Sydney Morning Herald - Thursday 19 May, 2005

Costa 'out-and-proud'


Author: Edited by Sacha Molitorisz and Ben Cubby


With debate mounting about four-wheel-drive safety, Spike asked the Roads Minister, Michael Costa, and the Pedestrian Council's Harold Scruby what cars they drive. On Tuesday, Costa rejected recommendations by the coroner Jacqueline Milledge, including that 4WD owners obtain special licences; Scruby welcomed them.


Intriguingly, Scruby drives a 4WD. Well, technically.


"It's an all-wheel drive," he says. "It's a Subaru Outback station wagon." It's very safe, he says, for passengers and pedestrians. "It's soft-ended and rounded."


Costa, a man renowned for his crash-through-or-crash style, drives a larger 4WD - a Toyota Prado. "He's an out-and-proud 4WDer," says his spokesman, Matthew Jones, scoffing at suggestions it was a conflict of interest for a Prado owner to judge the safety of 4WDs. "You could say he's someone very well placed to be aware of their capabilities and risks."


Asked whether Costa's 4WD had a bullbar, Jones said he didn't know, and was too busy to find out. Does Scruby have a bullbar? "No, I'm not a bull bastard," he says, adding he can't understand why anyone working in State Parliament could need one. "There hasn't been a bull sighted in Macquarie Street for more than a century. Just a lot of bullshit."

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