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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2720


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: 25/11/1972

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 2720

FOR PRESS: NO. 105/ 1972
Statement by the Prime ' i. nist: r, the Rt. Hon.
William " cM'ahop, CH, MP
A great deal of publicity has been given to comments
made by me in a television interview recorded in Brisbane on Friday
for telecasting next W. ednesday.
These have been misconstrued as criticism by me of my
Ministers. The following is the extract from the transcript of the
interview which deals with the incident
PRI'" tE
MINISTER: QUESTION: PRIME MINISTER: Looking back, Prime Minister, over the last twenty
months, what have you, yourself, learnt from being
Prime Pinister?
I have learnt a lot. I have learnt first of all the
fact I now must make more decisions than I had
intention of making when I first became the Prime
Minister. I wanted to be the head of a team. I
wanted to delegate the authority to the relevant
Ministers resoonsible for the Departments.
TThat went iwrong with that principle?
I couldn't get the work done quickly enough and I
found frequently that the political aoproaches to it
were not as good as I thought they should be. So
from September of last year, I gradually started to
change, and I have been changing a little more quickly
as the days have gone by and I believe with success."
As I said last night, any suggestion that I am
criticising my Ministry is abso ut nonsense.
I was not reflecting in any way on any member of my

There are times when one must, in co-operation with the
relevant Minister, make decisions which cannot be kept waiting.
I have an extremely competent team in whom I have
complete confidence, as I said in my Policy Speech.
It is obvious that as we develoned new programmes, I have
had to take increasing responsibility.
Since I took office twenty months ago, a whole range of
liberal Dolicies have been transformed.
Many new measures have been introduced, including some
of the most significant policy initiatives of thn postwar period.
I make no apologies for having gct these things done, and
done resonrnibly and rapidly.
More will be done when my Government is returned to power
on December 2.
Mr Whitlam has no qualificatinns to speak about Cabinet
administration. His caucus, under outside pressure, has forced him to
accept an unworkable Cabinet system with up to 77 members. Nothing
could be more impracticable.
Under our Cabinet system, the Prime Minister is the leader
of his team. Under Labor, a much larger and unwieldy team would control
the Prime Minister. That team would, in turn, be subject to the outside
control of Labor's non-ΓΈ elected machine.
SYDNEY, November, 1972

Transcript 2720