PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2405


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/04/1971

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 2405

PRESS ' 1971
Q. Vincent Matthews Me itrne Herald. Mr. Prime Minister, could
you tell us, apar. from th 2 wheit the Government is actually doing
or contemplating oic tc -s: 7o of-the China market is
not lost in the future to Aut~ asc~ otindu~ t-;. i, Iand could you perhaps
elaborate on 24ect Jm~ ;~ cndacshcwe had, particularly
the attitaide of the Democratic-La~ iur Party on the Government's approach to
the China problem?
PM If I can answer the second part of your question first. Naturally as
Members of Parifament, and a mters of a Gcvernment we have to take a total
look at the political picture befoire adi'-cisions aire made. But on our attitude
to trade with Continental China2, ad c-i our attitut'. z to the position of Taiwan
China in the United Nation., i can as~ n~ you thXath; is is a Government decision
and I now reflect Government -, 11* izW hi is deciId in the interests of the
Australian nation, and that pc-tior: vi13 dEpci. t ate our policy in every respect in
the future. As to the first part of your qjuastion I will divide the question if I
can into three different sectikmr.-. kir.-. t of all as to our actual trade with China
itself unless goods come with-in wi-at is called the Strategic Limitation List
or finless it comes within a special list of which we have administered quite
severely in recent years, then our own people are free to go and to return from
China and to trade with them to the maximnum of their capacity. So they can go,
they can trade. I can move a stage further and sa-y that our own people, of course,
have no obstacle placed in their y ii they want to go, and for that matter unless
there are security reasons invoi,. zod, involving the Peking Government itself,
then our citizens are free to r: un. I hope you'll understand the reservation
that I have made about security reasons coming from the Peking Government
Q. Ted Barker West Australian. Sir there was a certain amount of
concern last year about i . m_; rts of iron and scmp steel to China.
As Foreign Ministcer you' saild a hat you would re-examine the list of
strategic mateiiithat cau, 3. dnrot be iaxxxted. Has there been any change in
policy as a result of that re-. ivv; w have cj aterials such as iron, scrap steel and
zinc been added to the list of prohibited exports"
PM Yes I have. Ever since I made the statement or answered a question
in~ a h thr-o~ s-i'er ne~ View. I've also had it considered by
the Government-and s~ rvf111 bi': 2er the measures that we've taken in
order to ensure greater trade '. Corntnental China.
Q. Brown Brisbene CPr-Mail. Prime Minister you seem to have
left out one current imp " tir~ t c Z South Afri. an sporting tours. What
action do you plan to talKe afgai.. ntst ~. s_'. or-ACTU boycott?
PM Thanks for that buec: oa~ use I've A& re-ndy answered this once in
the House and I reg,.-zr1 it as nJt b -hz CT n h ao
Party that they shouid try and stp sportiimg terns from coming to this country.

We have the Gallup Polls 85 per cent of the Australian people thought they should
come. Now we don't like apartheid and already I have sent a message to the South
African Government, letting the South African Government know what I and my
Government, for that matter, think of their action in stopping two native South
Africans from coming out here with the South African cricket team. But we have
taken this attitude. We believe, and I'm sure most Australians agree with this
point of view, that we must not import our politics Into our sporting or cultural
life. I can explain it to you in this way. What a strange thing it is that an ACTIJ
that is supposed to be looking after industrial relations, should gang up with a group
within the Australian Labor Party and say yes, let politics superimpose itself on
every single aspect of our lives. If you'd like to took at it in a different way in
terms of our cultural relations, we don't agree with the USSR as to what its social
and political system might be. But we don't stop their sporting teams, and the Bolshoi
Ballet from coming here. Even in the case of Continental China, of the Peoples'.
Re public of China, they are now permitting a sporting team of the Unites States one
of their bitterest enemies to go there, indicating that they want a liberalisation so
far as these extra-political activities are concerned. I want to warn you of this
factor. You must now have recollections of the shadows of the twelve faceless
men, when the ACTU, not elected to Parliament by the people, when the Mick
Youngs not elected by the people of Australia to the Parliament are trying to
determine every single aspect of the social and cultural and sporting life of this
community. In my view the Australian people will regard it with resentment, and
I believe that they will treat these sporting teams, if they come, in exactly the
same way as they treated the South African Surf Life Saving Association. They gave
them a marvelous welcome, and I hope they show their strong sporting instincts
and give the cricket team and the football team when it comes, that they give them the
same kind of reception as th ey gave the Surf Life Association members.
Q. John Lombard Mel bourne Sun. Both the Treasury and Mr. Bury say
there will have to be a new Federal Tax. The Treasurer is reported as believing it
oi4ght to be a tax on retail sales. Do you believe a new tax will have to be found to
supplement income tax and what are your views on a retail sales tax?
PM These views have never been communicated to me directly and I have
no paper at all in front of me from ie Treasury or from the Treasurer or from
any other group of officials recommending any new type of tax.
Q. Max Hawkins, Brisbane Telegraph. Mr. Prime Minister on March 21
when you announced your Ministry, you said -you intended to appoint certain
Assistant Ministers or Parliamentary Under-Secretaries. Can you tell us how far
you have got with this proposal?
PM There are two pieces of uncompleted business. One is the appointment
of a Minister to head the new Department of the Vice-President of the Executive
Council that will look after a wide range of environmental and cultural relationships,
and the other is the problem of Assistant Ministers. I have not in the time
available been able to deal with either of these problems because until the last f ew
days I have not had worked out in specific and legal terms what the responsibilities
and the conditions under which the Assistant Ministers can in fact be apppointed, a a / 3

