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Transcript of doorstop, Dipper's Cafe, Carlton

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JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how do you answer Mr Keating's claims that the current stand on interest rates is damaging the recovery and your relationship with the union movement?

PM: Well, I think you ought to read the article, which I have and I don't read that into it.

JOURNALIST: What do you read into it, Sir?

PM: Oh, he's making some observations about what's happened in the past and what he thinks will happen in the future.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of those observations?

PM: Oh, I think that he will understand that we are making the decisions which are correct. We are not any more than he was bound by what officials say to us. And I have a track record, for instance, in respect to my own Department of often

disagreeing with and not following what the official advice to me is from my own Department. I want people to understand that the Australian people are very, very well served by their public service, very well served. They are capable and dedicated people. But it doesn't mean that their advice is always right. And in the end, the elected people who are in Government have to

accept the responsibility for making the decisions. That's what we've done since we've been in Government. That's what we did when Paul was the Treasurer and I was the Prime Minister. It's what we're doing now. But I will remain the Prime Minister and

John Kerin as the Treasurer. Anything else?

JOURNALIST: Is there a case, though, to be more responsive with interest rates?

PM: Well, we - in the period that Paul was Treasurer, when we put the rates up as we had to in the period up until January ' 90 - we put them up and increased the rates as we thought was necessary on our judgment of the circumstances. And starting in

January of 1990, we started to bring them down. And they've come down now by some seven and a half percentage points. And while he was there, we discussed it - we would bring them down as we thought the circumstances warranted it. We were responsive to

the circumstances, and that's how John Kerin and I will continue to be in the future. Okay, thanks.