PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11843

Interview with Garth Russell and Steve Grahame, Radio NXFM, 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: 11843

Subjects: Election timing; visit to Newcastle

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

JOURNALIST:

Good morning, John.

PRIME MINISTER:

Good morning. Who's that, Garth or Steve?

JOURNALIST:

I'm Garth.

JOURNALIST:

And I'm Steve.

PRIME MINISTER:

G'day.

JOURNALIST:

Together, we're Garth and Steve.

JOURNALIST:

Now, Mr Howard, first of all, thanks. You're the first Prime Minister who has ever returned our call. And I'll give you the drum, we've made a few.

PRIME MINISTER:

You've made a few. You've always got an engaged signal, have you?

JOURNALIST:

Oh mate, Keating wouldn't give us the time of day. But, no, good to speak to you, thanks for that. Now, we're just going to ask you some light stuff to kick your day along but we're going to hit you with a hard hitting first up. Is there going to be an early election in June?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, there won't be. I don't know where all that came from. My current intention is to have an election after the Government's three years is up. That's my current intention. It's been so for some time. So I really don't know where all that came from.

JOURNALIST:

Well, now that we've given everyone a news grab for around the country we'll move on to the interview at hand.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well done.

JOURNALIST:

What are your plans while you're in Newcastle today, what have you come out for?

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm doing a number of things. The principle engagement is a big fundraiser tonight to raise money for paediatric oncology at the John Hunter Hospital. And there's a very large crowd coming to that. It's a completely bipartisan political occasion. The aim is to raise resources to install some new equipment in the paediatric oncology unit at the hospital. I'll also, while I'm in the Hunter, be doing a number of functions for the Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Paterson, Bob Baldwin, who was the member between 1996 and 1998. And I'll also be going to Maitland, to officially open the Maitland Federation Stadium. We contributed some resources to that out of the Federation Fund for a basketball facility and we're going to have a community morning tea there. And there are a number of other functions that I'll be attending. And I'll be seeing quite a bit of the Hunter and I'll be staying overnight and then going to the Central Coast on the way back to Sydney the following day.

JOURNALIST:

Now, just hearing that alone is what leads me to my next question. Do you get any time to yourself, getting on a comfy lounge after a day and watching a bit of tellie or anything like that? It sounds like you're just flat our constantly.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I am during the week and most of the weekends, although, I'm rather hoping to squeeze in a game of golf at the weekend. But most weekends I'm tearing around the country or doing different things but I always try and play golf every two or three.I try and play golf every two or three weeks. I find that a great relaxation. I also find it a great relaxation to go walking every morning. And it's great to go walking in Canberra at the moment. It's the late autumn and it's the best time of the year in Canberra, it does look very pretty.

JOURNALIST:

If you ever watch TV, is there any TV you ever watch? I mean, have you got a show that you.

PRIME MINISTER:

I watch sport on TV. I watch a lot of those British mystery shows, detective.Morse and the like, on the various channels. I have fairly eclectic television tastes but I don't get a lot of time to watch it.

JOURNALIST:

I take it you're not into Big Brother.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, time prevents me.

JOURNALIST:

I tell you, it would be a great script if we could get John Howard, the Prime Minister, to say, I hate Gordon. Because no one else does, Mr Howard, just to fill you in there.

JOURNALIST:

Roll tape on that one. That's what we're interested in, your spare time. Obviously you don't have it.

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't have an enormous amount. Look, I'm like any other person who's got an extraordinarily busy job. You devote most of your life to it and when I've got spare time I spend it with my wife. And my children are adults. We see each other when we can, which sometimes is frequently, sometimes is not so frequently because they lead their own busy lives. But we're, fortunately, touch wood, we're a close family and if I've got any spare time I'll try and spend it with them.

JOURNALIST:

Now that he's not the President you can spill the beans. What's Bill Clinton like?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh, he's a very amiable man to talk to. I don't have any beans to spill but he's an amiable, focussed person to talk to, has great people skills, works a crowd very well, does all of that. I thought he was a highly intelligent man. I disagreed with some of his policies. I guess I'm more philosophically aligned with the new President, President Bush, but I thought Clinton did a very good job. You have to look at the results. The American economy boomed under his Administration and you can't take that away from him.

JOURNALIST:

We noticed, Tony Blair, the British PM, obviously is in election campaign mode. He's got Geri Halliwell from the Spice Girls just to shore up some of the younger votes. Any thoughts of maybe doing the same with Kylie Minogue or.

PRIME MINISTER:

I haven't really thought about that yet. The election's still a while off. I think all political parties like to see themselves associated with popular figures but the public, in the end, even though they may like, in the case of the British scene, they may like the Spice Girls, it's not really going to influence their vote. I think people are very happy to enjoy entertainers. I think they are fascinated by the achievements of people and the entertainment skills of people like Kylie Minogue but they see them as entertainers and as celebrities. They don't really take political advice from them. I don't think they do. I think they see people for their particular skills and their particular capacities. And, over the years, different entertainers have had different political views in the United States and Britain, to some extent, and to some degree in Australia you tended to have an identification with some arts personalities with the Labor Party. It's not really made any difference to the outcome of elections in my view.

JOURNALIST:

Just for the listeners to get into your world for a moment - you're actually on the phone.you're in the Lodge now, is that right?

PRIME MINISTER:

I am in the Lodge, yes.

JOURNALIST:

Have a look around, what are you looking at?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, if I look out the window and there's a lot of autumn leaves on the ground and I'll be very busy when I get back tonight sweeping them up.

JOURNALIST:

We better let you go.

PRIME MINISTER:

You know, these autumn leaves really make a mess, don't they?

JOURNALIST:

Oh, they're shocking. You can sweep up the security guards while you're there. Great to talk to you and have a great day in the Hunter, it sounds like a busy one coming up.

PRIME MINISTER:

Okay.

JOURNALIST:

Good luck. You're heading out to the plane now.

PRIME MINISTER:

In about five minutes.

JOURNALIST:

We might play some music for you to go out to because we know you're in a bit of a rush. Bit of Benny Hill music to see you off. Thanks Mr Prime Minister.

[Ends]

Transcript 11843