PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 7906


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: 16/02/1990

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 7906

HOGAN: Prime minister, as we head into this election
campaign, do you detect that many Australians are
disillusioned with politics and politicians, including your
own Party?
PM: There is an element of ( i] Rilluiofl. T think Alan, what
I was saying earlier today that we have got to recognize
that not only in this vountry but around the world, the
environment, and I'm not saying that is the only issue, but
the environment has taken up a sector of politics which
wasn't occupied before. It's become a predominant concern
of many people, and understandably so in my judgement.
That's not the total explanation.
HOGAN: Do you suggest that because people are worried about
the environment they are disillusioned with politicians?
PM: No, I'm saying that they are putting a different test,
if you like, upon politicians I think. of the electorate
is putting a different test on politicians now than they did
before, although it's not the total answer.
HOGAN: To get to this campaign, would it be a sufficient
victory to you to win simply because you are the lesser of
two evils?
PH: No. It wouldn't be satisfying. It would be enough I
suppose. I mean there would be that and let me say quite
honestly that one of the elements in what I think will be
our victory, and I hope will be, will be a judgement by the
electorate, that they simply will not have Mr Peacock and
the Opposition. That will be a factor. But I also believe
that by the time this campaign is over Alan, and I will have
been all around Australia I will have explained in detail
and be subject to questioning by you and your colleagues-I
will put the positive side, both of the Government's
achievements and of our program for the future. So it will
be a combination I can speak to you quite honestly-

part of it will be an appreciation, a positive appreciation.
I have no doubt that part of it will be a conviction that
the other Side is not ready to govern. I mean, I said this
morning, and I mean it, it has affected my Party in the
past. The Australian electorate tends to say to a party
it has historically and I think it will currently say,
that if you can't govern yourselves, you can't govern the
country. HOGAN: Do you detect seven years on, less popular
enthusiasm for you than there were for you in those heady
days in 1983?
PN: I don't think that I would ever be able to maintain the
Peaks that I achieved in ' 83 and ' 584. 1 hope I can say this
to you honestly I do have a great sense of pride in the
fact that it's just not my analysis but what the
professionals say is that it is remarkable how high the
S aipnp rsaoyvainlg rtahtaint. g haI s justsat yeamd uppro uadn d thIa td own'hta t haI vere gaanryd parso blaems
love affair with the Australian people seems to have been
going on pretty solidly.
HOGAN: There's no doubt that you're ahead in moat of the
polls. But one poll I saw recently was small business
employers, 80% of whom said they would vote against the
Labor Party in this election. D~ oes that either surprise or
disappoint you:
PM: I wouldn't believe that a whole of small business can
I don't know who took it and just how you
HOGAN: Arthur Anderson.
PM: Arthur Anderson
HOGAN; On a sam~ ple of a thousand.
PN: Yes, a thousand. Well there are 750,000 small
businesses around Australia and I think that's the figure
HOGAN: L~ et's not argue about the sample. Do you detect
that small business people don't like you anymore.
HOGAN: No, I don't. It would be surprising if the
intelligent group of small business didn't like us and were
prepared to vote against us because they have an
alternative. The alternative had 7 years before us and what
do they do for small business? They produced the worst
recession in 50 years. They produced a situation where
small businesses had no chance. Unemployment was growing.
What we've done is to give massive employment growth,
massive economic growth and small businesses prospered in
that. We've reduced their tax burden. we've increased the

amount that they are able to keep without punitive taxation.
So anl intelligent appraisal of self-interest, and that's
always a pretty, you know# significant thing that people in
the end do. A significant appraisal of ones self interest
shouldn't leave them to vote against us.
MOGAN: The Opposition says a vote for Bob Hawke is a vote
for Paul Keating. Would that be a bad thing?
PH: Well it would be an irrelevant thing. It would be like
most of the things they say, untrue. Because I have said
and I know what the facts are I will lead the Party in
this election, and we've started on that, on that. I
hope and believe I'll lead them to victory and I will be
Prime Minister for the full term of the fourth Hiawke
Government. HOGAN: For the record, will you stand as Labor leader in
the election following this one?
PM: I was asked that this morning, Alan. I said I would
lead the Party into the next election and as my thinking is
now, I'd probably retire some time during that next period.
HUJG": Let's turn to economics for a moment.
PH: I thought we'd been there a bit.
HOGAN: No, not yet.
PX: Can we establish some economic facts about Labor's 7
years in Government. It is true that while you've been
Prime Minister real wages and productivity have declined and
overseas debt has increased?
PK: Sure, we'll establish facts about the economy. It is a
fact that there has been a decline in real wages but it's
also the fact that there's been a significant increase in
real disposable household income. That's because the
disposable income of a fellow who depends not simply upon
wages but it depends upon these other things. The amount of
employment in the household, what's hatppened to social
welfare payments and social justice payments, and what's
happened to tax. So when you take a combination of what's
happened to movements in money wages and what's happened to
tax and what's happened to employment and what's happened to
social justice payments, there have been significant real
increases in household disposable income, fact one. Fact
two in regard to debt, yes there has been an Increase in
debt but there has been a decline and a removal of my
Government's debt because we have wiped out the inherited
nine and a half billion dollar deficit whiuh was the legacy
from the incompetent conservatives and transformed that into
a mirror image surplus of over $ 9B, and that's transformed

