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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 8025


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: 16/05/1990

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 8025

JOURNALIST: Well, how are you feeling, Prime Minister?
PM: I'm feeling very well indeed and I'm very pleased to
report that my specialist and physician report that I'm
in excellent health and I'm just going to go and have
this routine operation which 15 a subject which has
caused a certain amount of ribaldry, if I may say so,
amongst my staff who are showing in these matters even
less discipline than Ministers and they are putting up
alternatives as to whether it requires the, as they put
it, the introduction of a Private Member's Bill or,
alternatively, the suspension of Standing Orders. So the
talk such as this I find should be kept of f the record,
but there's no chance of that is there? Now, OK, I'm
afraid I'll be back amongst you even more vibrant than
ever before.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how many lives does Senator
Button have to have?
PM: Does he have to have? Now that assumes that there
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible)
PM: Well, I think he is like all of us. He only has the
one. I had reason to have a yarn to John last night and
I believe that he will adhere to injunctions I gave and
issued and that we won't be having any further public
airing of the differences that had occurred between him
and the Treasurer.
JOURNALIST: But nevertheless he's guilty though, Prime
Minister, of telling truths not lies. Things aren't,
things aren't too good.
PM: Well none of us have tried to say that things, inthe
economic sense, are perfect. But if we, if we go
into the question of the state of the economy, just let
me make a few points about that. Two issues of course,
which are properly concerning all of us and not only in
Government, but amongst the commentators, are current

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account situation and inflationary pressures. Now you've
got to understand that there are certain fundamentals
against which those questions have to be considered and
those are that in recent years, 88 both the Treasurer and
I have been stressing, we've been seeing record
investment levels, we've seen the public account..
public sector in surplus and we've seen a very
significant decline in real unit labour costs. Now those
fundamentals reflect the strategy that we have been
pursuing and also another factor which both Paul and I
have been referring to, we made the paint before and
during the campaign, is the very significant increase in
Australian investment overseas which has gone as, I think
I recall the figures precisely, some $ 7 billion when we
came to office and have gone up to $ 49 billion. Now, of
course, if that hadn't taken, taken account, hadn't
occurred, the impact upon the current account figures
would be and our debt situation would be very, very
different. But I'm making the point that if you're
saying things aren't good and particularly that's in
terms of inflationary pressures and the current account
situation, those observations need to be against the
background of those formidably impressive and favourable
circumstances. And let me say this, that we in fact
believe and not only do we believe but the OECD
observations that have been made about the Australian
economy, we expect this situation to improve. The OECD,
for instance, has made these observations it's said in
respect of the savings investment imbalance, which is at
the heart of the current account problem, said firstly in
regard to housing that you could have a situation in
Australia where housing investment as a proportion of GDP
could fall in Australia and still meet your underlying
demand and they've also recently said that our, our
capital stock could continue to grow faster than GDP. In
other words, have a significant addition to your capital
stock, but with lower business investment figures than we
have had in relation to GDP at the present time. Also,
looking to the savings situation, let me say that as a
result of two factors, we expect the private saving
situation to improve in the period ahead. Firstly
because of the impact of the changes that we've made in
regard to superannuation and I and the Treasurer have
spelt those out in considerable detail before and we also
expect there'll be a more sober use of credit in the
years ahead. So, when you take into account the fact
that we are going to see continued public sector
restraint, we believe that the current account has
considerable scope for improvement in the period ahead.
You've got to remember that, as I've said, that the
public sector is in surplus compared with what has
historically been something like two and a half percent
of GDP demand upon community savings and that fundamental
shift in the public sector, of course, has fundamental
significance for-the current account deficit. So I
apologise, in a sense, for taking so long, David, in
going to what you're saying but it's not a question, in
other words, of Senator Button having a view that things

