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Wills by-election, Keating/a current affair, South Africa, South Australian liberal leadership, SANFL



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Leader of the Opposition

20 March 1992 REF: TRANSCR\n m \ADEL02

TRANSCRIPT OF DR JOHN HEWSON MP MEDIA CONFERENCE BRIGHTON/GLENELG COMMUNITY CENTRE, ADELAIDE .

E & Ο E - PROOF COPY ONLY

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S U B J E C T S : W i l l s b y - e l e c t i o n , K e a t i n g / A C u r r e n t A f f a i r , S o u t h

A f r i c a , S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n L i b e r a l l e a d e r s h i p , S A N F L

J r n l a t :

. . . p e r f o r m i n g w e l l in t h e W i l l s b y - e l e c t i o n . A r e y o u a t all - t h r e a t e n e d b y t h a t ? —

H e w e o n : "

I h a v e n ' t s e e n a p o l l y e t t h a t p u t s u s in f r o n t . S o al l t h a t t e l l s m e is t h a t w e ' v e g o t to w o r k h a r d e r . T o m o r r o w w e ' r e g o i n g to l a u n c h w h a t w i l l be a r o l l i n g n a t i o n a l d o o r k n o c k c a m p a i g n .

It w i l l s t a r t In W i l l s . W e ' r e going· to k n o c k o n t h e d o o r of e v e r y h o u s e in W i l l s , a n d h o p e f u l l y w e w i l l g o r i g h t a c r o s s A u s t r a l i a b e t w e e n n o w a n d t h e n e x t e l e c t i o n .

W e a r e l a u n c h i n g t h a t in a v e r y b i g w a y t o m o r r o w in W i l l s , a n d t h a t ' s all p a r t of t h e c a m p a i g n , n o t o n l y f o r W i l l s , b u t o v e r a l l f e d e r a l l y . W e ' r e b e h i n d in W i l l s . W e ' v e J u s t g o t to w o r k h a r d e r .

Jrnlst:

Are you not at all worried about... you’re on par with Labor at the moment - you're not worried about that at all? .

Heweon:

We expected it would be extremely difficult - as I've said consistently - to win Wills. All it tells me is we've got to try harder. We've got to work harder. We've got a few weeks left. We've got a lot of things planned and we'll Just keep going.

But it Is very difficult for us to win Wills. It's a traditional Labor seat. We got a phenomenal swing last time of about 8% against the trend. The Prime Minister was taken to preferences, and now of course, we've got to win another 8% actually, to win

the seat. So it's tough, but I'm·happy to keep trying as hard as we can. __

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COMMONWEALTH H P A R U M iE N T A P Y LIBRARY I MiCAHI I

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

REF: TRANSCR\NM\ADEL02 2.

You can be guaranteed that every second of every day between now and the Wills by-election, we'll be: out there trying to win it.

Jrnlst:

Are you surprised by Mr Keating's anger at being put on trial by A Current Affair?

Hewson:

I haven't seen the detail of that. But I think he'd be even more angry if the people of Australia put him on trial - and they will. That's what it’s all about. He does not like to be

reminded of his past. He doesn't like to be reminded of the things he's said, and all the promises he's made. And he's made some outlandish promises. How many times has he claimed to "bring home the bacon" and boasted that all the cathedrals of Europe are lighting candles for us here in Australia because of

his great policies; "the golden age of economic reform"; "the envy of the world"; and yet we're in the worst recession in 60 years.

I can understand his sensitivity. He's been misrepresenting that situation for years.

Jrnlst:

Does it concern you that he's contacted both Jana Wendt and Kerry Packer trying to have the program killed?

Hewson:

That's typical. He's acutely sensitive to criticism.

Jrnlst:

What should he be doing on South African sanctions?

Hewson:

On the South African sanctions issue, he should scrap them immediately. We have argued now for over 12 months that the process of reform in South Africa was irreversible. Most of the major countries of the world have now taken that view and are in

the process of dismantling their sanctions.

He's been lecturing us - attacking us - as an Opposition, let's say for the last several weeks, accusing us of grovelling to the Poms and the Brits, and bowing to the Queen, and we've got to be an independent nation. Well, here's his first test. Here's the

first test to be an independent nation - act in Australia's best interests and scrap the sanctions. And of course, he's not. He is being dictated to by the ANC. Where is all this independence

he's been talking about?

REF: TRANSCR\NM\ADEL02 3.

It's the old storyr You never listen to what Paul Keating says. You watch what he does. And what he's doing is grossly

misrepresenting what’s In our best interests. It's in our best interests to scrap them.

Jrnlst:

But isn't Britain one of the first countries to pushfor a drop of sanctions? '

Hewson:

Many of the major countries have already done it.

Jrnlst:

But isn't Britain the one that stands out within the

Commonwealth, against the sanctions?

Hewson: _

Why are we constrained by the Commonwealth? Here's our new: independent Prime Minister, in our new independent Australia. Why are we going to stay within the Commonwealth. Why doesn't he just move and show some leadership. If he wants to say within

the Commonwealth show the leadership within the Commonwealth - and get rid of the sanctions.

Jrnlst:

Are you against the Commonwealth on this issue?

Hewson:

We've taken the view that the Commonwealth has been moving too slowly. We think it’s important that the Commonwealth get on and focus on post-apartheid South Africa and other issues. The sanctions issue, as far as we're concerned, has been finished for quite some time. Each time you hear of the excuse - there's another stage that's-got to be observed.

