PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 22962

Doorstop Interview, National Convention centre, Civic, Canberra

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: 04/12/2000

Release Type: Doorstop

Transcript ID: 22962

Subjects: Cricket; Labor Party rorts allegations; visit by Indonesian Ministers; Defence White Paper.

E&OE ……………………………………………………………………………

JOURNALIST:

Is this Australian cricket team the greatest ever ?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh I can’t think of any to touch it apart from Bradman’s Invincibles. I don’t want to make a choice between the two. But it is a great team and isn’t it a wonderful end to what has been a wonderful sporting year for Australia to have the team representing our great national sport becoming the world champions as far as successive number of tests won. I congratulate Steve Waugh who really is a quite outstanding captain and the persistence and the discipline of the team is quite remarkable. It is a great team and it’s involved what twenty players this achievement of winning twelve consecutive tests and it’s a huge achievement and the way they’re going at the moment it might stretch out to be a very hard record for any team to beat in the future.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard do you think this national audit announced by Kim Beazley is a genuine attempt to clean up the problems within the Labor Party?

PRIME MINISTER:

It sits rather oddly with his rolling over at the National Executive meeting on the question of factions and the integrity of their membership system several months ago. But look this is really a matter for him. It’s his problem, it’s his party. I am far more interested in good government. My responsibility is to deliver responsible, competent government and the big thing this week as far as I am concerned is the Defence White Paper. The Defence White Paper is far more important to Australia than the shenanigans of the Labor Party, far more important.

JOURNALIST:

Just on that, there are rumours of the meeting with the Indonesian ministers will go ahead this week. How do you think they will receive the defence spending the big boost to defence spending?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh I don’t think they’ll be the least bit concerned because it’s not a belligerent white paper, it’s a prudent, protective far-sighted white paper which is designed to do what Australia has always done and give itself a defence capability but also to support a nation that’s never sought to impose its views on others. It will be a white paper that the Australian people will see as the most comprehensive review for decades of our defence capability. It’s the most important thing on the political horizon this week. It’s far more important than the shenanigans of the Labor Party.

JOURNALIST:

Do you know what level of Government ministers will be coming from Indonesia yet?

PRIME MINISTER:

I understand, and I use my words very cautiously because things change a bit, I understand it will be quite senior and it will involve the Foreign Minister. But let’s wait and see. They’re welcome and I hope the meeting takes place.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]..Mr Beazley to have a national audit will help clean up…

PRIME MINISTER:

You talk to him. I’m the Leader of the Liberal Party, not the Labor Party.

JOURNALIST:

Would the Liberal Party look at doing something….

PRIME MINISTER:

Beg your pardon?

JOURNALIST:

Would the Liberal Party look at doing something similar to what Mr Beazley has done?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well people aren’t suggesting that my colleagues have been involved in these practices so, go and talk to him. I don’t, I don’t presume to put myself in his shoes. It’s his problem. It’s his party that’s involved in all of these shenanigans.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think Tony Abbott overstepped the mark?

PRIME MINISTER:

No I don’t. I don’t think Tony overstepped the mark at all. The slogan of the Australian Democrats in 1996 always had a level of moral presumption in it that people in other parties found a bit odd. I don’t think he overstepped the mark at all.

Thank you.

[Ends]

Transcript 22962