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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11836

Interview on Radio 2HD, Newcastle

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: 16/05/2001

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 11836

Subjects: Newcastle trip; fund raising for cancer treatment; John Fahey; election timing

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

GRANT:

Good morning Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning, how are you?

GRANT:

We're all well thanks. How are you today?

PRIME MINISTER:

Pretty good and looking forward to my visit to the Hunter later in the day.

BENNETT:

That sounds great. Good morning Prime Minister, it's Carina.

PRIME MINISTER:

Carina, how are you?

BENNETT:

Good. I am just wondering. Have you had your walk this morning?

PRIME MINISTER:

I was meant to talk to you a quarter of an hour ago, but I was a bit late getting back from the walk. I have had my walk and it's a beautiful late autumn morning here in Canberra. Absolutely stunning.

BENNETT:

We had a gorgeous sunrise too up here in Newcastle.

PRIME MINISTER:

I wouldn't be able to kick the day off without a regular walk. It just makes an enormous amount of difference, allowing you to think very clearly about what you want to do and say during the day. Always handy for somebody in my position, indeed for everybody.

HARRAGON:

That's for sure. Now Mr Howard Paul Harragon here. You're coming to Newcastle, which is wonderful, you're going to help raise money for the John Hunter Children's Hospital.

PRIME MINISTER:

That's indeed one of the major things on the agenda. We're having a huge dinner in Newcastle tonight and the purpose of that is to raise money for the John Hunter Hospital. It's one of those non-party political occasions where everybody in the community comes together and it's under the theme of 'Help Us Help Our Kids'. And the fundraising function is going to be used to purchase a blood irradiator and MR machines, equipment required in the treatment of paediatric oncology for cancer for children. And I know it's something that touches everybody's heart very much, whether you're affected by it or not. And it's going to get a great deal of support from the local community, the Lord Mayor, the local newspapers and a lot of very prominent businessmen and women have really got behind this occasion.

HARRAGON:

[inaudible] good for you to come up because I know that you've got Budget night coming up soon and all the rest of it. But the question is do you, apart from going for walks, how do you relax? How do you get a balance in life because you are so busy, you're our national leader. How do you, is that kind of .

PRIME MINISTER:

Well regular exercise, I watch television, I watch football and all sorts of other things on television when I've got a moment. But I do find that having exercise every day on a regular basis no matter where I am, that makes an enormous difference. And if I can't for reasons of rain or some dawn commitment, can't do it, then I do notice a difference. I think regular exercise, sensible and appropriate for the age of the person involved, for me that's a very fast walk, I think all of that does make an enormous difference and it helps to keep your equilibrium. Otherwise I don't think I'd be able to get through the day as effectively as I do.

BENNETT:

Luke and I are up very early in the morning Prime Minister and we do a brisk walk, but it's generally just for the coffee machine and back again.

GRANT:

I don't know what she's talking about.

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes. Well you've probably got sort of plenty of years on your side too so that perhaps makes a difference.

GRANT:

You just mentioned football. I mean obviously as we know you're patron of the Dragons, [inaudible] obviously we're huge Knights supporters up here and .

PRIME MINISTER:

You surprise me.

GRANT:

Oh yes well with the Chief in the studio you understand I wouldn't go for any other team other than the Knights..

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes.

GRANT:

.but I was just wondering, do you get much of a chance to talk to the players one-on-one? Do they have your ear as such?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh occasionally I mean you might have seen on The Footy Show I had that time with Trent Barrett and Wayne Pearce and it was great, that was a very relaxed encounter. We went out walking and then saw a bit of each other during the day. When I do go and watch a match and I'm afraid I can't get there every Saturday, I am usually getting around the country, but I do have the opportunity to do that and of course I also have an interest in, although I've grown up in nominally rugby league and rugby union, I follow the AFL and had great fun at the Centenary Match between Collingwood and Carlton the week before last, at the beginning of all the celebrations in Melbourne. And one of the good things that's happened about football in Australia over the last, I think ten years, is that it's become a bit more Australia-wide. I mean people in other states, other than New South Wales and Queensland now with a bit more interest now in rugby league and of course in New South Wales and Queensland AFL has got strong support. I think that's a good thing. I think some of the old sort of, parochial rivalries in relation to the type of football you play have disappeared.

HARRIGAN:

That's right. You mentioned New South Wales and Queensland, did you get a chance to have a look at the State of Origin?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I certainly had an opportunity of looking at it on television. I couldn't get to the game, I hope to get to one of the other matches in the series. Yes, well it was quite an overwhelming result and they played extremely well.

GRANT:

Now hang on Prime Minister, we're not going to leave you to Queensland here, but as a Blues' supporter I am sure you are.

PRIME MINISTER:

No I am not. I'm .

GRANT:

[inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER:

No I am not a . I've got to tell you when it comes to State of Origin I don't take sides. I don't. I take sides in relation to my club.

GRANT:

Right.

PRIME MINISTER:

A very passionate thing and of course I madly barrack for Australia whenever they're playing, as the Kangaroos or as the Wallabies. But State of Origin's a bit more . I'm a little equivocal on State of Origin.

GRANT:

Okay. There's a couple of other things in the news. First off, we all remember images of John Fahey when he jumped for joy when we won the Olympic Games, or the right to host them. And of course yesterday he announced he's about to retire following doctor's advice. Many of us will remember him for jumping for joy, but how do you remember John Fahey?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I certainly remember him for being a very good mate and a very good colleague. But I still see him as that, I mean we all hope he's got years of vigorous life in him. He's had a tough fight, he's had cancer, he's had a lung removed. I mean that is a shattering experience for anybody and he's taken the decision to retire at the next election. We all understand that. We'll be sorry that he's gone. He has been and continues to be a very good Finance Minister. Probably his most famous picture is jumping for joy. It's one of the great political pictures of the last twenty years and it was a great achievement, he led the government that got the games to Sydney and of course those games turned out to be an absolute triumph not only for the city of Sydney but most importantly for the whole of Australia. He'll leave politics when the election is held later this year. He'll leave politics with the good wishes of all of his colleagues and we do hope that he has good health and happiness with his family and whatever else he decides to do in the years ahead. He'll of course continue to follow rugby league which he's a great passionate follower of, the Bulldogs I think, very much so, they're a very great interest and he of course was no mean player in his own time of the game.

GRANT:

Now I've heard that [inaudible] asking the question, but it's front page of the Telegraph today - an election in early July?

PRIME MINISTER:

No. I don't know where that came from. There's been no change, my position is that I would want the election at the end of the three years that the Government has been in office. That's my current thinking and nothing has happened since I was last asked that question.

BENNETT:

Prime Minister I think the tough question of the day, you spent time with Trent Barrett and he did a day in the life of the prime minister - I was wondering what would you do if you had to do a day in the life of someone, that you weren't the pm, where would you go?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh I'd probably find some sporting thing to do.

BENNETT:

Yes?

PRIME MINISTER:

Yes, probably a day in the life of someone, perhaps a Steve Waugh or a footballer or you know, that's the sort of thing..

GRANT:

Prime Minister, we do appreciate your time. We look forward to seeing you here in Newcastle later today. Have an enjoyable trip and tonight we understand it will be the, if things go as planned, the biggest amount of money raised in one occasion for charity ever in the Hunter, ever. So we hope they can .

PRIME MINISTER:

Well that is fantastic and I am so pleased that the whole community will get together on it and that's what Australians are best at doing.

GRANT:

[inaudible] your attendance, so thanks very much.

PRIME MINISTER:

Okay.

GRANT:

And we'll see you tonight. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER:

Bye bye.

[Ends]

Transcript 11836