particularly in order to meet the Constitutional requirement that they cannot accept
an office of profit under the Crown. All the details have now been completed and I
hope as soon as the House rises I will be able to appoint the new Minister as well
as being able to appoint the Assistant Ministers at the same time. I might, if I can
just add this. I might find it desirable some time next week or the week after to
be able to put down a paper in the House explaining the true i1~ ettion so far as it
concerns the Assistant Ministers.
Michael Richardson Melbourne Age. Could you give us an
explanation about why the Chinese bought a large quantity of wheat from Canada
recently. It was noted at the time that the announcement was made shortly after
Canada announced formal diplomatic recognition of Peking.
First I want to remind you of the backgrourd against which this
problem is being considered. I have said that our position cannot under any
circumstances be regarded as a difficult one. But secondly why China chose to
buy not a large quantity of wheat as you have said but a much reduced quantity
of wheat, of high protein wheat from Canada. Thirdly I admit that there was a
strange sort of coincidence between the date on which the wheat was purchased
and the negotiations that were taking place in New York at the United Nations
relating to recognition and the Albanian Vote. But I am not privy to the mind of
the Peking Chinese. I am not privy to the mind of the Canadian Government. In
my conversations with Mitchell Sharp, I came away no better informed than I was
when I first started to speak to him.
Peter Samuel Bulletin. I want to ask two questions. Firstly,
a cultural one, secondly a sporting one. On the cultural one, what are you going to
do about the proposal for a National Art Gallery here in Canberra? There has been
a proposal for a Director of that Gallery and the plans are all prepared for its
construction. Secondly, on the sporting question, the question of the ACTU's
proposed black ban on dealing with the Sac th African cricketers when they come
here, in a previous case where the Government has disapproved of a black ban in
t he case of the black ban on the export of merino rams the Government moved
in and used Service transport to break this black ban. It would seem logical if
you disapproved of this black ban to give consideration to using the Forces at your
command to break this black ban, too. Would you consider doing that?
As to the first question, which is, I must confess, a sensitive and
difficult one, I have appointed Sir Alan Hulme to act as the temporary Minister
in charge of the portfolio of Vice-President of the Executive Council, and he for the
moment has this task of deciding what is to be done. I can't give you any greater
answer than that other than some possible solutions have been put to me but have
not been put in a way that I would be able to make an immediate decision about it.
I am afraid this will have to wait for some time until I get more time to be able
to devote attention to it. As to the second question as to what we will do if the
South African cricketers do come, regrettably in a way, we can't transport them
in the same way as we did the merino sheep: But my very sincere hope is that by
that time the Australian people themselves will let both the ALP and the AC'Tt
know of their revulsion of feeling that these extra-Government organisations shnuld
try and dominate the Australian political scene and should determine what happens
in cultural and social affairs and sprnrting affairs iirthis country. But the true
so. / 4

