PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22933

Doorstop Interview, Sydney

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: 10/11/2000

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 22933

Subject(s): US presidental election; 25th anniversay of dismissal of Whitlam Government, Remembrance Day; Australian dollar

E&OE……………………………………………………………………………………

JOURNALIST:

With the US election campaign looking ever so close. How would you feel if you were in that position?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’d be nervous. I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s fascinating. There’s no crisis though. They still have a President, his name’s William Jefferson Clinton until January. So all this talk about stalemate and suspension and everything, it’s just the normal democratic process. Sometimes votes are close. We had an election here in 1961 which was remarkably close and it’s just a function of the democratic system. But isn’t it fantastic, the largest democracy in the world, the outcome of an election is being determined in a transparent, free, democratic fashion. I think that’s a testament to the strength of democracy rather than a criticism of the process.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think the fact it’s so drawn out, will it have any impact on trade in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER:

No. I don’t think it will have any adverse effect at all. I think it’s just a reminder that in a democracy you can have landslides, you can have close results, you can have ultra close results, and you can have complete cliffhangers. And this falls into the last category. But for students of politics like myself it’s quite fascinating. I obviously feel for the two candidates but then I’ve sort of been through a few tense moments in political life myself and it’s all part of the game.

JOURNALIST:

As far as constitutional crises go, we have an anniversary of one of our own. Have you got thoughts on the 25th anniversary of Whitlam being dismissed in office?

PRIME MINISTER:

No except that the matter was resolved as it should be in a democracy through the ballot box. It’s always been my lasting take out of November 11th 1975. In the end the Australian people resolved something that the political leaders of the time could not resolve. The only other observation I would make is that I think the opprobrium that was heaped on the shoulders of the late Governor General was always quite unfair. It was essentially a political deadlock which was resolved by him transmitting it to the Australian people for decision and in a democracy the Australian people always decide in the end. We don’t decide, the people decide and that is how it should be in a democracy.

JOURNALIST:

Just on Remembrance Day, being tomorrow morning, perhaps your thoughts as Prime Minister on that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well it’s always a time, along of course with ANZAC Day, to remember the huge debt that we owe to those more than 100,000 Australians who died defending this country and defending the things that we believe in. And our debt to them is as strong today as it has ever been over the last century and I think it is an occasion for all Australians to pause and reflect on what we owe to those brave men and women who gave everything to give us what we now have.

JOURNALIST:

Are you confident the Australian dollar will bounce back like Mr Macfarlane said?

PRIME MINISTER:

I thought everything Mr Macfarlane said was absolutely spot on. I endorse it 100%. I thought it was a very good speech and I thought the point he made about technology, which I emphasised in my own remarks earlier today, was absolutely right.

[Ends]

Transcript 22933