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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 20838

Doorstop Interview, Darwin

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: 05/08/2003

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 20838

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible] the issue of gay marriages fairly outspoken this morning. Where did those opinions come from? Why do you reject…?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, this is not in any way an attack on gay people, quite the reverse. But it's just a strong statement in support of the central role of traditional marriage in our society. Traditional marriage is one of the bedrock institutions of our society and I don't want anything to occur that further weakens it. Marriage, as we understand it in our society, is about children, having children, raising them, providing for the survival of the species and I think if the same status is given in our society to gay unions as are given to traditional marriage we will weaken that bedrock institution, that's why I've expressed the views I have.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, there are reports this morning that the Government's going to phase out the F1-11s earlier than expected. Is that true and will that leave a gap in our defence?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it hasn't come before me. I think you should pursue it with the Defence Minister. I can just make this…. or give this assurance, we won't be doing anything that leaves a gap.

JOURNALIST:

Is Australia's national security at risk if American military forces are allowed to use Australian bases?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, where has all this come from?

JOURNALIST:

Well, there's reports that the Government may be considering…

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, we haven't been approached by the Americans for any basing arrangements, we haven't. And if we were approached then we would give thought to that and work out whether it was in Australia's interests. It's obviously in Australia's security interest to have a close defence alliance with the United States and that defence alliance makes Australia safer, it doesn't make Australia more vulnerable and more dangerous.

JOURNALIST:

Could you rule out the territory being…?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don't rule anything out because there's nothing to rule in or out. We haven't been approached, so I'm not going to start running around ruling places in or out. Obviously, if we were asked by the Americans we'd talk to them about it, then we'd take a decision that was in our national interest.

JOURNALIST:

You must be happy that many Australians appear to be happy with our intervention in the Solomons, poll …

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I'm not surprised at that poll. I found as I went around the country that people were saying it was the right decision. Australians know that the Pacific is our patch, that we have responsibilities, that if states fail then that's bad news for Australia because they become havens for international criminals and money launderers and even perhaps terrorists.

JOURNALIST:

Are you happy with the way thing have gone in the Solomons so far?

PRIME MINISTER:

So far, but I want Australians to understand that it is still a dangerous mission and we must keep our fingers crossed that none of our men or women are in any way affected.

JOURNALIST:

Have you heard of talk that Malcolm Turnbull is apparently considering a New South Wales Senate seat?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I read a story in the paper this morning. We have two very good Liberal Senators from New South Wales in Bill Heffernan and John Tierney.

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript 20838