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are tough and others not acknowledging that fact. I am
saying that this Government has a strategy to deal with
the two fundamentals of the current account and inflation
and we believe that that strategy is going to work and
that has, of course, implications for us presently. It
means that we, if we are going to continue to be able to
claim the benefit of those circumstances, there's the
obligation which is upon us now to ensure that in this
period ahead fiscal policy remains tight. And, of
course, that's the very period we're getting into now as
we begin the preparatory processes for the Budget and I
can assure you that fiscal restraint will be continued.
JOURNALIST: Did you find it surprising that Mr Keating
did not consult with you before launching his attack on
Senator Button
PM: No
JOURNALIST: And what was the explanation if you didn't
find it surprising, why not..
PM: Well, I didn't regard it as an odd thing to do.
Paul and I have a very, very close and, I believe,
effective working relationship which has been
demonstrated particularly in the area of economic
management over the seven years that we have been in
office and it wasn't as though we haven't had discussions
about these sort of issues more generally and I felt that
he was entitled to make the observations that he did and
I've said that before I'm not now saying something new
but it having happened I've tried to make clear to all
of the Ministers in terms of what I said in the Caucus,
Michelle, that I think the time has come for an end to
this public airing of differences of emphasis.
JOURNALIST: get back to Warwick's question. If
Senator Button is again publicly critical of the
Government's performance or policy, will he stay in the
Ministry? PM: I would think that the Senator understands full well
that there is to be no repeat.
JOURNALIST: Do you expect to be in your Ministry at
the end of the year, Mr Hawke?
PM: Yes, I would expect so.
PM: Sure.
JOURNALIST: Rand Corporation report in the Telegraph
this morning. Would your Government be prepared to speak
with the United States Government on possible relocation
of equipment and personnel to Australia 10 1 VU 1' Q no. ouzo r. oo

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PM: Well, I notice, Amanda, that your paper headlined
the story today as though they'd found something new and
exclusive and I with the great respect which I mean
that I have for your paper, I must point out and I hope
it's done gently and is a bit of a down that not only
am I aware of the report, but I'm advised that that Rand
report is more than a year old and has been available
publicly since last December.
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible)
PM: No, no but nor however is it quite entitled to
receive the, the exclusivity of a scoop that was
suggested by today's headlines. Let me just make these
points about it before going directly to answer your
question, Amanda. Let me make the point, the obvious
point that the Rand Corporation is, of course, a private
organisation and it doesn't, can't speak for the* United
States Government and in any case the report does not
identify Australia as a preferred option, but it
dominates Australia as a number, as one of a number of
possibilities. But the fact is this, Amanda, that there
have not been any approaches to the Australian Government
by the United States Government on the issues raised in
the report, No approaches at all and the negotiations
between the United States and the Philippines Government
are at 8 very, very early stage of discussion. There is
no reason to believe at this point, no reason to believe
at this point, that they won't lead to a conclusion that
would mean a continuation of agreement for United States
bases in the Philippines beyond 1991. But this is a
totally hypothetical question.
JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, do you accept the OECD's view that
Australians spend too much on their houses?
PM: Well, the, from the OECD perspective I can
understand that because Australians have a, as those of
you and that includes all of you who have travelled to
Europe will have noticed we have a quite different
perspective about housing. We essentially have been
brought up on the tradition of the separate quarter acre
block and, by definition, that involves expenditures and
outlays greater than a pattern of housing which is more
of a medium density type. N4ow I don't think it's a
question really of saying for the OECD to say we
spend too much, but I have said before as you know, I'm
on the record, so are some of my other Ministers as
saying it makes a lot of sense, I believe, for Australia
to examine whether we should so automatically almost be
locked into the traditional housing approach. Now we've
gone further than to say it's a sensible thing to look at
it. We, in discussion with the States and Local
Government who share that view with us, have initiated
processes whereby we will be testing out In Australia the
acceptability for people of more medium density housing.
This has obvious advantages of placing people closer to
places of employment and closer to places of recreation
10 1 V-0 ZIV IV.; 70 no. ov: 7 r,. V, 4

