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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 8081


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: 13/08/1990

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 8081

JONES: Prime Minister, good morning.
PM: Morning Alan.
JONES: I suppose we should say something about the
reason you are a bit late heading of f, what a colossal
victory by Wayne Grady?
PM: Yes. Well that was another golf conflict wasn't it.
I mean it was one where this time that Australian Wayne
Grady was fighting against the Americans and he displayed
a lot of character and I thought the manner of his
victory was just superb. He was very modest in victory
and acknowledged that he got some good breaks, the others
didn't quite get the same, but a lot of character and I'm
glad you mentioned the nature of the bloke himself too.
He's a lovely man and as you say has had some personal
and family difficulties, but he's a great credit to
Australia. JONES: Yes he is. Prime Minister onto the Middle East.
What is your latest intelligence as the Australian Prime
Minister on the Middle East position, as we speak.
PM: Well it's no reason still for great optimism. The
most encouraging development of course in the recent
twenty four hours or so I believe Alan is the decision by
the great majority of the Arab States to come in along
side the rest of the world in providing forces and their
support for opposition to the Iraqis. That removes any
possibility for Suddam Hussain to misrepresent the
position in the Gulf as one where its the American
imperialists and their few friend attacking an Arab
leader. That's gone now with that decision and I think
that's the most important development.
JONES: Yes, the forces, the combined international
forces seem to have Iraq surrounded, but of course he now
has all these insurance policies by way of citizens of
the West in Iraq. That really loads the dice fairly
heavily against some people doesn't it?

PM: Yes, we can't deny it, it would be stupid, it would
be dishonest to deny that there is considerable risk
involved in that situation. And of course there are a
number of Australians involved. I think the world has
taken the view however that this man must not be allowed
to get away with this aggression and annexation because
once before in this century we have seen the price of
appeasement and it is a terrible and unacceptable price.
JONES: Yes, if I could just inject perhaps a negative
note into you decision and I don't think either of us
would be critical of someone like Tom Uren who's a very
idealistical man in many ways. I just thought that even
he argued against the going, nonetheless, I thought made
some point of merit when he said it's alright for
politicians to beat the band and answer telephone calls
from their mates, but there's very little compassion for
the veterans when they come back. Do you think we look
after our veterans enough. Any government, your
Government, the Fraser government, the governments before
that? PM: I don't think you can ever do too much. But all I
can say is that I take an enormous amount of pride in the
statements of Sir William Keys who as the leader of the
RSL with whom I've worked for the great majority of my
time as Prime Minister and he's been unequivocal in his
comments about what we've done and I'm not in that
respect trying to score points about that. Because with
what we've done there hasn't been any opposition at the
political level to it. So you can always I guess do
more, but
( transmission break)
JONES: I think we might.... Are you there... You there
Prime Minister. I know he's most probably gone into a
ditch. He's actually driving to Garden Island. We'll
just check, I think we might have lost that line.... it
does appear as if we have. We might just come back. I
just wanted to ask the Prime Minister if we can just get
him back, and we just might be able to do that, what
exactly he's going to say to the troops. So it's an
important day, HMAS Adelaide, HMAS Darwin heading off to
that enormously difficult trouble spot in the Middle East
and as he said you can't deny the fact that there are
Australians at risk there and you are dealing with a man
who must be stopped. He said the previous price of
appeasement was a world war and now this man is
encircled. The Iraqi leader, President Hussain. We'll
just take a break and see if we can get the Prime Minster
back. He is in his
JONES: Can I just ask you say, before without
anticipating anything your going to say today, but what
message are you going to deliver to the Australian men?

PM: It's very brief. It's not an occasion for a long
speech or high flying rhetoric, it's a sincere statement
on behalf the people of Australia, of the importance
first of all, of the mission they are about and the
confidence we have in them. As I will be saying they are
the heirs to a great tradition and we know that they will
discharge their important responsibilities in a manner
which will give pride to Australia.
JONES: Difficult decision for a Prime Minister isn't it,
sending young Australians into a battle field miles away
from home?
PM: Not easy and it's one that I spent a lot of time
thinking about and consulting about. But in the end I
had not doubt at all as to what the right decision was.
JONES: From your discussions with George Bush and others
what does your instinct and judgement after all that's
about all you've got to rely on in this what does you
instinct and judgement tell you, that it's going to be a
long drawn out process. Or that there might be some
solution to it more go on instinct and judgement in this case
because if you are relying solely on rational
considerations you could in fact come to a conclusion as
to what the most likely outcome was. But clearly in this
case we are not simply dealing with a leader who acts
entirely rationally and therefore it's very very
difficult to come to a conclusion. On all the evidence
of how it's accumulating you should say that it should
not take very long.
JONES: Once Syria and Turkey sort of made the move that
they made, he must surely come to the realisation that
he's lost all support of that kind. On the other hand
he's trying to mobilise the Arab people against that
international decision, that in the past in certain parts
of the Middle East has proved to be
PM: Yes, though what we must remember is that there are
a lot of subordinate people from the Arab countries,
including...... ( lost transmission) and your going
to have permeating through these Arab countries in the
Middle East a lot of people who can speak with first hand
knowledge of the nature of that regime.
JONES; Sure. Good to talk with you and thank you for
your time.
PM: Thank you very much indeed Alan.

Transcript 8081