Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of doorstop interview on departure for State funeral of Former Premier of Tasmania, the Hon Jim Bacon: Canberra Airport, Fairbairn: 24 June 2004.



Download PDFDownload PDF

PRIME MINISTER

24 June 2004

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW ON DEPARTURE FOR STATE FUNERAL OF FORMER PREMIER OF TASMANIA, THE HON. JIM BACON

CANBERRA AIRPORT, FAIRBAIRN

Subjects: Jim Bacon; defence photographs; COAG; stem cells; Andrew Johns

E&OE……………………………………………………………………………..

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, you are heading to the funeral of Jim Bacon - do you have any comments?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, he served as Premier of Tasmania the entire time that I’ve been Prime Minister and we got on well, although we came from opposite sides of politics. He worked hard. He advocated the interests of his state and like most who knew him I was profoundly sorry of the circumstances of his premature death and I hope that today’s gathering will be of some comfort to his family and very close friends, not only in Tasmania but in the broader Labor movement throughout Australia.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, are you going against the convention by posing in photos with the defence personnel?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, that is a ridiculous charge. The photograph in question is publicly available on the Defence website. All Members of Parliament from time to time get photographed with members of the military and my press secretary will show you some material put out by Labor politicians, including themselves, and I’m not criticising them for that. There’s nothing wrong or political about that and I haven’t gone against any advice from General

www.pm.gov.au

Cosgrove as was wrongly suggested in the Melbourne Age this morning. It is only a matter of commonsense that if you get photographed and if you use a picture that’s been in a newspaper or on a defence website or on television there’s absolutely nothing improper about that and I think the charge is political and ill placed.

2

JOURNALIST:

Are you confident that the COAG meeting tomorrow will have a positive outcome on water?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I certainly hope it does. Tomorrow’s meeting is a great challenge to cooperative federalism. The states have the power and they have therefore the responsibility in a very direct way, but they have to produce a national outcome. They have to come to tomorrow’s meeting not as Queenslanders or New South Welshmen or Victorians, but as Australians striving to get an outcome that is in the overall interests of our nation. Not in the interests of their state alone, although I understand them sticking up for their states, but this is a national problem, it requires a national solution and it challenges the working of the cooperative federalist system to see if we can achieve that outcome.

JOURNALIST:

Is water the biggest test since federation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I don’t want to get that melodramatic, but it’s a very big test. The federation has been with us for more than 100 years, it’s very hard to start making those comparisons but it is certainly as big a test as I’ve seen in the eight and half years that I’ve been Prime Minister and the system is meant to work in a cooperative spirit and if the Premiers come as Queenslanders or New South Welshmen and as Victorians and not as Australians we won’t get a good outcome.

JOURNALIST:

Queensland doesn’t think it’s going to get a fair deal - what’s your comment on that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Queensland is the last state in Australia to think it’s not getting a fair deal, it’s doing better than most out of the GST. Although they’re all doing extremely well out of that. Queensland will be treated fairly along with all other states.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, the first human embryo stem cell has apparently been created in a New South Wales lab - what would (inaudible) on that?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I support very much the law that was agreed upon at the Premier’s conference in 2002 and I want that law observed. Thank you.

3

4

JOURNALIST:

Should Andrew Johns switch codes?

PRIME MINISTER:

That’s a matter for him. As a follower of both codes, I would like to think that Joey has some playing years ahead of him. Whatever decision he makes, that’s a matter for him. But he’s a great player and I hope he’s got a number of years ahead of him.

[ends]