and entertainment. Now I don't mean by that that for
those for whom this is the, the only acceptable form of
housing that it won't be the way for them, but I think if
there's one thing that's certain, it is that in the
period ahead in Australia the rest of this century and
as we go into the next you will see a change in the, in
the pattern of housing. You'll still have separate
quarter acre blocks, but I think you'll have more medium
density, density housing.
JOURNALIST: You are reported as having told Caucus
yesterday that because you didn't kick heads, this was
not to be seen as a sign of weakness. Would you say that
that was the case and why you felt the need to say it?
PM: Yes, I've examined with a great deal of amusement,
particularly of course in the Financial Review whose
writer in particular has a propensity to raise this issue
about leadership more often than others, been doing it,
people have been doing it for seven years. But this
gazing at the entrails picking over the words, now why
did he say that? Why this amuses me, but I, when I
go into Caucus usually have a few notes prepared. Notes
that were prepared had nothing on this subject I just
scribbled a couple of things on the bottom of that myself
as a, just thought prompters to lead me to say a few
words to the Caucus at the end of my comments on the
economy. Now that was it, you know, just a couple of
notes. There was no premeditation in making the
observation about my style of leadership. It was just in
the course of making what I thought was required of me as
leader in talking to my Caucus somne observations about
recent events. And I just wanted all of the Caucus,
including Ministers, to understand in the course of
making that point that although, as was now well
established after seven years, I am not a person who is a
martinet, I don't try and get the best out of my
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the beginning and the end of it, but I suppose anything
for a headline and anything for a story.
JOURNALIST: On the bases question, Mr Hawke, is the
Government open to approaches from the United States on
the upgrading of military facilities here or relocation
of facilities..
PM: Look we have a very close relationship with the
United States. They can raise any matter with us they
like, they can raise any matter they like, but on this
issue just let me make the obvious point if you are
talking about bases just one obvious point apart from
anything else because I don't think the issue will arise.
Let me make that quite clear. I don't think there will
be any suggestion of the United States approaching us.
But if they want to raise any question, the nature of our
relationship is that they can and should raise any
question on it. I don't think they will, I don't think

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the question of bases in Australia will arise. Let me
make one obvious point that our adherence to the South
Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty would preclude, as you
would appreciate, the stationing of nuclear armaments on,
on Australian soil.
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, one of the unfortunate
aspects of Monday's slapping-down of John Button by Paul
Keating is that in saying that the Minister has failed
with his car plan he's really saying that the Government
itself has failed in this key area of mlicroeconomic
reform. PM: Well, no, Paul if you're going to say that you've
got to look at everything that Paul Keating said, both at
that conference and what he said subsequently. On the
Monday itself Mr Keating went out of his way admittedly
it was on the third page of the transcript and not the
first, but nevertheless it wa there in the same
conference he went out of his way to be laudatory of
Senator Button's achievements, including in the car
industry and in industry generally. And of course as you
know in the Parliament yesterday he went further. So
there has been significant achievements in the car
industry. You'll recall the figures that the Treasurer
used yesterday that when we came to of fice effective
protection in the motor vehicle industry was 250% and
we've brought that down from 250% to under 100%. I think
it's about 80-odd per cent. Now you can't have that
massive reduction and talk about a lack of achievement.
But the important point for the future is that all of us
recognise, not only Paul and myself but Senator Button
and the rest of the Cabinet, that more has to be done.
And more will be done.
JOURNALIST: you haven't spoken to Senator Walsh in
the same as you've spoken to Senator Button, why is
that given the
PM: A very simple reason. Senator Button is a Minister.
Senator Walsh is not.
JOURNALIST: But he made some very damaging comments
about.. PM: You do understand that there is a certain thing
called Cabinet solidarity and so on and Cabinet
responsibilities which by definition don't have the same
application as someone who's not a member of the Cabinet
or the Ministry. I've had a discussion with Senator
Walsh and I made clear at the time that discussion, as
far as I'm concerned, is private. I said to Senator
Walsh the things that I thought were appropriate to be
said to Senator Walsh.
JOURNALIST: Are you satisfied that Mr Keating
understands that distinction too, Cabinet solidarity and
all that? 10 1 V; 2 9 Vo ID-Do N0.00D r-00

