PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22837

Doorstop Interview - Dunavant Enterprises Office

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: 14/06/2000

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 22837

Subjects: Solomon Islands; business survey, reconciliation and Moree, farm subsidies

E&OE ……………………………………………………………………………………

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, the Solomons are again asking for Australian peacekeepers to come in to help with their situation there. Have you given any more thought to that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look our position is we want to see the dispute in the Solomon Islands resolved by the people of the Solomon Islands. It’s the overwhelming view of the countries of the Pacific region that this issue should be resolved without the intervention of foreign forces. We want a democratic solution. The Parliament is meeting tomorrow and we hope that that democratic solution emerges from that meeting.

JOURNALIST:

In terms of the survey which suggests that business confidence is fairly low at the moment in the introduction of the GST are you looking at anyway to try to boost that in the interim or are you just going to wait and see what happens after July 1st?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I think the Australian economy is still very strong and I believe that the GST will be introduced. The New Tax System will come in and there won’t be any medium or long term interruption to business activity or business confidence. The sooner the new system comes the better and I believe people will find on the first of July and the days that follow that much of the doomsaying that has been around has been misplaced, that the negative destructive backward looking campaign of the Labor Party has been designed to score political points and not advance the national interest.

JOURNALIST:

So that report doesn’t concern you at all?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, not in the longer term and it obviously doesn’t concern the business community either because the head of the ACCI has dismissed it. You have to expect with such an enormous change that there is going to be some nervousness but I’d say to the people of Australia that this Government has had the courage to bring in a change that is for the good of Australia and it’s inevitable you go through some nervousness but in the medium to longer term Australia will be a better and a stronger country economically because of the change. Governments have got to have the courage to embrace change for the national good and those who try and tear that down like the Labor Party are not helping the national interest.

JOURNALIST:

Just looking locally at Moree, with what you have seen locally over the last 24 hours could Moree be used as a blueprint for reconciliation for the whole country?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it is a wonderful example of practical reconciliation. I mean the people of Moree have had to come to terms with difficulties between different races and they have overcome those difficulties in a very practical way and this is what I mean when I talk about practical reconciliation. It is easy to make speeches and utter fine words but the real test is your willingness as a community to bring people together, to give people hope and opportunity and that’s what has happened here in Moree and I give full credit to all of the people of Moree, the cotton industry, the Aboriginal people and all the other citizens of this town for the example they have set and for the good they have done.

JOURNALIST:

Will you return again?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well Australia is a big country and I try to get everywhere. I can’t guarantee a quick return but I think I am the first Prime Minister to pay a serious visit to this place for quite a long period of years.

JOURNALIST:

The world is not a level playing field at the moment Prime Minister, will farm subsidies be increased for primary agricultural industries in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I have never argued that the world is a level playing field, but I can promise the farmers of Australia is that we’ll follow policies like lower interest rates. When our opponents were in office interest rates were 23% - they’re now less than half that. They’re the sort of things that in the long run will do more to help the farmers of Australia than anything else.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, do you want to comment on fuel excise in Queensland has been dropped. Have you read that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I am sorry I haven’t caught up with that.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 22837