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Transcript of interview with Charles Gibson: Good Morning America: 13 May 1993

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(Embargoed until 8.00pm, 14 May 1993)



CG: Why are you so anxious to cut the ties to England? Is this an issue of symbolism or does it have real political impact?

PM: I think the symbolism ma tt ers because the country , I think, wants to pursue a destiny, its destiny, and can really best do that when it is ve ry clear about what it is, what it stands for, and who represents it. I think one can't do that, fully, completely adequately, with our Head of State

being the monarch of Great Britain.

CG: It goes to a question of positioning, really, doesn't it? It raises the question of whether Australia essentially is an Asian nation, or whether it is tied primarily to the West and to Europe?

PM: Well it is a multicultural count ry in Asia. It is not an Asian country. But it is ce rtainly a country in Asia and it is a very different count ry than it was 50 or 100 years ago. There's never a perfect time for these things to be raised; this is as good a time as any and it is a time when, I think, Australians are making the big leap into the Asia-Pacific as never

before, indeed we've opened the whole country up to the world, and we want to pursue our destiny ourselves.

CG: As you pull away from England, does that also mean that you pull away from the United States?

PM: I don't think so. I think that the United States relationship has always been a warm one. It has been a particularly friendly one, all the period since the Second World War.

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CG: Do you think the US in anyway takes the Australian relationship for -granted?

PM: I think good friends tend to do that with most relationships. I think the US probably takes us for granted a bit and we the United States. But it is probably a tribute to how good our relationship is.

CG: Are you siding more, do you find yourself aligning yourself more with the Japanese in trade issues now than the United States?

PM: No, I think we would have been far more closely aligned in institutional terms with the United States than perhaps any other country. But it's still worth recalling that the great preponderance of our trade is with Japan. So in a sense we have, you know, a dichotomy of interests here,

but again, we can straddle more than one at a time.

CG: Do you see a threat of protectionism creeping into the United States' rhetoric on trade?

PM: I make this point to you, the US has got about $200 billion of trade in the Atlantic, it has got about $300 billion in the Pacific - the Pacific is the area of high income growth, Europe is the area of low income growth. So what we want to do is say to the US don't be too mournful about

NATO waving goodbye, don't be too upset at newfound European independence, come over here where the growth is greater, where people really want you, where we think it is one of the quietest parts of the world and the most interesting.

CG: You have not met President Clinton yet. Are you coming to the US?

PM: I am.

CG: When?

PM: Later this year in September.

CG: September.

PM: Yes and I am looking forward to meeting President Clinton, he is very much the same age as me virtually.

CG: Actually younger.

PM: Yes, he is younger than me. I am 49 he is 47. Anyway he is only a boy.

CG: What is your assessment of how he has done so far?


PM: I think the freshness of him is terrific, to see that youthfulness there and there-is a sort of, in his press- conferences, they don't have the sortof slick answers, there is a nice inquiring, he inquires of the questioner as he tries to do justice to them; there is a sort of very refreshing hint of

naivety in some of the answers which means he is genuinely searching around for things. I think it is a terribly encouraging sign.

CG: Mr Prime Minister, I hope we see you in September. Come visit us.

PM: Thank you Charlie, and thanks for the interview.