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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 8126


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: 13/09/1990

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 8126

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LYNEHAM: Prime Minister, thanks for joining us.
PM: Pleasure Paul.
LYNEHAM: When one of Britain's leading bookies has
Athens first at 7 to 4 on and Melbourne third at 10 to 1,
doesn't that tell a betting man like you that Melbourne's
a heck of a long shot?
PM: Bookies have been wrong before.
LYNEHAM: I know they hove but this is, they've had a lot
of time to think about this.
PM: Yes, well they don't always get it right. The
expectation is that we will do well, that we should do
well in the first round end then if you've got enough
votes in the f irst round to stay in and we expect that
we will certainly do that then I think we can pick up a
lot of votes af ter that.
LYNEHAM: Well how would you set Melbourne's
PM: I am not going to accept that challenge at this
stage. I don't know enough yet from being subjected to
the people who are actually going to exercise the votes.
If you would ask me that question on Monday night,
Tuesday morning, I might be in a better position to.
LYNEHAM: How potent is the fact that Athens is the
sentimental favourite given that it's the centenary of
the what is it the 1896 Athens Games?
PM: It must operate in their favour. There's no doubt
in my mind and I try to be as unprejudiced as I can
about this there's no doubt on the intrinsic merits of
the candidate cities that Melbourne is the best placed.
It has a large city, it has 11 of the 13 Olympic
facilities required already in place, it has a stadium
that can seat 102,000 people there in place. No-one else
has got that. The facilities are all within 6 kms of the
centre of the city in parkianda and it's got all the
infrastructure, great communications facilities, as you

know, and importantly it's got the unqualified support of
all levels of Government and the business sector and of
the trade union movement. Environmentally it's more
acceptable then any other city. So intrinsically we're
very well placed.
LYNEHAM: Well let's just pause for a minute and have a
look at how the issues appear in Melbourne tonight, as my
colleague, Ian Hensohike, reports.
FM: Sure.
( Melbourne report)
L'INEHAM: Well Prime Minister, did you notice the
suggestion there from Robert Hudson. of ACOSS that
Canberra should underwrite the facilities because the
Commonwealth will be the main beneficiary?
0 PM: Yes, I noticed it.
LYNSHAM: Any merit in that?
PM: No. The Victorian Government didn't seek that nor
is it appropriate. What Kevin Gosper had to say was
right. It's a conservatively budgeted approach and there
is no reason to believe in the intrinsic capacity of
Melbourne to stage a successful Games. on the
experience of the last two that there shouldn't be a
prof it out of it.
PM: Only a week ago Paul Keating was saying we were now
a poor country that could not afford a huge increase in
Public sector infrastructure or anything else as a matter
of fact. How does that gel with the commitment to kick
in $ 125M of taxpayers money?
PM: Well that's spread over a considerable period of
years. The Games aren't until 1996 and that will create
a permanent sporting structure in the South Melbourne
area which will be of continued value, . not only to the
people of Melbourne but the people of Australia. Paul
has not said at any stage, nor have 1, that in this
country we don't have to continue to invest. We regard
that as an appropriate investment in an enterprise which
will be to the economic benefit of Australia as a whole.
That's no doubt that Australia will benefit enormously
from the. Games.
LYNEHAM: Then what of those who say we need bread rather
circus' now? I mean if you put $ 125M into say hi-tech
industry development, wouldn't that be a better gain down
the track?
PM: Well if I hadn't in fact made an enormous increase
in the public funding in science and research in this
Country perhaps that irrelevancy might be worth note of..
But the scientific community in this-* country has recently

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indicated its mark of gratitude for what this Government
has done by honour extended to me. go there is
the recognition that we have acted in that area. I mean
I must say that f rankly this negativism that I see in
some quarters, you know, gives me the irrits. It's a
very short-sighted sort of attitude.
LYNEHAM: You seem a bit irritated, don'It you?
PM: No I'm not irritated with life generally but when I
see LYNEHA4: It's Peter Walsh that's got under your skin,
isn't it?
PM: No he doesn't get under my skin. I mean I just gave
him what he deserved.
LYNEIIAM: He never lets a few facts get in the way of his
0 well developed prejudices?
PM: Yes, that's right.
LYNEHAM: You're fed up with him obviously, aren't you?
PM: Well as I said in my answer in the Par liament, for a
muan who prides himself on his intellectual astringency,
he never let's a few facts get in the way of his well
developed prejudices. He doesn't.
LYNEHA4: But he says when he was in Cabinet he said no
to this $ 125M. I mean you and the rest of them voted him
down. PM: Well Walsh may want to talk about what happened in
the Cabinet and exercise, to some extent, his
imagination. I'm not going to go into that.
S LYNEHAM: Your claim that Melbourne's win will be another
excuse for him to drown his bitter sorrow. That's a
fairly hard punch isn't it, raising his drinking as an
issue? PM: He is one who enters into this area of saying that
he'll be praying and hoping and celebrating if we don't
get it. He doesn't need much excuse for his celebration
LYNEHAM: Do you think he's damaged Melbourne's chance?
PM: I would think that the people on the International
Olympic Committee would pay the attention to him that he
deserves, which is zilch.
LYNEIIAM: But how do we know he's9 wrong when he says that
the Victorian Government could have got Its sums wrong
because they are not first prize winners in the past, are
they, the Cain Government?