answer to your question that is the second question is that at the moment it
is too hypothetical. I think it is best if you intend to do something, to reserve
your own opinion as to'what you will do and meet those when they actually have to
be met.
Q. Fingleton Argus Group of South African newspapers. The
trade unions, Mr. Hawke and Mr. Whitlam I don't know whether I have given
the right batting order have threatened a boycott of the South African team.
Can you say, Mr. Prime Minister, whether either the Australian Board of Cricket
Control or the Rugby Union Board has been in touch with you as to your views
whether the tour should be cancelled either tour and if they do, would your
opinion still be the same as you expressed here today that the tours should proceed?
PM I think your batting order was wrong on this issue. I think it was
Young, H-awke and Mr. Whitlam might have been somewhere in the team but I didn't
notice it: As to the second part of your question, the Secretary of the Australian
Cricket Control Board, Alan Barnes, has been in touch with me and I have informed
him that we would offer no objection to the tour and that i t should go on. To the
best of my knowledge, the Australian Rugby Union authorities have not been in
contact with me or with the Department. Nonetheless, I will check on this fact,
Mr. Fingleton, and I will let you know as soon as I can.
Q. Commins, A. B. C. In the context of controlling inflation, you said
amongst the measures to be taken would be to strengthen the Arbitration Commission.
Do you imply by this they are not doing their job now, or in what manner would
you do it? Also, Sir, in the same context, Sir Colin Syme has recommended some
advance in unemployment as a means of controlling inflation and Mr. Hawke has
said he would not have been game to have said', this under Mr. Gorton, but is game to
do so under you.
PM That is Mr. Hawke's opinion, and in public like this I must refrain
from expressing any personal opinions about him. But if I can deal with the opinions
expressed by Sir Colin Syme, 1, for one, do not believe that the creation of
unemployment is the way in which you solve your problems of inflation. Every
country that has tried to create unemployment, or permitted unemployment to develop
has failed miserably and I think it should be known that the one Government that
solved the problem of unemployment before any other was the Government started
by Menzies, continued through Mr. Holt and Mr. Gorton and now led by myself.
With us, full employment is a cardinal act of political faith and we will sustain
it and won't resort to any kind of unemployment in order to achieve our objective.
And I repeat again, I don't think this is a very satisfactory way of handling it.
That, too, might answer Mr. Hawke as to whether or not he thinks there might
be a different approach during the course of the last three ar four weeks. I have
forgotten the first part of your question could you repeat it?
Q.' Sir, it was to control inflation you were aiming to strengthen
the Arbitration Act....

PM Well, I said we would try. We will be looking to see whether there
are some methods by which we can ensure that the Arbitration Commission itself
does try and control the whole of the structure of the Arbitration Commission, in
order to ensure that the Commissioners fit in with the policy directives or the policy
lines that are determined by the Presidential Members themselves. But this is only
one area that we are looking at. We want to look at the total area to see if we can
make some contribution here to strengthening the forces which will reign back or
break back inflationary tendencies in our community.
Q. Tom Connors Financial Review. How closely does the
Government watch and check the activities of the Australian Wool Commission
which has built up a considerable stockpile of wool without actually checking the
drift in prices, and what form will the proposed review of the Commission's
activities take at the end of this financial year?
PM As to the second part of your question, this is a matter witich is
within the jurisdiction of both Trade and Treasury and they will be advisixg us towards
the end of the season, or at the end of the season, what they think should be done and
will be making their recommendation to the Cabinet. So far as watching the
activities of the Commission, as I understand it, and I am not in the machine for
this myself, but as I understand it and it is agreed to by the Australian Wool
Commission itself that there is regular examination of the activities of the
QCommission and that the Commission regularly reports not only to Primary Industry,
Trade but also to Treasury as well.
Q. Tony Thomas Melbourne Age. It has been mentioned that private
office construction has fallen off lately in view of the economic climate, On the
other hand State and Commonwealth, or rather Government off ice construction is
iiicreasing fairly sharply. How do you regard this?
PM. I didn't phrase it in exactly the same way as you've said. I did
say that because there had been over-building in commercial and industrial
buildings we had been advised by the civil construction people that automatically
there would be a reduction because they wouldn't be able to find rentals for the
space that had been built. I agree with you that it has been difficult to reduce
State expenditure on public works. But what we are doing now and I want to
emnphasise this and I thought I'd emphasised in the body of my speech itself that
qt the time of the next Budget we must ensure that public works expenditure
Commonwealth or States that the rate of increase is reduced to what we could
regard as a satisfactory level. Once you've got committed, as they have got
committed in this present Budget year or the Budget year of the Commonwealth
or the States, it's difficult to stop expenditure. But when we start on the new year
that is the appropriate time when we ensure or do our best to ensure that the
rate of increase in these works and services is reigned in.
Q. Richard Ackland from Maxwell Newton's publications Two
questions Prime Minister in your capacity as a Treasury expert can New Guinea.
pay all the subscription to the Asian Development Bank, and what are the
advantages of New Guinea being a member? And secondly, are you going to
press ahead for an abolition on withholding tax to interest payments overseas
as the previous Prime Minister announced last year? 0 / 6

