Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of Dr John Hewson, MP Interview with Magella Anning ABC Radio Hotel Amigo, Brussels



Download PDFDownload PDF

Leader of the Opposition

15 July 1991 REF: TRANSCR\bmca

TRANSCRIPT OF DR JOHN HEWSON, MP INTERVIEW WITH MAGELLA ANNING ABC RADIO HOTEL AMIGO, BRUSSELS

E & 0 E - PROOF COPY ONLY

SUBJECTS: CAP, G7 Summit, GATT

ANNING:

Mr Hewson, what message were you delivering to the European Community today?

I put a pretty hard line position in the interests of Australian farmers. I explained that in the worst rural crisis since the 1930s our farming community in Australia is not interested in cosmetic changes, marginal improvements. They want substantial

improvements in relation to the Common Agricultural Policy.

ANNING:

And what response did you get to that?

HEWSON:

Naturally fairly cold I think - as one might expect given their attitude here in Europe to the Common Agricultural Policy. I tried to explain to them that our farmers are really subject to a double whammy. They've got the effect that the Common

Agricultural Policy has on restricting their access to Europe and in reducing our access to third markets. Over and above that, they have to live with, the second effect of the Export

Enhancement Program of the United States which is a response to the Common Agricultural Policy of Europe - again, further subsidising exports of agricultural products. So if you're an Australian wheat producer, for example, a double whammy - frozen

out of international markets both by the Common Agricultural Policy of Europe and the Export Enhancement Program of the United States.

Do you see the current proposals being discussed to water down the Common Agricultural Policy being useful?

HEWSON:

ANNING:

HEWSON:

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 277 4022

I've only had very much a preliminary look at those proposals, but to my mind they promise only a marginal improvement down the track after many years. What I try to convey to people is two things. One, we're not all that interested in marginal

improvements and two, our farmers can't really wait several years. They have the worst rural crisis in 50 or 60 years.

The prospect of the wheat markets, the grain markets, will get worse in the next couple of years. Their life will be even more difficult. In those circumstances, it's pretty airy-fairy stuff

to the average Australian farmer.

ANNING:

Do you think, though, that that opinion matters to the people in the European Community here in Brussels?

HEWSON:

We are a small country, of course, but we have had a persuasive influence and we have supported the Government in their

activities with the Cairns Group, for example. It's in our interest to maintain maximum pressure on the Europeans. They have to understand that the world trading system desperately needs a sensible outcome from GATT. In order to get that, we need to make real progress on agricultural protectionism and the ball's in their court.

ANNING:

How likely do you think there will be something coming out of the G7 Summit in regard to GATT?

HEWSON:

I hope there is something substantive. It's always difficult in a G7 context to get a substantive outcome. In the last

Summit at Houston, there was quite a lot of attention given to the GATT. I appealed in the United States and again in London, and I mentioned it here today, that we would look for a big kick

start, something substantive - some major commitment - from the world's leaders to a genuinely reformed international trading system. It's funny, they have an illogical position here in Europe. They believe in a larger European market for efficiency

reasons and so on. If they're serious about that, why not build a large world market, integrate the whole world, reduce barriers to competition, reduce protection, eliminate subsidisation. We'd all be better off.

end.