President de Klerk went right out on a limb. He took a very progressive reform agenda. He pushed the pace. His pace has been way ahead of what people had expected he would achieve. He needs international support. He needs international

encouragement to continue. Most of the major countries of the world - the UK Included - have done that. And Australia is lagging behind. Why? Because we don't want to do anything that the ANC doesn't want us to do. Well, we should not be dictated

to by the ANC. They should not have an effective veto over Australian policy. ’

REF: TRAN$CR\NM\ADEL02 4.

It's about time Mr Keating did what he said, and that's acted in Australia's best interests - took an independent stand and scrapped the sanctions. Because if we hang on to them, and everyone else gets rid’ of them, he's putting us at a major disadvantage.

Jrnlst:

Have you considered what that would mean for South Australia's bid for the Commonwealth Games?

Hewson:

. · **

W e l l , I h a v e t o t a k e a n a t i o n a l p e r s p e c t i v e - as I t a k e a

n a t i o n a l p e r s p e c t i v e , b y t h e way, o n t h e b i d . I ’v e s u p p o r t e d

e a c h o f t h e c i t i e s t h a t h a v e t r i e d , in a G a m e s s e n s e , in r e c e n t

y e a r s . I s u p p o r t e d t h e M e l b o u r n e O l y m p i c B i d . 1 s u p p o r t t h i s

S o u t h A u s t r a l i a n b i d . B u t it is a n i s s u e t h a t w e ' v e g o t t o d e a l w i t h f r o m a n a t i o n a l p e r s p e c t i v e . I h a v e a b s o l u t e l y n o d o u b t t h a t , at t h e p r e s e n t t i m e , i t ' s in A u s t r a l i a ' s b e s t i n t e r e s t s to p u s h v e r y s t r o n g l y f o r t h e d i s m a n t l i n g of s a n c t i o n s w i t h S o u t h A f r i c a . A n d w e s h o u l d d o t h a t a s a m a t t e r o f u r g e n c y .

I h o p e it d o e s n ’t c a r r y t h r o u g h , o f c o u r s e , in a n u n f a v o u r a b l e w a y t o S o u t h A u s t r a l i a . B u t w e h a v e t o c a l l n a t i o n a l i s s u e s in t h e n a t i o n a l i n t e r e s t .

J r n l s t :

D o y o u t h i n k t h a t A u s t r a l i a s h o u l d p u s h w i t h i n t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h t o c h a n g e t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h s t a n d , r a t h e r t h a n g o a l o n e - g o a g a i n s t t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h o n t h i s i s s u e ?

H e w s o n :

I ' m a c t u a l l y h a p p y f o r t h e m t o g o a l o n e . B u t if t h e y w a n t to w o r k w i t h i n t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h , t h e y c a n p r o v i d e a l e a d e r s h i p r o l e w i t h i n t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h as a m a t t e r of u r g e n c y .

J r n l s t : ' .

H o w c a n y o u k e e p t h e M o n a r c h y a n d be o u t of t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h , o r b r e a k w i t h t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h ?

H e w s o n :

H a n g on. W e ' r e n o t s u g g e s t i n g b r e a k i n g f r o m t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h . P r i m e M i n i s t e r M a j o r h a s a l r e a d y f o r e s h a d o w e d t h a t h e w o u l d a b o l i s h s a n c t i o n s . W e a r e t h e o n e s d r a g g i n g t h e c h a i n in t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h . C a n y o u i m a g i n e t h e l e a d e r s h i p r o l e t h a t M a j o r a n d

K e a t i n g c o u l d p l a y in t h e C o m m o n w e a l t h If t h e y s a i d w e ' v e g o t to m o v e i m m e d i a t e l y t o s c r a p s a n c t i o n s .

REF: TRANSCR\NM\ADEL02 5. if

It is one of those things that the Commonwealth is just being used as an excuse.. What's happened Is .Paul Keating has been around the place - all this cheap, nationalistic rhetoric. It's phoney. And it's just been shown to be phoney by his Inability to grab the first test that comes along, and act in our best

iuLej-eyto. If we are genuinely independent, he'd make tne statement. He'd make the decision. He'd dismantle the

sanctions. But of course, it’s all been huff and puff, as it usually is. Never listen to what he says. Watch what he does.

Jrnlst:

With regard to the Liberal leadership crisis here in South Australia - have you been holding talks with Dale Baker or John Olsen?

Hewson:

I've simply Just been kept Informed about what's happening. I don't involve myself in State political matters if I can help It.

Jrnlst: :-

Do you think John Olsen should be the new leader for the South1 Australian Liberal Party?

Hewson:

It's for John Olsen to determine whether he wants to go back to Couth Australia, and whether 2le wants to run. It's nut fur me to say. But I've been kept informed of their intentions. I think the process will now run its course.

Jrnlst:

Are you disturbed by the uncertainty of the leadership?

Hewson: "

I think they're showing a capacity to handle a problem. 1 think that people will see it as such.

Jrnlst:

On a totally different issue, cdn you give us your tip for the South Australian National Football League Premier this year?

Hewson:

No, I can't yet. I'm not that close to it. Every time I pick one, I will offend just about everyone else. I'm going to Port Adelaide tonight. I'll have to say that I think they're going to do very well this year. They came, what, about 5th last year?

REF: TRANSCR\NM\ADEL02 6.

There's no mileage in~my business in picking the team, although we play these weekly games of trying to pick the results of games. But I think it's a pretty health league. I've got a particular problem, to be honest. I think Port will do well, but my wife supports Sturt, so I've got to go quietly 1