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Transcript 8034

TRANSCRIPT OF NEWS CONFERENCE, 'MONTSALVAT' MELBOURNE 14 JUNE 1990

Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/06/1990

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 8034

PRIME MINISTER
TRANSCRIPT OF NEWS COFRNE ' MONTSALVAT', MELBOUNE
14 JUNE 1990
E 0 E PROOF ONLY
JOURNALIST: Will you be making any attempt to..
Senator Graham Richardson to stay in politics after 1993?
PM: Well, I'd certainly like to see Graham staying as
long as possible. He's brought a very unique quality I
think. He came in with the reputation, deservedly, of a
good hard numbers man, and a commitment to winning power
for the Party in New South Wales and federally. That
was the image that he brought and it was a justified one.
But he's also, since he's been in the Federal Parliament,
shown a great commitment to environmental issues which
surprised many people but it's an absolutely foundational
commitment he has. And I think not only the Government,
but the people of Australia, owe him a great debt for the
way in which he has, I think, helped to shape political
thinking in this area. I hope that he stays around for
some time.
JOURNALIST: Do you think he wants another job?
PM: No, no. I was with him last night. We had a yarn
as we often do and he's enjoying the job he's got.
JOURNALIST: Would you consider offering him another
portfolio at some point
PM: We've just had an election, just had an election and
we have just established a portfolio structure. That's
only two months ago. You don't establish a portfolio
structure two months ago and then start thinking about a
reshuffle. JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, can you clarify finally the
position of the Chinese students?
PM: Now, look, I've got very little more to say on this.
I've made it quite clear that as far as these students
are concerned this country, as you would expect of
Australia, will be making particular arrangements to
ensure the proper welfare and protection of these people.
And when I said that at the beginning, that there'd be a
particular category, special category, people then wrote
all sorts of things into that. I repeat that I and my

Government will be making sure that these people get the
appropriate protection and consideration their
circumstances deserve. I've said that from the
beginning. I think it's appropriate that we, right now,
because as I've said at the beginning, there are
particulars about this that have to be considered and
determined by the Cabinet. That'll be done in the week
after next. But the students themselves can rest assured
that their interests will be fully protected. There
won't be any question of people being returned against
their will, this category of people who came here before
the Tienanmen Square. Their interests and the interests
of this country will be properly protected. But as I've
said, there are details in this special categorisation
that have to be considered by the Cabinet and there could
be some areas of that in which there may be a slight
difference of opinion. But the basic principles that I
have alluded to will be followed and I'll have that
considered by the Cabinet the week after next.
JOURNALIST: Will those pre-Tienanmen Square be forced to
return at any stage at all?
PM: I've just indicated that it's my belief that no-one
in that category will be forced to return against their
will. Now the details of this whole matter, as I say,
require some consideration and I don't think it's in
anyone's interests now to, having spelt out those
principles, those people can rest safe and content. This
country will certainly do no less, no less than is being
done in major countries like the United States and
Canada. And as I say, there are certain details about
this that will need to be considered by Cabinet and it's
not appropriate that there be any more canvassing of this
now that I've spelt those broad principles out.
JOURNALIST: On the Cambodian refugee question, are you
concerned by the statements of one of the Indonesian
Ministers that they seem to be actively encouraging boat
people to come to this country?
PM: I think you'll appreciate that in these matters it's
best that our relations with both Indonesia and, for that
matter, Cambodia be conducted directly between them and
not by the public media.
JOURNALIST: Have you had any clarification on those
remarks by Admiral Sudomo though?
PM: No, I haven't had any clarification or explanation.
I've seen the remarks, but in matters like this you
conduct these relations between the two governments and
the appropriate levels of ministers. That will be done.
JOURNALIST: Has there been a lack of effective
communication on this issue though, in that relationship?
PM: No.

