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Transcript - 24026

Interview with Justin Smith and Tim Lane, Fairfax Radio Network

Photo of Abbott, Tony

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 to 15/09/2015

More information about Abbott, Tony on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 03/12/2014

Release Type: Transcript

Transcript ID: 24026

Subject(s): Phillip Hughes.

JUSTIN SMITH:

Prime Minister, thank you for your time.

PRIME MINISTER:

Justin, thank you for having me. It’s a sad day – a sad day for cricket, it’s a sad day for Australia and because of the impact of cricket right around the world it’s a sad day everywhere.

TIM LANE:

Prime Minister, it’s Tim Lane, thanks for joining us. I guess sport is the great unifier, isn’t it, and on a day like today, and it doesn’t happen even at some funerals, but everyone is united and there are no politics.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well that’s right, Tim, and I guess, at its best, sport is a wonderful celebration of the human spirit and Phillip Hughes was a young man in his prime and to be felled by a hard but fair ball in the centre of the SCG at your most exuberant, it just doesn’t seem right or natural and I think that’s why this particular tragedy has had such an extraordinary impact on our nation and, indeed, in many places all around the world.

JUSTIN SMITH:

Prime Minister, it really has hooked into us, hasn’t it? I said before, it’s almost the Bali bombing since we’ve felt that national grief kick in. It’s almost as if we all needed to have a good cry and we’re doing it together over this. Does it feel like that for you?

PRIME MINISTER:

There’s no doubt that this has powerfully affected us in a way that so many things haven’t because I guess it’s the sense that it’s against the natural order. It’s the sense that this was someone doing something which was so typically Australian the sense that it’s against the natural order and I think that’s what’s united everyone in a sense of solidarity because we want to feel, not only for Phillip Hughes and his family and his friends and his teammates, but for every sportsman and woman, everyone who’s been impacted by this. I suppose sometimes grief is a uniting thing and there has been profound grief right around our country as a result of this.

JUSTIN SMITH:

And his is such a quintessentially Australian cricket story coming from a small country town where the Prime Minister and various other leaders of their states and so on are gathering. It will be a squeeze up there I would imagine. What kind of perception are you gaining of Macksville and how it’s dealing with it all?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well look, I’m just on the outskirts of Macksville now about to get in there for the actual service. I’ve never stayed overnight in Macksville, but I’ve been through it a few times as a youngster on my way up the coast on family holidays and, more recently, as part of the Pollie Pedal bike ride, I’ve come through Macksville a few times. It’s a typical North Coast of New South Wales town. A lot of retirees, a lot of small business people, still a strong rural influence and, of course, Phil Hughes, he loved the land, he loved farming. He grew up on the land and he loved the land, he loved his cattle and I suppose, again, there was just this deep resonance between him and his life and the community from which he came.

JUSTIN SMITH:

Prime Minister, again, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us before the service.

PRIME MINISTER:

Thank you.

[ends]

Transcript - 24026