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Transcript 12487

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, CAIRNS

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: 13/08/2002

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 12487

Subjects: Iraq; Great Barrier Reef.

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

JOURNALIST:
This morning Prime Minister, Alexander Downer said that Simon Crean [inaudible] on Iraq that he [inaudible] is talking like Saddam Hussein. The Opposition Leader has claimed that's a slur on his character…[inaudible].
PRIME MINISTER:
Well I haven';t seen the transcript, but look lets get one thing straight. The Foreign Minister has been verballed from the very beginning on this issue by the Opposition Leader. The Foreign Minister at no stage has gone out in front of the United States. He was clearly, as I understand it, making a reference to the remarks of the Iraqi charges. And we';re not casting any aspersions on Mr Crean';s character. We';re just asking him not to misrepresent the Government';s position.
JOURNALIST:
[Inaudible] The Opposition Leader';s [inaudible] adopting a language of the Iraqi representative…
PRIME MINISTER:
I think what the Opposition Leader is doing is trying to misrepresent the Government';s position. Our position is that we want the Australian public to be aware of the possibility, indeed as I put it on the balance of probabilities, that the Americans will get involved in some action against Iraq. And if that were to occur, there could well be a request from the Americans to Australia for assistance. I haven';t made any decision, no decision at all. We haven';t been asked. And it is quite unhelpful and against the country';s interests for the Leader of the Opposition to be running around saying that we';re running ahead of the Americans.
JOURNALIST:
Prime Minister, overnight the Afghan Foreign Minister has asked whether Australia would consider treating Afghani asylum seekers in Australia like the Kosovars getting them special visas until they can return home safely. Do you have any sympathy for an approach like that?
PRIME MINISTER:
Well I';ve not heard about it, Jim. What you just put to me is the first I';ve heard of that. So I won';t even try and comment, except to make the obvious observation that we think the policy that we';re following at the present time is correct.
JOURNALIST:
[Inaudible]
PRIME MINISTER:
A verdict on Qantas, well that';s a matter for Mr Anderson to say something about.
JOURNALIST:
[Inaudible]
PRIME MINISTER:
Well if he hasn';t, well you don';t need to ask me the question, do you?
JOURNALIST:
Did you discuss the issue with any details [inaudible]?
PRIME MINISTER:
[Inaudible] said something about…
JOURNALIST:
Ruled it out?
PRIME MINISTER:
Yes, Mr Anderson has dealt with that.
JOURNALIST:
There';s been a joint [inaudible] between the Federal Government and the States about the recent…
PRIME MINISTER:
I';m sorry, I can';t hear you.
JOURNALIST:
It regards to the reef…
PRIME MINISTER:
Oh yes. The Queensland Premier and I have signed a memorandum of understanding about the protection of the reef from land based pollution, land source pollution. And we';re going to develop by the end of the year a reef management plan. And this is an excellent example of cooperation between Commonwealth and State Governments. The sort of thing that the Australia public wants, to protect a very valuable national asset.
JOURNALIST:
Prime Minister, business confidence survey this morning suggests that the economy';s still going along very strongly and also suggesting that perhaps markets may have seen the worst of the impact of the US [inaudible]. Do you think that that';s probably a fair assessment?
PRIME MINISTER:
I think it';s too early to make that judgement. The economy is going very well, extremely well given the international circumstances. But it';s too early to say that there are not going to be any ripple or flow on effects from has and is occurring in the United States. But I welcome that survey. It shows that we are performing very strongly, but we can';t ignore and be totally insulated from what is happening in other parts of the world. Thank you.
[ends]

Transcript 12487