JOURNALIST: Are you aware of any scheme that's being
investigated to smuggle these boat people into other
countries, including Australia?
PM: No, not of smuggling. We're aware, as I've said
before, that as far as the situation in Cambodia is
concerned there is an organised scheme obviously underway
there. That's part of the reason why I've made the
remarks that I've had to make before that there mustn't
be some assumption that Australia is simply going to
stand idly by and allow our immigration policy, and our
autonomous right to determine our immigration policy, in
fact be determined outside this country.
JOURNALIST: Is that one of the reasons why you adopted
such a tough line on that issue?
PM: It's not a tough line, it's not a different line.
It's a position which any Prime Minister of Australia
would and should adopt. That is that we have the great
advantage that we speak from a position of the most
compassionate record of any government in the world. We
have taken, on a per capita basis, more refugees from
Indo China than any other country. Now that has been
done under a specific program where we allocate a
category of our total immigration intake for refugees and
we speak from a position of strength. Having ensured
that we've done that in the past and that we'll continue
to play our part in the future in settling refugees,
we're not, as I say, going to have a situation where
people imagine that they can just determine our
immigration content simply by getting in boats and coming
here. At no point have I indicated, nor would I, that if
people actually arrive here, that they're not going to
have open to them the actual processes of the law that
are available to them. I've made that clear.
JOURNALIST: Why aren't you going to the ALP State
Conference this weekend in Victoria?
PM: Well, look I've been Prime Minister now since the
beginning of ' 83. At the best count that I can recall, I
would have been there two or three times in that period.
It's not a regular feature on my calendar.
JOURNALIST: It doesn't have anything to do with the
current situation with the Victorian Government
PM: Well, I have not been there when the ALP was riding
very, very high in the polls here, both the Government
and the Premier. So it really is a continuation of the
fact over seven years it hasn't been a regular event in
my diary. We're going through a poor news period are we?
I mean we've really got to dredge up a story somewhere.
Isn't anything happening anywhere?

JOURNALIST: The Multi-Function Polis is going to be
decided in the next 48 hours or so. Have you got a
preference PM: No wait a Multi-Function Polis is about to be
decided in the next 48 hours-
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible)
PM: Yes. The recommendation will be made to the
Government within a very short period, this week.
JOURNALIST: Do you have a personal preference?
PM: Just let me answer the question. That
recommendation will be made and we will have a look at
that recommendation. Because we will have had the
experts looking at it in detail and obviously whatever
they recommend will carry a very very great deal of
weight. But just so that there'll be a clear
understanding of the processes, that's the first step.
That's the Australian part of the committee making that
recommendation to us. Then at some time within the next
couple of months, I think probably during July, we'll get
then a report from the combined committee, that is the
Japanese-Australian committee. They will then be setting
out their assessment of the pros and cons, the potential
of the Multi-Function Polis concept. Cabinet then will
be making its decision.
JOURNALIST: Do you have a preference for a site?
PM: No I don't actually. I think it's very good sense
in Government when you have the responsibility of
Government to utilise experts from Government and from
the private sector to advise you on matters like that.
That's precisely what we'll be doing. These are people
of competence and commitment and they will, I believe,
have taken everything that's relevant to be taken into
account. So I approach it with a totally open mind. I
say that I will prima facie be inclined to accept their
recommendation. JOURNALIST: Is it going to become a political liability
at all?
PM: Is what going to become a political-
JOURNALIST: The issue itself.
PM: No. I wouldn't have thought so.
JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, on foreign ownership, is the
Government prepared to legislate about 20% foreign
ownership of Australian newspapers?
PM: No, there is no proposal on our plate about that.
I've simply indicated that if Ministers involved were

wanting to bring something up for consideration by
Government, it would be done. But as far as I know there
is no such proposal.
JOURNALIST: Chairman of the Caucus Committee has
said that Caucus would look favourably at such a
proposal. PM: Mr O'Keefe said a number of things on this. Nothing
that he has said is inconsistent with what I've just put.
ends

Transcript 8034