Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So, what's this Joe fellow like?

Hockey's first day

Australia's new Shadow Treasurer was matey in a whirlwind round of interviews in his first day on the job, but his questioners weren't.

"What sort of knife did you knife Julie with?" was among the most brutal, delivered by the breakfast team from Nova FM.

Joe Hockey replied that while politics could be a blood sport, it wasn't as cutthroat as morning radio.

In makeup at Channel Seven's Sunrise studio where he once did a regular double act with Kevin Rudd he was asked why Julie Bishop wasn't any good.

He replied that inevitably there were changes in personnel in politics, just as in TV.

The host replied that he hoped there wouldn't be any changes for a while and reminded him that Julie Bishop was caught out early as Shadow Treasurer by not knowing the official interest rate, adding, "what is it?"...

"It's 3.25 per cent, Kochie. But no body is paying it. Maybe you’re paying it, but I’m not," replied the new Shadow Treasurer, passing what was to be the first of many such tests in his first test in the job.

He made mistakes as the day wore on, telling the interviewer from AM that the man who was offered the job ahead of him Peter Costello left the country debt-free as Treasurer, quickly adding "err you know certainly the government debt-free".

Asked by 3AW's Neil Mitchell whether he agreed with Julie Bishop that tax cuts could increase government revenue he replied that it depended on the circumstances.

Ashed whether tax cuts could increase government revenue in the current circumstances he replied that it depended where people spent the money.

"If they spend the money and they spend it on retail goods, you know it might come back in Goods and Services Tax, increased GST revenue."

When Neil Mitchell tried to pursue this line of reasoning Joe Hockey told him he was one of the best interviewers in Australia.

He was full of love too for the man who could have elbowed him aside.

"From my perspective I love Peter Costello," he told an astonished Neil Mitchell.

"You love him?"

"Well it's a special kind of love," he said, echoing the line used by the 1970s Labor Treasurer Jim Cairns to describe his controversial relationship with his executive assistant Junie Morosi.

"It's not a physical love," he added quickly.

Asked how the Coalition would manage the economy differently he told several interviewers he asked several interviewers to "back to the beginning of last year."

Asked what he would do differently without going back over history he said he wouldn't behave like Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan.

"You're telling me what you wouldn't do, not what you would do," Steve Price persisted.

Joe Hockey would spend wisely, not recklessly, and "exude confidence that we can get out of this".

He'll get a chance tomorrow (Thursday) night. The ABC had invited Treasurer Wayne Swan and his Shadow Julie Bishop to take part in this week's Q&A live forum. Hockey has agreed to step in in her place.

Q&A: 9.30 pm Thursday