PM As to the second one yes. As to the first as Foreign Minister
I did all in my power to ensure that Papua/ New Gu,-nea became a member of
ECAFE, and through becomin. g a memi; er of ECAFE became a member of ECOSOC
and through becoming a merrnmr of ECOSOC wa3s nittled to participate in the
World Bank and the 2DC. Secondly I had -s the fu; l objertive and w, achieved
it of making ? apua/ New Gur. nea a , r. emer of te A-' an Development Bank. We
did this because we tknew thn. r iv didn't marter w'hat . ontrbu: ton was made by
Papua / New Guinea either oEf ts own ~: cdgerncus tfnds or through advances
provided by the Commonwealth tha aitt ist t woi: id get benefits many, many,
many times greater than the contribution :! at it would make the initial contribution
it would make to those funds. If you can l at the participation of the World
Bank in the construction and development projects for Papua/ New Guinea you will
know what I mean. Equally am I certain tat not only so far as expertise, but access
to funds is concerned, the Asian Development Bank will turn out to be a very, very
good investment project.
Q. Hugh Armfield Melbourne Age Bearing in mind how you've
handled relations within the Liberal Party, pensioners, Premiers' Conference
and the Queensland Government since becoming Prime Minister, would you regard
this period as one in which your main role has been that of a peacemaker?
PM I know the word I'd like to use, but as you know in a press
gathering you've only got to use one word in humour and it's likely to be taken
seriously and so I refrain from using the word. I wouldn't like to give it any
conceivable sort of title other than to say that I believe it's been in the best
interests of this country. And I hope that during my term of office as the
Prime Minister, whatever I do is not determined by a title, or by any other
grouping of words or phrases, but is determined in the national interest and the
national interest alone.
Q. Bruce Juddery Canberra Times. I've also got a double-pronged
question, Sir. Last January, your , predecessor said in Singapore that within
the next two years the State Governments must legislate to remove all
discriminatory legislation on the aboriginal question or else the Commonwealth
would do so for them. Since then you've apparently made some progress last
week I think it was in Queensland. Sir are you committed to this undertaking
of your predecessor, and more generally what thoughts do you have on the
progress of aboriginals and the Commonwealth's role in seeking that progress?
Secondly, Sir, you have recently removed the Office of Aboriginal Affairs, the
Office of the Environment, various cultural groups you mention from your own
Department where their presence was an earnest of the Prime Minister's personal
commitment and concern for these issues, to another Department whose Head has
got a fairly grandiloquent title but no particular guarantee of access or influence
within the Government. Are you not concerned that some sections of the community
may think you're playing down these relatively minor in absolute terms
but nevertheless emotionally-charged issues?
PM As to the first question there is a great deal of difficulty about
definition. I sometimes feel that the word " discriminatory" is used too freely,
and that what has to be thought of is some sort of means of protection of
certain sections of the aboriginal community. But to come down to the facts of
life, I did obtain from Mr. Wentworth a note as to 11 different areas where he
felt we should try and come to an accommodation with the Queensland Government. / 7

