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Transcript of doorstop interview: Aurukun: 6 August 2003: indigenous communities; Jakarta explosion.



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PRIME MINISTER

6 August 2003

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, AURUKUN

Subjects: Indigenous communities; Jakarta explosion

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………….

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, your initial view having seen and heard [inaudible] Aurukun.

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I still want to hear about the programs that have been implemented. But I am impressed with [inaudible] communities are taking hold of their own future. And what is apparently happening in the Cape York Land Council area is that policies built on personal responsibility in the beliefs that people have to get hold in their own lives and their own futures. Now, there are a lot of things that other people, including governments, can do to help. And individual responsibility is important to solving problems anywhere in Australia and indigenous communities are recognising that in the Cape and that's very encouraging.

JOURNALIST:

Is that what it's about… appropriate? [inaudible]

PRIME MINISTER:

Well everybody has different language. I see it as individual responsibility and the decisions that have been taken in relation to alcohol are to be applauded and they should be supported by other people in the community.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible]… reshape these policies in this area?

www.pm.gov.au

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I think the first thing you have to do is know a lot more about what's happening. And my purpose in coming here today was to learn more, I haven't come here to tell people what to do. I've really come here to listen how the people on the ground here believe their problems should be tackled. And having done that, I will then go away and see if there are further adjustments to federal government policies that should be made.

JOURNALIST:

In what way?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, I can't do that until I finish the process of consultation.

JOURNALIST:

[Inaudible] how bad was the problem that you heard about in the last 24 hours?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, it was very bad. What has impressed me is that in a relatively short period of time there is less violence, there is more care for children, they go to school more regularly, they go to school with full rather than empty stomachs. There are basic things that so many Australians take for granted that have been absent in these communities and the initiatives have come from the indigenous people themselves and that is how any community can handle its future to [inaudible] community or any other Australian community.

JOURNALIST:

That's the point though [inaudible] decision saying well everyone's [inaudible].

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, there is domestic violence in all parts of Australia but all the evidence suggests that it's far more serious in indigenous communities and they have recognised that [inaudible] that, as to the advice I received and… [inaudible].

(tape break)

JOURNALIST:

Well you be contacting the Indonesian President [inaudible]?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I am endeavouring to arrange to speak to President Megawati some time today and that's being arranged at the present time. I'll be expressing the great sympathy of the Australian Government for what has happened. This is overwhelmingly a terrorist attack on the Indonesian state and on the Indonesian people. It would appear that the overwhelming majority of the people who've been killed or injured are Indonesians. There may be one or

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two people from other countries, but the overwhelming majority are from Indonesia and although it took place outside a hotel which is frequented by westerners and seen as something of a western symbol, the victims were the men and women of Indonesia and we Australians should understand that this is very much an attack on Indonesia. We have offered

federal police assistance - some eight crime scene investigation experts and the federal police are on their way as we speak and they are already in Jakarta and we will be willing to help in any way the Indonesians to track down the people responsible and bring them to justice.

JOURNALIST:

Are there other elements…?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well, we will respond to what we are asked to do. Thank you.

[ends]