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PM: Let me repeat what I said in the Parliament, facts
of course, which he's not interested in. But the
proposals that came up from the Victorian Government were
examined by an interdepartmental committee, including the
Department of Finance. It was on the basis of what they
said that we were able to make the decision that we did.
So I'd rather take the attitude of an independent
interdepartmental committee than the observations of a
man who is consumed by bitterness.
LYNEIA: But look, the National Tennis Centre, the
original cost of that's blown out from $ 67M to Sg4M. Now
we find running costs were grossly underestimated,
they're looking for a capital injection from the State
Government of $ 40M just to keep it going. I mean that's
a bit of a worry, isn't it?.
PM: That's something which is specific to the Tennis
Stadium and the running of that. I'Im not interested in
that. What we examined was the bid for the Olympics in
1996. LYNEHA4: If you'd known then what you know now about the
Cain Government's economic problems, would you have had
second thoughts then do you think?
PM: We would've made the same decision.
LYNEHAM: On another subject, the listing of the
borrowing limit on the Australian Wool Corporation. If
you can't say how much they'll need in the end, why isn't
it the case that you might be handing them a blank
cheque? PM: We've got to make the decisions which most
calculated to ensure that we protect this important
industry. We've taken all the facts into consideration
and we'Ive made what we regard as the appropriate
decision, and I'm sure It is.
LYNEHAM: What does it say though about the industry that
three months after the dropping of the floor price John
Kerin has to urge them to stop sniping and speculating
and to produce some business plans? I mean does that
sound like professional
PM: It. says that there are some rather silly people in
the wool industry who are playing some internal politics
rather than concentrating on what should be their major
concern, that is to ensure the survival and the
subsequent expansion of their industry.
LYNEHAM: Internal politics at their own expense?
PM: Exactly. IV -Z7 1 70 xv " 0 Mc 0 1

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LYNEHAM: Telecommunications, Prime Minister. If as Paul
Keating said yesterday, the duopoly arrangement the
Government's proposing is transient, what does the
permanent situation look like, from the lateral point?
PM: Just get this in perspective. People are jumping up
and down. I see headlines in papers that Paul Keating
has said the duopoly will be transient. There's nothing
new about this. This has been said by Kim Beazley in all
the discussions that he's been having with various people
in the
LYNEHAM: Alright. So where are we going then?
PM: But I'm just in other words let me Commentary
upon, you know, the observers. They think they found
something new. I mean if they really did their homework
they'd understand that this has been made quick clear.
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that's coming in to take on Telecom and it'll be both
on the domestic scene and internationally -there'll be
freer competition. Now that's going to involve a very,
very considerable level of investment. We believe that
that competitor needs a reasonable period of time to be
able to establish itself, to be able to take on with
confidence a degree of investment. It'll be necessary to
take on the entrenched Telecom. Now we will review that.
We'll give them a specific amount of time, a minimum, and
that'll be decided by the Cabinet. It'll be a period of
time sufficient for them to have the confidence to
establish themselves and then after that, when we review
it, we'd say OK now you're established and there should
be no reason why other competitors couldn't come in. Now
we'll decide that as we go along.
LYNEHAM: How many others?
S PM: Well that essentially would be for the market.
LYNERAM: On the changes that you are putting to the
special conference, do you agree with Bob Hogg that if
they don't get through that the future of the Government
could be in jeopardy, there are no nuclear shelters on
this one?
PM: I believe that what the Government is proposing will
get through. So I'm not speculating.
LYNEHAM: And what's the decision making timetable on
Qantas and Australian? When do you tackle that one?
PM: Well when we get the decision from the conference
that we want then we will move very quickly to make the
decisions on that. 10902* VQ xv

