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Transcript of news conference, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney



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COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MIC AH

PRIME MINISTER

TRANSCRIPT OF NEWS CONFERENCE, POWERHOUSE MUSEUM, SYDNEY 28 AUGUST 1991

E & OE - PROOF ONLY

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, yesterday you said that this leadership wrangling could go on for some time. Is that a concession on your part that your capacity to govern will be affected for some time to come?

PM: Not at all. There is not one piece of evidence that can show that either I or my Ministers are not going about the business of governing this country and governing it efficiently. As I've been saying, since the Budget there has been more effective decision-making in 1991 than in any post-War year covering the whole range of economic reform and

social reform. The Government of this country is going ahead and it's going ahead well. What I did say, which is the obvious political truth, the obvious electoral truth, that while these sorts of things have been happening recently, that doesn't help you electorally. But the Government of this country is not adversely affected in any way at all.

JOURNALIST: So why are you so powerless to stop what's going on within your Party?

PM: As distinct from what used to be the position in the Soviet Union, this isn't a dictatorship, it's not a central command system. I don't have Ministers and members locked up and let them out for the day and then put them back in their

cells. This is a pretty free and democratic society. Now I think unfortunately that there's been a little bit of excess in terms of activities. But particularly, as I said, in regard to rather selective leaking or versions of what happened in Cabinet I am confident that that will end.

JOURNALIST: What will you do if you find out who's leaking these? What if you can identify them, what will you do?

PM: Well, if it were to happen in the future and one could identify it, have no doubt what would happen. The people involved would I think be looking for alternative time to occupy themselves.

JOURNALIST: Are you saying you've identified the people -PM: I didn't say that. That wasn't your question.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, how important was your appearance on the Ray Martin Show in terms of selling the Budget?

PM: It was just another appearance. It wasn't a particularly important effort for that purpose. I mean what you do when you have a Budget or other major statements, you tend to take a range of opportunities to talk about it if you're given the chance of talking about it. That was another chance. May I

say this about the selling of the Budget, that since the Parliament rose on Thursday of last week I 've got out into the country a bit. I went down to Tasmania on Friday, I was up in Queensland on Monday. May I say that as far as the ordinary people are concerned I moved around amongst them in a number of circumstances and I didn't find any aggro about the Budget at all I might say.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, how long do you expect all this wrangling and sniping and leaking to go on for?

PM: Well I wouldn't get so excited as you do in the way you asked the question. I mean if you get it into its proportions, as I say, overwhelmingly what I'm about and my Ministers are about ... ahead and governing, continuing to make the decisions which are necessary for the future of this

country. I'm simply saying that there is some diversion in terms of public perceptions from that fact by what's been happening. Now I really believe that the sort of excess we saw in the last few days, I repeat, I think you'll see that that has finished.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, Mr Kelty from the ACTU has criticised the Budget reportedly. Have you -PM: Not again. That's history we're going to. That's days

and days ago.

JOURNALIST: Have you spoken with Martin Ferguson and if so what was his reaction to the Budget?

PM: I have spoken with Martin Ferguson.

JOURNALIST: Was he more favourable than Mr Kelty?

PM: Well you've seen his public reaction. I mean his public reaction about it is on the record. It was a favourable one.

JOURNALIST: What can you do to get Mr Kelty back on side?

PM: I wouldn't say that Mr Kelty is lost. He has some views which he's expressed. I will actually be going to talk to the ACTU Congress in what, a couple of weeks' time. I'll have the opportunity of talking directly to all the representatives of

the trade unions in this country then.

JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, you're due to leave the country in October for the Commonwealth Heads of Government. Will it be safe for you to do that - in terms of this leadership wrangle?

PM: I think it's a risk I'm prepared to take.

ends