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Transcript of doorstop interview: Radio 6PR Perth: 8 December 1992: John Hewson; economic policy



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PRIME MINISTER

TRANSCRIPT or TD BON P J KEA TING, DOORSTOP, 6PR PERTH I DECEMBER 1992 _ p� 4. E&OE PROOF COPY

J: Prime Minister, your reaction to wh.tt Dr Hewson announced this afternoon. - k ;""" "--"'-'."c-_ ?\L . PM: It's just plain poll panic. lie haa today booked the Press Club, he is announcing now changes to his policies that his Deputy didn't even know about, that have not

been to his Shadow Cabinet; he bu made a mponae simply in relation to his position in the polls. He says he is not poll-driven, but quite obviously what he has done today is nothfna but poll-driven.

J: But isn't showing flexibility in fact a political virtue?

PM: No, he is $hawing night. not flmaoility. Same word atartini with "f", but it's fright rather than flexibility. \

J: But may not he gain in the lonaer term from this if he doca back a way from some of the more unpalatable part& of the Fiahtback package?

PM: Well, it just moans that the whole rationale for his policy shift falls down. He is saying. we need these things.. rm not poll-driven he says, we need these things for the good of Auatralia. but now rm not doing so well in the polls we don't rea.lJy need them. Where does that leave him?

J: Weren 1t you gamblina on Dr He\VIOn not nw

PM: No, there's no point trying to inquire i.mo the dark recesses of the third lobe on the left Aide of one's brain. The fact of the matter is, Dr Hewaon hu hit the scrambler button. He is now, without any notice to his Depl.lty or his front bench, he ha.s not got any considered policy <:hanae in mind, he haa rung the Press Club, he has made a bookins he i1 going to make an .announcement, and :Mr Reith had to find out about it. This ii politic• at its worst. At its wont.

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J: Hu the scrambler button put him on the o!Y'tndve and siven him tho initiative?

PM: How do you work that out? That's a really interesting ...

J; Couldrtt some chlnpt undo your handcufti?

PM: What handcu6?

J: Handcuff'ed to the OST.

PM· The thing is. if he undoes that though, what is the point of electing him? He is saying Australia needs thi1 thin g and therefore rm proposing this. and then he comes and s.aya hang on we didn't need it. So where does that leave us? Or all of his economics flill apart. So we'll see what he does, whether he'll make the changes which have bemi deba�.

J: wm this mean you will call an election sooner rather than later based on what you see as a flaw in tho Oppoaition 1s policies?

PM: No, we'll call the election at a time of the Government's choosing.

J: Do you expect the changea to � social or economic?

PM: I expect them to be, tbr a start, panic..driven. That's in the first instance, and secondly, they11 be across the board. He'll do now ... look. the high cynics have now taken ovor Liberal policy. He ha1 been dragged in, told what bis position is� and the cynies have said you go and aet some ohartacs in there, you alter your position. It will be all of the tow-brows of Australian politics in charge ofDr Hewson at thiJ point.

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J· What impact do you think exempting food might have on the goods and services tax?

PM: It will destroy its economics for a start, ind with it of cour&e the policies he says we need. So. if we're not going to havo the policies he says we need, the question ii why do we Deed him?

ends