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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22069

Doorstop Interview National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

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: 07/12/2005

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 22069

PRIME MINISTER:

Right, you all okay? Any questions?

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister this building is being opened I am told in 18 months time, will you officiate it?

PRIME MINISTER:

I thought you... Look I am sure that the Prime Minister of Australia will open it.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, last night the anti-terrorism legislation got through and also we've had Welfare-to-Work, what is your sense of momentum to the government at the end of the year (inaudible)?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the Government is doing what it was elected to do and that is govern for the future of Australia. All of these measures are about expanding and protecting Australia's future. The counter-terrorism legislation is absolutely essential, absolutely essential to fully protect Australia against the threat of terrorism. The Welfare-to-Work measures are a decisive declaration by the people of Australia that it's better to have a job than to be on welfare and that's the philosophy of the legislation.

JOURNALIST:

And the VSU?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the VSU legislation is being considered and we consider these things and we'll just see what emerges.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think that will get through the parliament before the parliamentary break Prime Minister?

PRIME MINISTER:

We continue to deal with the matter and I am hopeful that the matter will be satisfactorily resolved before Christmas.

JOURNALIST:

Did you see the Financial Review said this morning that the Tax Office didn't follow normal protocol with the Gerard matter?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh look the Gerard matter has been fully debated, the man has resigned, as the Treasurer has pointed out, he was appointed after the normal processes were followed, the Treasurer was not aware and could not have been expected to be aware of the matters that subsequently emerged and I think the Australian public is moving on from that issue.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, do you and the Treasurer have a sham marriage?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think both of us are very happily married, Peter to Tanya and me to Janette. We have been a great team and we continue to be a great team. Peter has been a great Treasurer and we have worked together very closely and in relation to this most recent issue, the suggestion that in some way people were behaving antagonistically to each other is completely wrong. I suggest you read Laurie Oakes' excellent analysis in The Bulletin this morning.

JOURNALIST:

The AWB controversy, do you think there is a need to widen the scope of the inquiry?

PRIME MINISTER:

No there isn't because what we are doing is inquiring into the matters revealed by the Volcker Committee, it would be the job of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to help the AWB in its normal business. When Australian agencies and companies are operating overseas part of the responsibility of DFAT is to help them and if the allegation is that DFAT was helping AWB sell wheat, good on them, that's its job, and I will always support departments promoting and assisting the legitimate business activities of Australian agencies and Australian companies. One more question.

JOURNALIST:

Barnaby Joyce said this morning, he's prepared to cross the floor over VSU...

PRIME MINISTER:

Look I don't give commentaries on those matters.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, $74 million for an art gallery, it's a lot of money. You don't think it's too much money?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't think it is, I think this is a beautiful spot, it's a wonderful design and the National Portrait Gallery has been going for only a few years and it has been a wonderful vehicle through pictures and paintings and reproductions to tell the Australian story in all its richness and all its variety, I think it's a wonderful addition to the parliamentary triangle and to the national capital and the patronage of this gallery will more than justify the investment in it. Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 22069