n 3 rmav oOrr xfz c vnrqv rT-L. i v r-v = r 7
PM: Indeed. If you want to look at Mr Keating's record,
Mr Keating's record I think is impeccable in the seven
years of this Government in terms of confidentiality
about proceedings of Cabinet and of public as well as
private commitment to the decisions of the Cabinet.
JOURNALIST:* But you acknowledge that he breached Cabinet
solidarity on Monday.
PM: You can describe it that way if you wish. I'm
saying that, as I sald before, I understood the
circumstances in which, confronted with what he was
confronted with, he felt it necessary to make a
rejoinder. I've said that.
JOURNALIST: Do you concede that all this cou ld have been
prevented if you'd stepped in earlier and silenced your
Ministers? PM: Well, if I'd attempted to impose in the first,
second, third, now into the fourth Hawke Government some
trappist, vow of trappist silence, if I'd attempted to do
that it was open to me to attempt to do that but it's
simply not my style of leadership. I believe that it's
appropriate for ministers to be able to speak. But I've
tried to impress upon them that they should essentially
it's not always the case but essentially they should
adhere to their own area of responsibility. I simply say
here now as I go into my eighth year of Prime
Ministership that I'll stand on the record of how that
has worked. it has worked well in terms of the processes
of decision-making, the actual decisions themselves, and
generally speaking the commnunication of those decisions
to the public. Obviously you can always do better in
communications than you have actually done. There's
always room for improvement. But over the seven years
it's, I think, been remarkably successful. And may I say
basically there's been a remarkable cohesion in the
Cabinet. Importantly that'. not only my judgement but
it's the judgement of your comrades. in fact if you read
the press in the last day or so they are saying really
why this sticks out at the moment is because it's against
the background of a remarkable degree of cohesion in the
period of the Hawke Government, and it stands out the
more. Now it having been a strength in the past, I'm not
going to see that strength dissipated. Enough is enough
and I've made it clear and I won't tolerate any egregious
breaking of the injunction that I've given to my
ministers. JOURNALIST:-Why do you think it has happened at this..
Prime Minister? Why do you think this lack of discipline
has occurred?
PM: Well as I said, we're now going into the, as I put
it * to the Caucus, the unchartered waters of a fourth
successive government. I don't know whether some
IQ I VU 9VV 1; NO VV__ 7 r or

1eOP0.50 1~ 55a NO. 005 P. 0e
Ministers may have felt that there was an invincibility
about us or that now we didn't have to exeroise the same
sort of disciplines we had in the past. it may have just
been the post-election let down probably the answer
more then anything else. But it's not going to be
accepted by me, it's got to come to an end.
JOURNALIST: What are you going to do if the wool
Industry decides to leave the exactly where it is
PM: Well I would hope Paul that the wool industry will
understand that they have a responsibility to the whole
of their members and to this country and that they have
got to be making decisions which are valid for the medium
and to long term. That's what underlies the approach
that we've taken in decisions we made and which I
understand that the Opposition now supports. Mr Icerin
will be talking with the industry and I would rather at
this stage assume that they are going to see good sense
in this matter. if they don't well then we'll have to
consider it at that time. But I would hope that when
they're confronted, as I understand they will now
situation of a common Government and Opposition position
that they will understand what needs to be done.
JOURNALIST: Post-election, did you offer Senator Button
the position of High Commissioner to London and is that
offer still open?
PM: The answer to that is, very simply, Whatever
discussions I have with my Ministers on this or any other
sort of matter is confidential between the Minister and
myself. JOURNALIST: Returning medical.
PM: Oh yes, yes.
JOURNALIST: Very often when these reminders of our
mortality come to us we take a longer term perspective.
Now you are committed to what will be tan years in the
Lodge. PM: Yes.
JOURNALIST: It's a long time, hard yakka. You've got an
able replacement Time for a rethink
PM: No not at all. I'm thrilled actually with the
diagnosis that's been made of me by the gentlemen who are
professional and expert in this matter and
JOURNALIST: Are you talking about doctors here or
politicians? PM: I'm referring to the guts, if I may say so, of your
question. It's a matter of pride to me the diagnosis

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they made of my physical condition. Modesty forbids me
from telling you exactly, either in the general or in the
specifics, about their diagnosis. But I'm ani
extraordinarily fit 60 year old. So there is not only no
reason, medical reason for rethink, but on the contrary
the analysis that they've made of my physical condition
gives me cause to, if anything, to think of longer
reflective.. But not necessarily in The Lodge.
JOURNALIST: don't have any spine problems
P14: No, they discovered one and they thought it was in
very very sound condition.
JOURNALIST: stay full term.
PM: Yes.
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PM: Amanda, these things get somewhat delicate, and you
know I have a long record of delicacy. Let me put it
this way. There was one very very crowded function where
I couldn't give them my immediate attention. I needed a
little bit of relief before I was able to concentrate
fully upon them.
JOURNALIST: ( inaudible)
PM: It was at a hospital. It was at the Repat Hospital
in Sydney...
JOURNALIST: Do you have any advice to Paul Keating as to
how to handle the of Acting Prime Minister?
PM: s I think low-key is what well did he not act low-0
keexyc. e lleIn mt ealno w-hkee'ys djoonbe whiit leo ncIe waasn d reIp rtehsiennkt ihneg ditdh ean
country in Gallipoli. I would imagine that he would, I
would be very surprised if he wasn't low-key actually.
JOURNALIST: Is it going to be possible for the
Government to living standards generally and real
wages in particular in this next three years and you
find any specific point that Senator Button made over the
weekend objectionable?
PM; I'm not just going to the last part of your
question first I'm not reviving the weekend's events
It would be a very unintelligent thing for me to do.
But as to the first part of your question, what you've
got to understand is that as far as the question of
living standards is concerned, they are determined by
essentially these matters. They are determined by
employment whether you've got a job or not. Secondly
by wages. Thirdly by taxes. Fourthly by pattern of
Social service expenditures. If you look therefore in

