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Melbourne, Victoria: transcript of doorstop interview: Michael Wooldridge resignation.



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Kim Beazley - Doorstop - Michael Wooldridge Resignation //media/0901/kbmcvic070901.html Monday, 10 September 2001

Kim Beazley - Doorstop Interview Subjects: Michael Wooldridge Resignation

Transcript - Melbourne, Victoria - 7 September 2001

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

BEAZLEY: This is the departure of another senior Minister. This is more clear evidence of a government that has run out of ideas. It's out of puff. It can inflame fear in the Australian community. What the Government cannot do is present a coherent vision for the future. No longer can they deal with the great national issues involved in health, education, aged care - the concerns of our community. Another senior Minister bails out.

JOURNALIST: Mr Wooldridge seems fairly determined…circumstances this afternoon of a decision he made….family. Is that not reasonable?

BEAZLEY: A decision to go has always got a complex of factors behind it. And I can't see my way into Dr Wooldridge's heart. But I do understand at one point he said, 'better to do now than, say, half-way through the next term - to present myself to the electorate in such a fashion would be dishonest'. We have a Prime Minister presenting himself to the electorate in exactly that mode - with an intention to disappear halfway through. Whatever the family reasons, I wouldn't know about. But what I do know is a senior Minister is going. And a senior Minister who has been at the heart of Government policy - and that's a pretty fair indication that they're now out of ideas.

JOURNALIST: Are you saying there's an element here of…

BEAZLEY: I think all sorts of senior Ministers are bailing out for all sorts of reasons. But at the nub of it, the core of it, what it means is a government out of ideas, out of direction. And it inflames fear, it's very capable of doing that, it can appeal to prejudice. What it cannot do is to present the Australian people with a vision of unity, coherence and, in the key areas of education, health, aged care - solutions.

JOURNALIST: Should the Government….what…mean for the Ministry…

BEAZLEY: I think it actually makes it harder for the Government to win this election. And I'm operating on the assumption the Government is going to lose this election and that we will form a government. But I'm not doing it on the basis that the Government is collapsing internally or the Ministers are out of ideas and lost their taste for Government. I'm doing it on the basis that we have the ideas. We have a plan for health, education, aged care, making things fairer for Australian families, rolling back the goods and

services tax - that we have a reason to hope that we will form a government on that basis. In which case, we will face a slightly weaker opposition.

JOURNALIST: …legacy will Dr Wooldridge leave…

BEAZLEY: I guess we in our side of the House would have more respect for him if he'd resigned over the MRI scandal. I think the legacy that he leaves behind is in a sea change in planning for health care in this country - a decisive move towards the Americanisation of our health care system. Now, that may suit some in the elite in this community. But we actually think that is a bad development for ordinary Australians.

Ends Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.