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Transcript of doorstop interview: Bali: 27 July 2007: Premier Bracks' resignation; Dr Haneef; Bali nine.



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PRIME MINISTER

27 July 2007

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW BALI

Subjects: Premier Bracks’ resignation; Dr Haneef; Bali Nine

EO&E…………………………………………………………………………………

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, can we get your reaction to the news that Premier Steve Bracks has resigned?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I was surprised. I spoke to Mr Bracks a short while ago, he had tried to get me before he made his announcement, and I wished him well. He explained that he wanted a new career; and I wished he and his wife Terry and their children well and I don’t know that there’s a lot more that I can say. Although we are on different sides of politics and notwithstanding our differences on the River Murray and the Murray-Darling Basin, we did work together in a professional manner and I always found him a courteous man to deal with and we were able to get a lot of things done in the joint interests of the Commonwealth and the state of Victoria despite our political differences and I’ll look forward to working in the same constructive fashion with the new premier when he or she is chosen.

JOURNALIST:

Do you think a new premier will see the…might be able to resurrect the water plan?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t know, I don’t even know who it will be. Do you?

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, is it a good day for the Liberals in Victoria?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh look, I don’t think this is the day to start to start talking about things like that. My view about these matters is that you have to build a case for change over a period of time and that applies to federal Oppositions as much as it does to state Oppositions and now that you’ve given me the opportunity of saying so let me make the point that Mr Rudd is not really building a case for change. It seems very much to me that he either copies what the Government does or does what the unions tell him. He doesn’t seem to have a plan of his own for Australia’s future.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, there’s breaking news in Australia that’s got everyone asking the question, has the Haneef case been bungled?

PRIME MINISTER:

Look, I think it’s better to wait for the court hearing to occur before making any comment on that.

JOURNALIST:

Do you still stand by Kevin Andrews’ handling of the case?

PRIME MINISTER:

I do, yes. I do stand by Kevin Andrews’ handling of the case, yes I do.

JOURNALIST:

And for what reasons?

PRIME MINISTER:

Because I think he’s acted correctly and in good faith at all times.

JOURNALIST:

Would a deportation of Mr Haneef worry you Prime Minister if the charges were dropped and he was innocent of all charges but deported from our country anyway?

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t think I’m going to speculate on that.

JOURNALIST:

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Mr Bracks said one of his reasons for going was he couldn’t give 100 per cent after the next election in Victoria. Do you see any parallels in that for yourself?

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I don’t. I give 100 per cent all the time. I don’t think there’s much doubt about that. I think a day like today, I think I’m giving about 150.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, why did you raise the issue of the Bali Nine in your meetings with…

PRIME MINISTER:

Why did I?

JOURNALIST:

Yes.

PRIME MINISTER:

I thought it was appropriate to mention the fact that it’s an issue that attracts a lot of interest in Australia. I’m not making any comment on the process. The court process is yet to be exhausted, but it came up naturally in the context of discussion about the prisoner transfer agreement.

JOURNALIST:

And what was Mr Yudhoyono’s reaction?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh he understood fully my raising it but he also understood that I was not seeking any reaction from him or any reaction from Indonesia. There is a court process. I did say in the course of the discussion that I fully respected and supported the tough approach taken by Indonesia in relation to drug trafficking. Australians do, nobody should be in any doubt that in Australia there is a, there’s scant regard for people who believe they can breezily ignore the drug laws of Indonesia. Thank you.

[ends]

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