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Transcript of news conference, Cohen Place, Melbourne

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JOURNALIST: Mr Hawke, would you actively discourage Bill Hartley and a union delegation going to Baghdad?

PM: I think it would be quite a good idea for Bill Hartley to go to Baghdad and preferably stay there.

JOURNALIST: Bill Hartley says -PM: Look I'm not wasting any more time on Hartley. That's enough. I mean let's talk about serious things.

JOURNALIST: What's the latest you can tell us officially from the Gulf, Mr Hawke?

PM: I haven't had anything more official than you would've seen. I had a quick briefing this morning from my own chap but I'll be getting a detailed briefing in the morning.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of Dr Hewson's idea of ... income tax for the States?

PM: Dr Hewson is getting into a pattern. He thinks he's made a contribution to the political and economic debate when he mentions something that's been on the public

agenda for years and years and years. I mean I ' ve forgotten for how long that issue's been on the agenda. He mentions it without making any detailed observations or proposals or propositions about it and thinks he's made some contribution. I mean this is baren politics.

I mean I have in fact got the practical hard work going last year of looking at how we deal with the complex issue of Federal/State relations - including financial relations. We've got detailed and highly competent working parties from the Commonwealth, the Treasury and

the State Treasuries working on these issues of fiscal imbalance between the Commonwealth Government and the States. Now that work's going on and what's Dr Hewson's contribution? He says oh, without saying anything about

it, I just mention the possibility of giving some income tax powers to the States. I mean this is, as I say, baren politics.



JOURNALIST: The meeting of Foreign Ministers meeting in London have rejected any immediate easing of sanctions against South Africa. How do you feel about that?

PM: Just get it right. As far as sporting sanctions are concerned, as a result of that meeting in London - and may I say I had a long talk this morning with Gareth Evans, he rang me from London at 7.00 am our time this morning and I've got a detailed briefing on just what went on - and if in fact you have a position where there

is an integration of sport within South Africa and that is recognised by the relevant bodies, then there will be no reason why sporting contacts can't be initiated. So as you know I said just a couple of weeks ago that this is something that ought to happen and I'm glad to see that as a result of the meeting it's possible for us to act in that way. The next step -JOURNALIST: inaudible

PM: Well that depends upon what happens within South Africa. We've got - if you take the issue of cricket which I suppose is the one which interests Australians most, the. two bodies in South Africa - that is the white body and the non-white body - are working very closely

together and are trying to achieve integration and if that's done then there is - as soon as that's done under the decision that's been made in London they can go ahead. So it's a matter for within South Africa itself. But I must say that the non-white body in South Africa

recognises the integrity and the commitment of the white South African authorities to achieve that.

JOURNALIST: ... specifically that sporting sanctions there but isn't it a bit of a slap in the face for Australia overall that the Foreign Ministers rejected any immediate easing of sanctions and the Government's

position was to oppose withdrawal -PM: ... isn't any immediate easing of sanctions. I've said in regard to sport those processes can proceed straight away and essentially what they've adopted is the sort of framework and concept of Australia, that is that there should be a framework, a timetable and quite clearly by the time they meet again which will be later

in April or in May, we believe that the requirements will have been met by the South African Government which will allow then further easing of the sanctions immediately, then in regard to people contacts which would go to visas and air links. So that timetable has been set down. I'm very optimistic particularly in the light of the agreement that1s just been announced between President de Klerk and Nelson Mandela that we do have in place now a

total approach and framework which means that we can look with a great deal of confidence to changes throughout the rest of this year.



JOURNALIST: ... Gulf war, Mr Hawke, what hopes do you hold about the meeting between Iraq's Foreign Minister and President Gorbachev that ... provide a breakthrough?

PM: I welcome any attempts that may be made in this regard but the facts remain very, very simple. All that has to be done is that Saddam Hussein has to withdraw his troops. There's nothing complex in terms of what has to be done.