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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6967


Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 30/06/1986

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 6967

N Of course the big political news over the weekend is that Don Chipp is
retiring from politics, I had him on this morning and he spoke very glowingly.
df you as he always has done. How do you think history will remember him?
He t think they will remember him well for a number of reasons. Firstly
it'to a very remarkable achielffnt to have resigned fromn a party andS
established another one which a relatively short time assumed the
balance of power. It's been accurate in a sense for Don to say as he
said recently that he's got the second most powerful' position to the
Prime Minister because when you hold the balance of power from the
Senate that means that whether the legislation of the Govt. of the day
pauses or not was very much in his hands, the hands of his party, and he
* as his party, to all intents and purposes. That's a very big achievement.
The second thing is I think that he exercised that power fairly
responsibly. There are times I'd like to give him a kick up his backside
but basically he exercised it responsibly, so that's a very large
achievement. And as a person, I've been talking about him as a politioian,
but as a person I always found him an honest, intelligent bloke to deal with.
N Since last speaking to you lots of things have happened federally and
also at political levels generally in Australia. How much harder do you
find it now Bob to run the country in comparison now to say two years ago.
H. Well it's a good question, and paradoxically it is in some senses easier
and some senses harder. Let me say why it's easier. Obviously if you're
a reasonably intelligent bloke and I'm immodest enough to think I'm that.
Once you've been doing something for a period of time you get to know I
believe how to do it better. You get to know the people around you better
the strengths and weaknesses of your Ministers, you know the strengths
and weaknesses of your public service of people people in the bubiness
community and the trade union movement. So in that sense it's easier now
" than it was. But It's harder in this sense that while we've turned the
Aust. economy around and got it growing very strongly and got the high
levels of unemployment down that we inherited and got record employment
growth,: Voknow in a situation where because of the dramatic decline
. n prices that we goet paid for so much or what we export that we've had

our National Income cut by that's created a new set of difficulties
-that weve not had so dramatically before. so that requires tough decisions
Bert, but we'll take them because they're necessary.
N. The relationship between yourself and Mr Keating?
U. I an honestly say that it has never been better, we had a little period
air -a very short period where it could be said perhaps there were a
few points of differences. There were, but our friendship is strong enough
ΓΈ" and deep enough to enable us to sit down together as we did, talk through
thome things and I think Paul would say as I personally do that our
relationship has not been better. than it is now and it's been very strong
in the past.
N. But it's simply a case though, you were overseas and he decided to look
like the commander df the ship?
H. no when I was in Japan and China it looked as though there might be
some sort of meeting between groups that could have offered the opportunity
for doing certain things and through basically no fault of Paul's but rather
I think some hyping up by the media that began to be given a stature
which it never had the legs to carry and you know I had to deal with that
but that wasn't really dealing with Paul it was dealing with an issue.
med i a
N. One story that has been given enormous coverage for the last couple of
weeks is the impending hanging 6f" Chambers and Barlow. will nothing make
the Govt intervene?
H. Well the Govt. has maqe very strong representations, the Foreign Min.
Mr Bill Hayden has done that consistently, let me make it clear, we
as a Govt. certainly I as an individual are appalled at the trade in drugs
but we are equally as a matter of conscience against capital punishment.
So what we've had to say has had nothing to do with the facts of the case
but with the question of capital punishment. I still hope that the-'
sentences can be commuted to life imprisonment. But there is nothing
more as a Govt. we can do, Bert.
N. What w6uld happen do you believe, if Malcolm Fraser, regardless of what
he said iA recent times, came back into politics and led the Liberals!.
H. Well the Liberal Party would be even more in tatters and interani dissent
-Z 4 Z 3S?

H. and division if he came back. I mean they are quite hopeless at the
moment. The divisions there and the bitterness between people is
unbelifvable, if Malcolm were to come back that would add another
ingredient to it. But T thInk to be fait to Malcolm he has no intention
Of doing it.
N. One final: question, Federal Cabinet looking at sanctions against South
B. Yes we've got that on the agenda today. We'll examine the issue but
whether we'll actually bring anything into effect before I go to London
in a few weeks time, we're there* themeeting is I think from 3rd to the
of August. 1 think what we'll be wanting to do is position ourselves
so that we'll be able to identify immediately with what will be the mood
of the Commonwealth, and I want to be in a pohition where I have the
authority of Cabinet decisions on this.
N. Nice to talk to you Mr Prime Minister and I hope we can get together
on a number of occasions as I plough through.
B. I'd like to talk to you whenever that's your
i u n 1

Transcript 6967