the Commonwealth from a borrower anid a heavy borrower and
maker of demand upon public savinigs into a situation where
we are in nett credijt. Now the next thing to say about debt
Alan, is that debt is something we have to and I'll say
something about that in a moment. But remember that a lot
Of that debt is good, I mean if I show you the North West
Shelf, magnificent project. A lot of debt is reflected in
that, debt which was incurred to build that. Now that's
earning us foreign income. so we've got to recognise it,
there's a plus in that, But I'm riot complacent about it and
that's why we're pursuing these fiscal policies which are
reducing our demand upon savings so that there will ba a
greater capacity for the Australian private sector to
finance its investors from within Australia.
HOGAN: can I ask you a multiple choice question, Sir? A, B
and C. Is the economy in good Shape, as good as it
Could be or not very good?
PM4: It's in good shape. Any intelligent and committed
community can always do better. It is in infinitely better
shape than it was when we came to office. I mean just a few
facts. Employment growth in our 7 years, five times faster
than it was in the previous 7 years, employment growth under
us, twice as fast as the rest of the world. Economic
growth, twice as fast as it was in the previous period. Now
HOGAN: Interest rates are pretty high too.
PM: But it hasn't reached the peak that it did under the
conservatives and they are coming down.
PM: And as I said Alan, I'm not a masochist or a sadist. I
don't want to hurt myself and I most certainly don't want to
S thiugrhtt yowuarg esv iepwoelrisc. y arBiud t weI whaedr e tisgthitl l fiIsmcpaolr tipnogl icmyo, r e It hhaand we
could pay for. The responsible but the hard thing to do
and it's cost me in political points in the latter part of
last year but what I had to do it I was going to be a
responsible leader was to keep interest rates high with
tough monetary policy. It's working, it working, the
policies are working, demand is coming down and fortunately
the judgement, not just of Bob Hawke but of the banking
industry, is that rates are coming down. We had to do it a
bit tough and I0m sorry. I say to your viewers if there was
an easier way of doing it, it would've been done. The
policies are working and you've got a * table basis for
growth into the future.
HOGAN: TIwo specific policy questions before we go. One on
media ownership, overseas ownership of media. Will you

allow 40% overseas ownership or 20% overseas ownership?
PM: Well I wouldn't think 4o% had a lot of legs. The
HOGAN: But is that a policy statement?
PM: well it is not avoiding you it'R simply saying~
this; that I'm very uunfident of what I think the concern of
Australian's about the ownership of media in general arnd I
think television in particular and what Ralph Willis, the
Minister, is doing is he's coming up with some proposals but
Obviously that's got to go onz hold during the campaign and
HOGAN: So you will not have a policy on that during the
campaign? PK4: I mean the processes of policy formulation on specific
issues and decision making, I mean that process goes ini to
recess. I mean once Monday comes we do not, in the
conventional terms, have the authority to be making
decisions. Ralph Willis will be on the campaign trail like
the rest of my Ministers.
HOGAN: I'm not quite followinyj this, Prime Minister. You
say you're not going to have a policy on overseas ownership
of media?
PM: I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying in terms of the
formulation. I mean the Minister has said that he is
considering the issue and he's going to be bringing
submissions to the cabinet. All I'm saying in that those
processes of Ministers bringing submissions to Cabinet
during a campaign to go to an election, you don't have, by
convention, the Cabinet processes going on. I'm saying that
as soon as the election is over the Minister will come to us
with a proposal as to whether there's got to be a change in
the legislation. I mean there is legislation there. The
position that's been put now is that there are holes in the
legislation which can produce an unintended consequence.
HOGAN: public won't know you're policy on this before
the election?
PM: Not at all. I mean the fact is that we have indicated
that the election that there is a concern here and the
Minister is working on it. But just as all my Ministers on
a range of particular issues would've been preparing
submissions to bring to Cabinet to finalise a new position.
So here, Mr Willis will have to wait until after the
election and we will then make a decision. But I0m qoing to
be busy and Mr Willis is going to be busy in the period
between now and the 24th campaigning then we'll pick up the
process of decision making.

HOGAN: I'm rcluctan. to leaive this altoqether at this
point. But are you clearly saying the public will not know
your policy on overseas ownership of media before the
election? PM: There will not be a finalised position because the
process of decision making involves a minister saying to me
HOGAN: But you can tell him now to make the decision. You
could make the decision for him.
PM: It's not the way I operate. We have Ministers, a very,
very good ministry. I mean if I attempted to make a
decision in every area of every portfolio, what a metss it
would be. Now be realistic, Alan. A minister has to accept
his responsibilities of bringinzg a submission to the
cabinet. That will be brought. There won't be any dodging
of the issue, I can assure you and if there is a need for a
change in the legislation because now while the legislation,
it was said, produced a limit of 20, what has been put now
is that there are loopholes there which could give you
almost unlimited overseas ownership. Well that's not on.
We'll give you that statement now. That is not on and I
will be looking with interest what the Minister brings to
ensure that there are acceptable limits to oversG! e
ownership. HOGAN: A Queensland question before we go. Why is the
Queensland Environment Minister complaining that the Federal
Government isn't doing enough to protect North Queensland's
rainf orests
PM: He's not saying that, that we're not doing enough to
protect the forests. There has been some suggestion I see,
of some difterence, but I've had just same advice this
morning, I can say to you and your viewers that the issues
that have arisen between the Queensland Government and
ourselves will be resolved to the~ satisfaction of both
Bides. HOGAN: That's fortunate going into an election I would
imagine. PH: It's necessary at any time. I mean I have no doubt of
my capacity to work very closely with my good friend, Wayne
Goss. HOGAN: Finally zIir, is it too early to predict the outcome
of this election? Is Labor going to lose seats or win them?
PM: I'm not complacent and cocky about it but I think we
have reason to be confident. I've got to work hard in this
election, I will and so will my Ministers. I see no reason

for losing seats. I see some areas where we can pick them
up but I'll be taking this campaign very seriously.
HOGAN: Prime Hinister, thanks very much for your time.
PM: It's been a pleasure, Alan.
ends HOGAN:

Transcript 7906