r rl. rtMCOV Orr I CC CrMr' TCL_ 1 1* VZrz
respect of those in employment, we are in the midst of
the ' 89-90 wage-tax deal and so with the cobination of
the wage increases that will flow out of that and the
reduction in taxes for those in employment and given the
assumptions about prices, which is of course the other
element in real living standards, one can mee some
marginal real improvements taking wage movements, tax
movements, prices together. Now if you therefore want to
move to the next step and try and get come sort of
aggregate figure you've got to ask yourself what is going
to happen to employment. Well obviously there is going
to be a slowdown in the rate of employment growth. We
had a situation 12 months ago where employment was
growing at five per cent per annum. That's not.
sustainable. The 12 months to April figure are 2.7%.
That's the latest annualised rate of growth. So it's
still a significant rate of growth and is consistent of
course with the analysis that I and the Treasurer are
making of how we see the soft landing outcome. That is
consistent with some marginal increase in the
unemployment rate. You can't in the end be dogmatic
about that because it depends, you know, the bit variable
in that is the participation rate which is quite a
volatile figure and which is currently at a very high
level. So those in employment, you would see a marginal
improvement in living standards. And of course as for as
the rest of the community is concerned, you are aware of
what we have in inflation terms of the significant
improvements over the past in the value and then the
maintenance of the value and the real benefits of those
entitlements. JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, the changing pattern in housing
that you mentioned, over what period do you see this
happening and do you foresee redevelopment in areas?
PM: That's in fact going on and I referred to decisions
that we've made with the State Governments actually to
fund pilot projects of that sort. Now this is in fact
happening and the interesting thing from my point of view
is that there has been a positive response both from
State Governments and Local Governments to the need to
make the changes necessary to facilitate this sort of
development. Barriers to it in the past have been
regulations of Local Government and some attitudes of
State Governments. But there is an acceptance of the
need for change in that area and there is cooperation
with State and Local Governments in the development of
these pilot projects. Now my assumption Is that as pilot
projects come into being and are seen to be successful, I
think you will see a growth in this movement. Now to try
and put a precise figure on the rate of change is not
sensible other than to say I'm sure that it will move in
the direction that I've been talking about.
JOURNALIST: Will you sack Senator Button if he steps out
of line again? IV 0 vz 0 IV IV7.) NO OOV r

F. M.' S FrE55 OFFICE CRNB TEL: 01-Q0Z-T, 3Z9Z3 1I', 05990 15: 53 NO. 005 F. 11
PM: That question's already been asked and answered.
JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, do the recent comments by Senator
Button and any number of other Ministers reflect a
growing uncertainty or loss of faith in the Cabinet about
the effectiveness of the Government's economic policy?
PM: No, I don't believe so. Let me say that, a I think
I indicated before, Julie, that there is no doubt that
the country faces the sorts of problems that I talked
about which essentially come under the headings of the
current account problem and the inflationary pressure
problem. I think Ministers are aware that it's a bit
disconcerting to them that it is the case but they are
aware of the fact, I think, that we face in this upcoming
Budget round some more difficult decisions in expenditure
restraint. It is the case that they get harder each time
by definition and we've done the relatively easy
expenditure cutting in the early years and so each year
you get on and you've got to do some more, it gets harder
and I think they find that a little bit upsetting and
disconcerting. But I think there is a basic faith in the
members of the Cabinet and indeed of the Caucus that the
essential strategy that we've got is right and we're just
going to have to have the courage to keep on making the
necessary decisions in the current period to sustain that
strategy and an essential part of that is a maintained
fiscal restraint, and we'll do it. We'll require it of
ourselves and of the States.
JOURNALIST: Not including fiscal restraint.
PM: Continuing fiscal restraint.
JOURNALIST: Does that mean a Budget surplus of more than
the current
PM: it means a significant Budget surplus.
JOURNALIST: Do you think you've out Senator Walsh
in that process?
PM: If you've got a question about Senator Walsh's
physical condition then you should address the question
to him.
JOURNALIST: One of the other problems that's been
getting more of an airing is the
PM: One of the?
JOURNALIST: Immigration's been getting an airing by
Senator Walsh and others, Do you welcome any new public
debate and whet about the suggestion that the ethnic
groups have got too much power with the..
PM: I welcome any informed and unprejudiced debate in
this country about immigration. Probably more than any

