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Transcript of news conference, RAAF Base Fairbairn



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PRIME MINISTER

TRANSCRIPT OF NEWS CONFERENCE, RAAF BASE FAIRBAIRN - 13 OCTOBER 1991

E & Ο E - PROOF ONLY

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, how far do you think the meeting will go towards lifting the sanctions against South Africa?

PM: Well on the basis of the recommendations that have come from the meeting of the Foreign Ministers in New Delhi just a few weeks ago, I expect there should be endorsement of the proposal to lift the people-to-people sanctions and that covers a wide range of activities. And as you know, we're moving on sport and I think that will be confirmed there.

The New Delhi proposal suggested that the next stage of trade and investment sanctions should be lifted as soon as there was the clear signs of the establishment of the ' proposals for transitional arrangements and the discussions «Lww-w w ai.u I hope uyain that they will accept that proposal. So there will be some there that will want to go

slower than others, some that will want to go faster. But you know my position has been that as Australia is in forefront of the move to impose sanctions, I think we should be taking a leading role in seeing the dismantlement consistent with that being able to keep an appropriate

amount of pressure on until the final decisions about the ending of apartheid are taken.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, how would you rate this CHOGM in terms of importance given the South African question?

PM: Well one can't be absolutely precise about where you rate these in terms of importance - one against the other. But I think it is in one sense a culminating Heads of Government meeting in regard to South Africa. You'll remember we really started to increase the pressure in 1985 at the Nassau CHOGM meeting. We went further in '87 in Vancouver and then again in '89 in Malaysia. And as a result of all those meetings which gradually increased the pressures of sanctions - not only from the Commonwealth but we led the rest of the world to do it - we've now seen as

against the arguments of those here in Australia and elsewhere who always opposed us, we have seen them being successful. We've seen the South African Minister for

Justice publicly acknowledge that the end to apartheid has been bought about by the operation of sanctions. So this is a very important meeting in us being able not to exult in success but to see the effect of all those meetings that we've had before and the decisions we've taken. The

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obligation upon us now is, I believe, to see that we make those decisions which are going to ensure that the strength of the Commonwealth is now used to ensure that the people

who are going to be taking over power in South Africa are best equipped to do it and are best assisted to do it to make sure that they have the right sort of political and economic basis for there being a free and democratic and

prosperous South Africa into the future. The Commonwealth has got a very significant responsibility in assisting them in that regard I think.

JOURNALIST: Will the Opposition be getting a head start Mr Prime Minister, launching its consumption tax while you and John Kerin are out of the country?

PM: You can't get a head start with a bad bill of goods like that. I'll be out of the country, John Kerin will be out of the country but the 17 million Australians who are going to be the subject of this vicious attack, if they were ever allowed to implement it, they'll be here. I'll have a very competent Acting Prime Minister in Brian Howe, a very competent Acting Treasurer in Ralph Willis. They and others of my colleagues will undertake the initial analysis and observations on behalf of the Government. I will ensure

that I am fully briefed on this while I'm.away and if Dr Hewson thinks that he is going to gp.i;i cnything by this rather shabby sot: - ~f eww4— τ h e V jeen waiting for . moi-.-i-K'·; "-"Lm snri months and months to do-it, he 4-0

until the Prime Minister and the Treasurer are out of the country. Well if he thinks he's going to get any-advantage out of that it's a sad mistake. .Because as I say, the

people of Australia will be here. , IJ11 get back on the Friday, I think I get in about 1.00^pm, and I'll be intending to get right into it as .soon as I get back.

JOURNALIST: Would you take it as~a .compliment if they did release it while you were out of the country?

PM: Well a compliment if you like. I think really it's pretty shabby isn't it. As I say, they've had all this time when I've been here, the Treasurer's been here but they wait

until that little window when I'm... out of the country - this is my first visit out of Australia this year - they wait until then to do it. Well I think it says something about them but it doesn't worry me. We'll give them both barrels when we get back. OK. Thanks very much.

ends