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Sydney, 18 June 1999: transcript of doorstop interview [cricket; Kosovar refugees; lamb exports]



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TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER

THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW - SYDNEY

 

 

Subjects: Cricket, Kosovar refugees, lamb exports

 

 

18 June 1999

 

E&OE

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Prime Minister, what about the cricket?

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

Oh, what a fantastic result. We really are on a roll and the leadership that Steve Waugh has given has been absolutely magnificent. His innings last Sunday evening in the first match against South Africa is as good a one-day innings as I’ve ever seen and I guess there’ll be a lot of sleepy heads on Monday morning.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Can we have the day off?

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

No, but you can all stay up, in fact, it’s almost a matter of national honour to stay up on Sunday night and cheer the team on. And I know that millions of Australians will really be getting behind the team. It’s a magnificent climax to what has been a great World Cup for Australia’s great national sport.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Mr Howard, what is your message to Steve Waugh?

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

Well, good luck, the whole country is with you.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Are you asking employers to be lenient on Monday?

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

No, look, I don’t get into that trivia. I’m just saying that everybody will want the team to win and I know that there’ll be millions of Australians watching the match right to the finish and I’ll be one of them.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Mr Howard, what about those Kosovar refugees?

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

Well, that matter’s being handled by the Immigration Minister, Mr Ruddock. We have been very generous and openhearted and I am sure that the overwhelming majority of the refugees feel that way and perhaps they are embarrassed by the behaviour of [inaudible]. The refugees are entitled to move around this country. They are not put in detention. But, of course, it is for the Government to decide the accommodation that will be provided at government expense. Nobody in their situation has a right to demand which accommodation will be provided at government expense. The accommodation offered to them at Singleton is entirely appropriate, quite adequate and I hope the matter will be intelligently resolved and I hope that the Australian community does not see the attitude of this particular group as being typical of the attitude of the refugees in general because it plainly is not.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Is there any timetable for their departure from Australia?

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

Well, I don’t want to get into that detail. I think people should, everybody should co-operate in making this work.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Prime Minister, there’s some talk this morning of blocking off the Homebush site to average Australians who haven’t got a ticket.... [inaudible].

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

Look, I haven’t caught up with all the detail of that. You go and ask Mr Knight about that.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Prime Minister, what about these lamb talks [inaudible]

 

PRIME MINISTER:

 

Well, in a sense no news is good news but we still remain fairly concerned, indeed, quite concerned and fairly pessimistic because there’s an enormous amount of domestic pressure being applied to the American administration. But there’s a very clear choice here for the United States and for President Clinton. If it wants to continue to lead the world towards freer and more open trade it must practise what it preaches at home. And if it imposes a quota on Australian lamb exports it will send an appalling signal to the rest of the world. It will say to the rest of the world you have a ready-made excuse for your own protectionist approaches. But we have done everything we can and we will continue to do all we can to secure a fair deal and a fair go for Australian lamb exporters.

 

Thank you.

 

[ends]

 

 

al  1999-06-21  10:43