n ' a r-mcvo orr-Xcc VrzrnD 7a" L. 12
one in this Parliament, I have been associated with the
development of Australia's immigration policy. I sy
that on the basis of the fact to my earliest days of the
ACTU as 8 research officer then as president. I was very
much involved with the trade union movement, in
cooperation with the then conservative governments, in
trying to have a bipartisan policy. I did a lot of work
both as research officer end then as president of the
ACTU in ensuring that the labour movement, in its broader
sense, would be supportive of an expansionary immigration
Policy. I played an important role in that and as you've
heard me may before, indeed one of the things that
impelled me into joining the Labor Party back in 1947, my
first year at university, was the sense of excitement
that I had as a young man then in what the then Labor
Government was doing in undertaking that vast immigration
policy. I saw it as something in which was going to be
fundamental to the future of this country. So more than
anyone in this Parliament I have a commitment to
immigration and what it has meant for this country. But
that doesn't mean that I think that there is a sacredness
about this issue which precludes debate that this is
merely a matter for the Govern ' ment on high saying here's
what the figure is, all the rest of you people accept it.
On the contrary it's because I understand what the
importance of immigration has been to the very nature and
quality of Australia that I welcome discussion and
informed and non prejudiced debate in the community. I
will expect my Minister to come to the Cabinet with
detailed proposals about next targets and I look forward
at the end of the year, it's in November, to the
conference which is being organised by the research unit
of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. We
can only as a country, in my judgemnent, be improved as a
society if, a8 a society, we discuss this issue,
understand what the contribution of immigration has been
in the past to Australia, to understand that that
contribution has been not merely economic but it's been
social, it has gone to the whole question of what sort of
country we are. We are a richer, more diverse, better
country now because of the fact that we have been a
country of large immigration. Now we've got to ask
ourselves what's the best way on that magnificent basis
that we've built in now getting on for half a century of
this sort of approach, what' 8 the sort of decision that
is best called for now and always in that debate economic
considerations are going to be important. From the very
beginning when the concept of massive post-war
immigration was conceived by the Curtin end Chifley Labor
Governments, economic capacities and economic
implications were at the very centrality of their
consideration and they must remain so. There is
legitimate room for difference about the economic
implications of immigration both in the immediate term
and in the medium and the longer term, very legitimate
grounds for differences of opinion as to economic
implications. We'll be better off as a society if we
have these discussions out in the open without rancour
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n-. 1 a frMC-OV Or-r ICC CnNDi TEL-vi~ O T ZZ rio. vo= r; i
and with respect to the opinions of one another, there i-s
only one factor in which I will no discuasion and
that, as far as I'm concerned, and that is any
proposition based upon racism. Any proposition, any~
element in the debate that some people, some group of
people are second class or third class human beings.
That element of the debate as far as I'm concerned will
not be tolerated. Everything else is legitimately and
properly on the table and I will encourage it.
JOURNALIST: How well informed and unprejudiced is the
current level of debate?
PM: I think generally speaking it is unprejudiced. I
think those who have a racial prejudice are in a minority
in the country. In the area of economic debate, there's
always room for improvement and indeed it is the case
simply that economists are divided upon the issue and
that's why as far as I'm concerned the more debate, the
better about this.
JOURNALIST: What about the second part of Amanda's
question when she apparent influence of the ethnic
lobby? PM: I'm sorry, yes I overlooked that. No I don't think
they have an undue influence. It Is appropriate that
governments and oppositions as they have in this period
which is now nearly half a century old in this
country, I think governments and oppositions have always
listened to what representatives of their community have
got to say, I think that's a proper part of the
democratic process and indeed this should be of special
encouragement to our newer citizens to make them know
that we want to hear what they've got to Bay. But as far
as I'm concerned they won't have an undue influence. I
and my Minister will want to hear what they've got to
say. In the end their voice will be one of several in us
coming to our final decision. I must go I'm sorry.
ends 10POVOVO 1 1-. 7 N 0 V 0 V r 1 1.7

Transcript 8025