll just have a bit of a chat if you don't mind, Simon.
CREAN: Yeah, go for it, Dave.
DAVE: Yes. I've just got to ask you a question about, I don't want to get political, but let's just say that you've got your ALP on one hand and you've got your Liberal Party on the other hand. Now, apart from the fact that the Liberal Party's in government, what would you say is the basic difference between your two parties now? Because, haven't the lines sort of blurred a bit?
CREAN: I think there's a perception that the lines have blurred, but I think when it comes down to the issues, there are pretty fundamental differences. Iraq is a good case in point. We say the settlement should be through the United Nations. The Government says: well, yeah let's do it through the United Nations, but we'll go with the US regardless. I think that's a pretty fundamental difference, because that is an issue that, you know, weighs heavily on people's minds.
We support Paid Maternity Leave; they don't. I mean, we say that Medicare has to be retained at all costs; they really are undermining it. Public, you know, bulk-billing has dropped significantly.
So our commitment, I think, summed up is: we both believe in a strong economy. I think our argument is, there needs to be a fairer way in which the benefits of that are shared around. It shouldn't just go to the top end of town, it should be shared across the community.
DAVE: Make it a little more equitable.
CREAN: Yes, absolutely.
PHOEBE: How about getting us some more nurses?
CREAN: Well, again this is all part of the health issue. And the other pressure on health, of course, is the private insurance charges that the Government has just allowed
DAVE: There's more stories this morning in the paper about neurosurgeons and obstetricians leaving, because they decided we can't afford our $120,000 a year insurance bill. [inaudible]
CREAN: Yes, and that's the further dimension of it, the medical indemnity and the public-risk liability. And these are things, see the funny thing is that the Government says it's the States' problem. I'll say it's a national problem; all levels of government have to get involved. And our criticism of the Government is that it hasn't got involved at the national level and should have.
DAVE: Okay, now onto something a little lighter. How'd you meet your wife?
CREAN: On a tennis court.
PHOEBE: Who won? [laughter]
CREAN: We both won.
PHOEBE: It was love-all.
CREAN: It was a love match. Well, that was my first job, grooming tennis courts.
DAVE: The old, the clay courts?
CREAN: Yes, well on occasion, the entoutcas courts. I used to be, used to go down and broom them, broom them of the evening and water them in the morning. So that's what turned me into an early riser, I had to be up ahead of the players. But, no we met up at the tennis club. We're coming up to our 29th wedding anniversary.
DAVE: Well, congratulations!
CREAN: Thank you. A miracle in its own right. [laughter]
PHOEBE: You haven't forgotten the date?
CREAN: No, the 17th of November. So it's two months off. [laughter]
DAVE: Okay, and what's your lovely wife's name?
DAVE: Carole? Carole Crean.
CREAN: Yes, Carole Crean. Carole Cheryl Crean. C.C.C.
PHOEBE: Say you're getting the genie bottle out, you give it a rub, the genie pops out and you've got one wish, Simon, just one. Anything, anything at all, what's your wish?
CREAN: The next election. [Laughter]
PHOEBE: Well, that actually leads us to the next question, because what would you do? Just say you were Prime Minister
just for a day.
CREAN: Just for a day?
DAVE: Yeah, if you were Prime Minister for a day.
CREAN: For a day. I'd start planning for the three years. [Laughter]
PHOEBE: Are we ready to take some calls this morning, Dave?
DAVE: I think so. Have you got time, Simon, to hang around for a little while?
CREAN: Yeah, sure, absolutely.
DAVE: If you'd like to maybe ask the Leader of the Opposition a question, 4275 1965. We'll get to that after the news with Rob Gordon next, here at Wave FM.
environmental tax. I think it's about .5 cents per litre, it's supposed to be for environmental tax. What the hell does the Government do with the .5 cents per litre tax? And also, too, wouldn't you, um
the excise they're talking about placing on, or a new tax, as far as this ethanol tax. You can really tell them they've put a, some type of um, what do you call it? An excise tax, [inaudible] on top of it.
DAVE: What do you reckon about that, Simon?
CREAN: Well, the first part of the question, it's supposed to go back into environmental issues, in particular renewable energy. On the second, there was no excise on ethanol, which can be added to fuel. They've now whacked on the excise that applies to petrol, so that's 38 cents a litre. But they've also introduced a, if it's produced in Australia, you get a rebate but only for the next twelve months. So the question is, after twelve moths ethanol will be taxed at the full rate of petrol
ethanol, will they put it on LPG which, at the moment, doesn't have the excise. It's got the GST but it hasn't got the excise. Now we asked the Treasurer this yesterday, and he wouldn't answer that.
DAVE: That looks a bit honest, doesn't it? Okay, interesting answer. We've got another question there, Phoeb's.
PHOEBE: Yes, we've got Dennis from Bulli, and Dennis would like to ask you about a question that appeared in one of our local papers, the Illawarra Mercury, the other day. Dennis, what's your question for Simon Crean?
CALLER: Well, there was an article
First of all, welcome Simon, in windy Wollongong. But
CREAN: Thanks, Dennis.
CALLER: That's alright. Um, obviously there's been a lot of disenchantment with the ALP down here with the endorsement of Sharon as a candidate and with the rank and file having to put up with an N40. How are you going to bridge the gap and try and get the members to stand behind this candidate?
CREAN: Well, two things. As you know, I'm about modernising the Party. And I'm taking some major reforms to a Conference next month to make the Labor Party more inclusive, more open to its membership. They're important reforms, and I'm committed to achieve them. In the case of Sharon Bird, we had to move quickly to get a candidate in the field, because the by-election itself as you know was called unexpectedly. But Sharon is a fantastic local candidate. She was born in the area, she lived in the area, she taught in the area, she raised her family in the area. I mentioned before about what's the key in terms of parliamentarians and, you know, going on to be Prime Minister. You've got to be connected with your community. You've got to do more than just stand for the Labor Party; you've got to be a champion for your community. And Sharon is a fantastic champion for this community. She'll be a great Member of Parliament.
DAVE: Thanks for your call this morning, ten past eight, and WaveFM [inaudible]
PHOEBE: It's on the way, so keep using that phone number, 4275 1965. Thank you very, very much for coming in this morning, Simon. It's been a great pleasure for us.
CREAN: It's my pleasure too, Phoebe and Dave. I'm just sorry I missed out on that quiz. [laughter] I like playing
PHOEBE: You already know the first question, so you have to be quiet, okay.
CREAN: Okay, okay.