I went up and I had the most successful discussions with the Premier, with
Mr. Gordon Chalk the Treasurer, and their officials and with Sir Alan Hulme and my
own officials. On 9 of the 11 points that I put to him, they were all agreed to by the
Queensland Premier, and we will have no difficulty about them whatsoever. On the
other two, I believe protective measures may perhaps be taken. If I can just mention
some of them to you. That is people can freely leave the Reserves. Access to the
Reserves will be under the control of the Aboriginal Councils themselves. There
are really a lot of matters of this kind discrimination and a separate Act of
Parliament relating to the Torres Strait Islanders. The only place where there was
an agreement between us that I can regard as of a protective kind was so far as
alcohol is concerned, and there, the proposition was put to me that each of the
Local Councils should have the right to determine whether or not alcohol should be
permitted on the Reserve itself. In other words, not that it should freely come in
but those elected by the members of the mission or the members of the station
should have the right to determine. I felt this was a wise recommendation and one
I immediately agreed to. The second one that caused a little discussion but again
we came to a sensible solution related to control over property. And here it was
felt that if you immediately gave some aboriginals immediate access to considerable
suims of money, that they could be exploited. And consequently it was felt that the
Aboriginal Council itself should have some power of supervision, and that if there
was extreme difficulty relating to exploitation, then the State ( lovernment
Administration itself should have the power to protect the aborigine. The details of
these last two have not been worked out. But I must confess they seem to me to be
sensible propositions and one that when we look at we can consider the details and
I am fairly certain we can come to a happy conclusion about it. So I don't believe
under these circumstances that legislation is necessary or desirable. Nor do I
tjiink for one moment that my predecessor thought that under all circumstances
legislation would be enforced. What he did say, I believe, was that unless our
requirements are met, then we may be compelled to legislate. As our requirements
have in fact been met or are in the process of being met, then I don't think legislation
i s necessary and that consequently I don't think that there'll be any need for me to
introduce it.
Q. Richard Carleton This Day Tonight. The influence Sir of the DLP over a
number of Government decisions in recent years has been quite evident. Bearing
in mind Senator Gair's attitude towards recognition of mainland China, what attempt
do you make to accommodate him before reaching a final decision on Australia's p
PM I think I've said to you that the immediate problem that we face and one that
ought to be solved before we come to grips with the problem of recognition is
admission or the tretention of the position of Taiwan in the United Nations. As the
first part of the question relating to recognition of Peking China is hypothetical and,
in any event, is something that we'd have to deal with not in the immediate future,
I think being hypothetical it's best to be left exactly where it is.
Q. Alan Fitzgerald. Sir your predecessor suggested that he may enfranchise
18-year-olds in Federal Elections. The States of Western Australia and South
Australia have done so, which if you don't act could perhaps lead to a situation in
the next Federal Election where 18-year-olds in two States of the Commonwealth
were voting, and 18-year-olds in the other four and the Commonwealth Territories
weren't. Have you given this your consideration? / 8

PM I'm glad that you've given me your opinion of the Constitutional
legal position.' I can assure you that there's a wide divergence of views amongst
all those I've consulted, and I'm not happy about any of their opinions, with the
exception of the former Attorney-General and the Present Attorney-General too.
But what I've decided to do, and I've answered a question on this in the House on
at least. one occasion, was to say that I've given assurances to my Party to the
Liberal-Country Parties that before the Government makes up its mind as to
what it will do, that there is to be full and frank discussion of this in the Party
room. That hasn't happened yet.
Q. Bob Baudino Daily Telegraph. This is a supplementary
question. You referred to the opinions of the former Attorney-General and
the present Attorney-General What were those opinions?
PM I'm not prepared -these are Government documents..... I'm
talking about the Constitutional position and this is the position relating to the
interpretation of the Constitution. I'm not talking about the political aspects
of whether or not it should be done. Frankdy at this moment, as I've said, I
think there are divergences of opinion as to what the position is, both in relation
to the House and of the Senate. As they're government documents I've got no
intention of saying what they are.
Q. Maximillian Walsh Financial Review. In your initial speech,
Sir, you said that Australia would do all it could providing the Republic of China
wants to sustain its position in the General Assembly, to make sure it is
sustained there. Do you think that the Republic of China would be happy to have
to sit in the General Assembly with Mainland China?
PM . I couldn't give the answer to that question, nor does anyone other
than Chiang Kai-shek himself nor is any other person than Chiang Kai-shek able
to give an expression of opinion as to what Taiwan Chinai would want.
Q. Barry Wain from the Australian. Mr. Prime Minister, on
Australia's phased withdrawal from Vietnam, for the next round is it militarily
feasible, for one battalion to be withdrawn or would they have to both come out
PM Once upon a time we had only one battalion there and it seemed
to be feasible then. But I don't want under any circumstances to commit
ourselves to the future. Before any further action is taken and as yet I
haven't asked that action be initiated before any action is initiated, we would
want the comments and the recommendations of the Defence Committee and the
Chiefs of Staff Committee. I repeat I haven't asked them to give me an
opinion yet.
Q. Peter Samuel of the Bulletin The question of the role of our
troops in Malaysia. The former Prime Minister seemed to imply that they were
confined in their defence role to the mainland of Malaysia to what he called
Malaya. Is this still Government policy? .000 ./ 9