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LYNEHAM: So you're going to the conference with the inprinciple
decision you have now, no more detailed
proposal? PM: The position that we have in our mind is quite
clear. All the people at the conference know what that
position will be. Once we get the decision of the
conference the processes of Government can go ahead and
we will make the administrative and the legislative
changes that are necessary.
LYNEHAM: Unless I'm mistaken your public position is
you'll be selling at least 49% of each airline?
PM: Yes.
LYNEHAM: Well that's hardly definitive. I mean at least
PM: When we go into that conference and that's what's
important, not you Paul when we go into the conference
the people who are voting will know what
LYNEHAM: So you make the announcement at the conference?
PM: They will know what they're voting on, Paul.
LYNEHAM: Because if you only sell half of Australian you
still have the responsibility for half its capital
funding problems now and into the future, don't you?
PM: Indeed you do.
LYNEHAM: So you get the money, put it straight back in
and you end up with nothing. Not very attractive is it?
PM: No.
LYNEHA4: Have you noticed the Telecom documdnt titled,
" Carrier Competition and Prices Winners and Losers"? It
lists the losers as small businesses and many residential
and rural subscribers. What do you think of that?
PM: It's not accurate.
LYNEHAM: Are you sure there'll be no losers?
PM: It's not accurate.
LYNEHAM: But the greater the competition, the greater
the pressure surely to align charges with real costs?
PM: This is a profitable industry. It is an industry in
which new technology is increasingly becoming available
which enables things to be done more efficiently than
they were able to be done before. The situation is that
we will ensure, by, the arrangements that we make, that
the benefits of coumpetition and the new technology will
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be passed on to consumers and we will have a regulatory
framework in Austal to ensure that that happens.
LYNEHAM: So we won't have that situation we had overseas
where business benefited from cheaper trunk calls but
domestic users end up finding they were paying more
overall? PM: There will certainly be very con.~ iderable benefits
on STD which apply to non-business people. It applies to
individuals as it does to business. So everyone will
benefit there and we will have, as the Minister has made
quite clear, a continuation of the CPI minus X formula
which has been there to protect consumers in the past and
will continue to do so.
LYNEHAM: On industrial relations, is the ACTU keeping
its side of accord mark six by its current wage campaign,
including next Wednesday's national strike in the metal
PM: I don't approve of the strike that's being proposed
and I've made that quite clear and I think that's
understood by the ACTU. The important thing as far as
the Australian people are concerned is that the ACTU have
unequivocally repeated its commitment to the Government
to have the aggregate outcome that we've been talking
about for 1991, the national aggregate outcome. They
will not go beyond that.
LYNEHAM: But how does that then gel with their claim in
the metal industry for 0% productivity payment?
PM: Well that's a claim but what I'm saying is that they
can regulate outcomes and they have given the Government
the undertaking that the aggregate outcome that they
committed themselves to at the beginning of the year
and on the basis of which we made the agreement will be
adhered to by them. You've got to remember this; that
for seven years now they have delivered on their promise
on wages outcomes. We have no reason to believe on the
historical background that they will not again deliver.
LYNEHAM: And the section of the accord that states that
the wage case must remain the focus of the nation's wage
system? PM: Well how, that works out is to be seen. But what I'm
saying is that in terms of the mana~ gement of the
Australian economy, what is important for the welfare of
the Australian people is that the ACTU keeps to its
commitment on national aggregated wages outcome. I
repeat, they have kept to that commitment for seven
years, I have no reason to believe they're not going to
keep to it again.
LYNEHAM: Finally Prime Minister, the perennial question
of your:%. own future

S p 8
PM: Not perennial. I mean it hardly gets mentioned
except when I come on the occasional program.
LYNEHAM: Alright. Well look
PM: Pretty boring.
LYNEHAM: Next year will be the centenary conference, an
historic occasion.
PM: Yes.
LYNEHAM: You know this is being talked about as well as
I. PM: The historic conference, yes.
LYNEHAM: Well the prospect that you might then be
4tempted to do a Neville Wran?
PM: First time I've heard of that.
LYNEHAM: The first time you've ever heard it?
PM: Yes, the first time I've heard that.
LYNEHAM: Well look, isn't it a political impossibility
to go to the next election saying vote for me and I'll be
stepping down for Paul Keating some time
PM: That assumes that either that you never take office
or you never leave office. You've got to leave office at
some stage.
LYNEHAM: But if you left before the next election he
could have a go on his own terms, couldn't he?
PM: Well if I left after the next election he could do
it then, couldn't he.
LYNEHAM: But it doesn't muddy the campaign at all? Vote
for me and have Paul Keating as Prime Minister?
PM: Well I wouldn't think so. At some stage I'm going
to have to stand down. That stage is not yet.
LYNEHAM: And you're still sure that Paul Keating's the
heir apparent?
PM: I have no reason to change my view on that. No
reason at all.
LYNEHAM: Thanks for your time.
PM: OK, thanks.

Transcript 8126