In this Conversation, John is joined by former cabinet colleague Peter Costello. Alongside John, Peter was an integral member of the Howard government, serving as Treasurer between 1996 and 2007. No Treasurer in Australia's history has held the position longer than he. They discuss the economic situation in which Australia finds itself in 2023, with a fast-growing national debt, an appetite for easy fiscal stimulus, high inflation and ballooning costs of living. Peter and John also consider how Australia's Covid response will be seen with hindsight, the growing role of the state in Australian lives, our hyper-emotional public square, the diminishing of Australia's achievements and history and how we can deal with the atomising effects of social media. The Hon Peter Costello AC served as the Federal Member for Higgins for seven consecutive terms. He was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from May 1994 to November 2007, and was Treasurer from March 1996 to December 2007. He brought down twelve consecutive Federal Budgets, including ten surpluses, and eliminated Commonwealth Government debt in net terms. He has served in various senior governance roles including as Chairman of the Independent Advisory Board to the World Bank, Chairman of the Australian Future Fund and Chairman of Nine Entertainment Co. He is a highly respected commentator on social and economic issues. Prior to his political career, he worked as a solicitor and barrister at leading firms in Melbourne.
00:45 Introducing Peter Costello
02:10 The story of 2007 - 2023
07:08 Social media and social disconnection
09:00 A positive story of Australia
13:55 The role of the state
18:04 How young people can get on the economic ladder
22:13 Stimulus, debt and balancing the budget
28:45 Australia's heavy-handed covid response
37:44 Education & 'emotionalism'
42:55 Disengagement and the public square
46:46 Inflation - who's responsible?
50:15 Net-zero ambitions
55:00 The Greens
58:33 Ukraine & AUKUS