I think it was put a little differently. In fact I am sure it was put
a little differently. The word " Malaya" was used and primarily they are there in
order to provide confidence during the period the Malaysians and the Singaporeanc
are building up their armed forces. But as was made clear both by the former
Minister for Defence and the former Minister for External Affairs, that does not
automatically count out a contribution that we could make if we were asked and if
in our wisdom we thought a contribution should in fact be made
outside the mainland....
Outside the mainland.
Max Hawkins again Prime M. inister. I think when on the day that
you were elected Prime Minister you gave a strong indication that your then
thinking was that the present Parliament would run out its full course. Has anything
happened in the last month or so which might have influenced you to change your
mind and perhaps think of an early election?
So much happens every day that I never make up my mind firmly
about any matter until I'm compelled to do so.
Michael Guy Reuters Economic Services. Mr. Anthony recently
said the attitude to China is governed to a large degree by the attitude of the
United States. To what degree do you regard this as governing Australia's
attitude to the Republic? I think I've expressed my views and I believe Government views
a few moments ago when I said that our actions and our policy decisions will
be ietermined by what I and the Government feels is in the best interests of the
Australian people. Now you would have read in today's paper that President
Nixon has somewhat liberalised the approach of the United States to Continental
China. And he had announced shortly after the Nixon Doctrine that certain changes
that were taking place in American policy. I think I can say that in many respects
we are in advance of them, because as I said a few moments ago, we don't place
any obstacle in the road of our own people going to China in the case of trade we
do not unless the goods come themselves within the strategic limitations, or
limitations that are imposed because of military reasons we permit trade to
take place and we buy goods from China. And our ships freely move into Chinese
ports as well. So that, consequently, I think it is difficult to sustain an argument
that we are dependent upon United States' views. Of course we want to co-operate
with them as closely as we can. They are great, and friendly allies, but under
no circumstances do I think that our policies ought to be dictated by what the
United States does, or what the United States might want.
Michael Richardson Melbourne Age. There is a rising tide
of public concern in Australia about the related matters of environmental
pollution and conservation. Do you regard these matters as serious problems
and do you think the Commonwealth is doing enough to help deal with them?

PM I think I should have answered the question that you asked me a
few moments ago, and thanks for the opportunity of coming back to that part of
his question which I ignored answering. As you know we've already dealt ' with
the question of pollution of the Barrier Reef and the Crown of Thorns Starfish.
You know at the present time there are two committees of the Senate meeting.
I have or Sir Alan Hulme has stated that the Professor who was the Chairman of
the Committee that looked into the Crown of Thorns Starfish has recommended to
me that there should be a general enquiry into pollution of which he would be only
too happy to participate either as a member, or as the chairman. This is a
tremendously important subject and consequently I've placed it, with aboriginals,
as one of the major subjects or jurisdictions that are under the supervision of the
new Minister. I take it extremely seriously. But before we act, I believe we've
got to get the best advice and know exactly where we're going. And I believe that
the report that we received on the Crown of Thorns Starfish indicates quite clearly
that precipitate action can be dangerous. It's best to know the biological and
other reasons before remedial action -is taken. To come back to your question of
aborigines, I can give you an assurance that the Minister who is appointed will be
in the closest contact with me, and I regard it as my personal responsibility
to see that we do everything we can to integrate the Australian aborigine into the
Australian community.
Q. Mr. Fingleton Mr. Prime Minister, should Dr. Patterson go to
Communist China and return with a wheat order, would you see that it was fulfilled?
PM I'm sorry to have to correct you, But I think you know that the
Wheat Board is there as. the Australian Government authority and the representative
Of the Australian wheat-growing interests for the sale of wheat overseas. If he can
go and get a contract where the Australian Wheat Board itself in the last week has
failed, then . his proper course of action is to go to the Chairman of the Wheat Board,
put his proposition there, and see what the price is arid let them make their decision.
I'm one of those who believes that once you've appointed an authority, particularly
one that has been so unbelievably successful in its sale of wheat when other countries
haven't been anywhere near as successful, then you repose you r confidence and
trust in them. I'll leave it to them, because I know they'll do ever so much better
over the long term than Dr. Patterson has any hope of doing.
Q. Prime Minister, you spoke in your opening remarks about the
communications gap. I may be inflicted with one myself in as much as in your
opening remarks you deplored the fact that Mr. Hawke and the Leader of the Labour
Association would be leading the delegation to China on this wheat business...
PM Would what...
Q. Would be leading a delegation... would be going to China in a
delegation on these wheat negotiations. You referred to the fact that Mr. Hawke
and the Leader of the Labour Association would be going....
PM Promoted... Promoted. No " promote". Well if I could correct
this then. If I said " going", my pronounciation was no where near as good as I'd
Q. like it to be. I meant promoting it.

Transcript 2405