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Transcript of news conference, RAAF Base Fairbairn

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JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, was Paul Keating targeting you at the National Press Club with his criticism of the Premiers' Conferences?

PM: You’d have to ask Paul that. But I'm not particularly concerned about it. What I'll be doing now that I'm back is working constructively on the Special Premiers' Conference processes including, as we arranged before Paul had spoken, a discussion with the Caucus. There's important work to be done and I'll be having things to say about that process now that I 'm back including probably some comments on what he had to say.

JOURNALIST: Is there any danger to the Commonwealth's economic management in the process you've undertaken?

PM: In the process? Of course there's not because that's a process, may I say the proof of that's in the fact that the process was agreed in Brisbane when I had Paul sitting next

to me.

JOURNALIST: Do you agree with the Treasurer that this is now the worst recession in 60 years?

PM: I think that the Treasurer somewhat refined his Bangkok statements later on, I was pleased to see, and as far as I'm concerned the important thing is that we're coming out of the recession now.

JOURNALIST: You've got a welcome home present, Mr Hawke, a petition from the majority of Parliamentarians on ... concentration. What's your reaction and is it obvious from that concern that maybe the Government will have to take

some action?

PM: Well the question of the Government taking action is quite hypothetical at this stage. It depends upon what decision is made by the receiver in regard to the various bids that he receives. It's conceivable that it may not arise at all if he were to make a decision in regard to a bid which had no foreign ownership, so it's hypothetical at this stage. So we'll look at it if we need to and obviously



I understand the concern that's been expressed by a lot of people. There doesn't -JOURNALIST: Would you like the Ministers to sign the petition?

PM: Well I wouldn't worry very much whether they did or they didn't. It'd be a matter of not very much concern to me whether they did or they didn't . As I say it's hypothetical at this stage but my own view is that prima

facie I can understand their concern about a possible increase in concentration.

JOURNALIST: Can you give a guarantee that there wouldn't be an increase in concentration of Australian media?

PM: Well as I say it's hypothetical at this stage. It may not even arise if one of the two bids involving foreign ownership is not accepted. But I've said before that I have concerns about possible concentration and we'll be looking at that.

JOURNALIST: We haven't had a consumption tax while you're away, Prime Minister. Did you scare the Coalition off?

PM: Well I don't know whether I scared them off but it looks to me, from what I'm hearing, that they're getting a very considerable sum of scary signs from within their own ranks. But I trust that Dr Hewson is going to press on and

I'm looking forward to the unveiling of the beast whenever he gets around to it.

JOURNALIST: Should Adelaide press ahead with its Commonwealth Games bid now?

PM: Yes of course it should. I see that some section of the South Australian media got itself in unnecessary knots about what they think I said. I was merely reporting facts. But I 'm very pleased to say that George Beltchev who was there as part of the Australian group has made it quite clear that those comments that were made from within South Australia were totally without foundation. I did everything

I could while I was there to support the Adelaide bid. I hope that the bids will be considered on their merits and if they are, Adelaide's in with a very good chance.