PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11812

Doorstop Interview - Admiralty House, Sydney

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: 14/02/2001

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 11812

Subjects: Mal Brough; untimed local calls; Kiwi dole.

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

Can I just say before you ask me any questions that I am delighted to have Mr Brough now sworn in as a Minister. He's impressed me since he came into the Parliament in 1996. And I think he'll do an excellent job. He did a very good job as Parliamentary Secretary and I think he'll be an excellent junior minister to Tony Abbott as Minister for Employment Services.

JOURNALIST:

How important to you was it that he was sworn in before the Queensland election this weekend?

PRIME MINISTER:

It was important to me that once he was given a clean bill of health by the police etc that he be sworn in immediately. There was no particular relevance to the Queensland election. I chose him because I thought he'd do a good job. He did the right thing in asking not to be sworn in until matters concerning his former staff and to the extent they might relate to him were dealt with. That's happened. And the right thing and the fair thing was to swear him in without any delay after he'd been given a clearance.

JOURNALIST:

Untimed local calls for the bush, is that just a sweetener ahead of total privatisation?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, it's something that we've promised to do for a long time. This has been made possible through the second sale of part of Telstra. It was opposed by the Labor Party. The Labor Party opposed untimed local calls in remote Australia. As far as privatisation is concerned our policy is we will not proceed to full privatisation until we are satisfied that arrangements exist to deliver full and adequate services to the bush. We are not so satisfied as yet, therefore the immediate priority is to get more services still into the bush. And in those circumstances we're not contemplating introducing any legislation for full privatisation in the near future.

JOURNALIST:

What are you planning to do with the billion dollars you'll probably save from not paying the dole to Kiwis?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, that is over a long period of time but if it comes to fruition I'm going to New Zealand in two weeks time - there have been very constructive discussions and there will be savings and benefits for both Australia and New Zealand. I want to thank Helen Clark and her Government for the very constructive approach they've adopted but until we've actually signed an arrangement and formally announced it it's a little premature to be talking about savings.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 11812