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Parliament, pay TV, airlines



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Leader o f the Opposition

4 June 1992 REF: TRANSCR\0490\BQ

DR JOHN HEWSON, MP TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

E & 0 E - PROOF COPY ONLY

SUBJECTS: Parliament, Pay TV, Airlines.

J m l s t :

... (inaudible) ... gave you in the foot yesterday.

Hewson:

I think we have asked better questions, haven't weJ

Jrnlst:

But it was a little bit embarrassing for you yesterday, wasn't it?

Hewson:

Sure yeah, it's embarrassing, but you don't want to miss the point. The real point of the issue is that Keating has been

running a class warfare ticket against us, he says that I am 'a scrubber from the Western Suburbs who has forsaken his class', and the evidence is that Paul Keating is a very wealthy man and he has got an enormous double standard when it comes to attacking others. So, I think the point is there, you shouldn't miss the point, but I agree we could handle some of those questions a

little bit better.

Jrnlst:

Will it make you do your homework a bit better next time?

Hewson;

Yeah I guess that's right. We will still continue to pursue the issues and if he wants a debate about class in Australia, which I thought was a dead debate, I didn't think we were a class based

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 2774022

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MiCAH

REF: TRANSCR\0490\BQ 2.

society any m o r e . But he seems intent on making class warfare, well in that sense he has got to cop it just as he has got to

give it o ut.

J m l s t :

About Pay Television, what do you think of the decision

yesterday?

Hewson:

Well we find it absolutely amazing, this whole process for the last 4 or 5 days has just had all the earmarks of the final days of the Whitlam Government, just total desperation. The Prime Minister going off half-cocked on television without consulting

anybody, he goes on television tries to make a lot of noise and get a lot of attention and a few days later he has completely reversed the decisions with no explanation as to why accept that he was getting rolled so he grabbed whatever he could get, which

is no way to run the country, it is really desperate stuff. On Pay TV itself, well we have been concerned right through to ensure that there is competition from the point of view of the viewers. We are worried that the viewers get the best service

at the best price and he seems only interested in the owners, in the operators, the media barons. And what is good for them is not necessarily good for the viewer so we will be scrutinising the decision as it finally emerges, I guess, in legislation in due course. But it just shows that it's desperate stuff done in the dead of night, do factional deals, you know, I can't have this well I'll take that, not in the best interests of the

country, it is just no way to run the country.

J m l s t :

Alright, well given that it may even have shortcomings, the policy shifts of the Government has pulled off this week appear to have its perceptions, what sort of tactics have you got today to raise your profile a bit?

Hewson:

We don't see it as raising our profile. We see it as again,

scrutinising those decisions from the point of view of what should be done. Now the airline decision will not give you the competition that we need. The easiest way to get competition into the domestic aviation industry and to lower fares, which is what it is all about, Compass demonstrated that you can lower

fares, well the easy way to do that was to let Qantas start

flying domestically and to compete with Australian and to compete with Ansett. Now, of course, that was an option I thought the Government had actually supported earlier on, now they have decided to merge the two, Australian and Qantas, and reduce the

competition and we are concerned therefore that the benefits that would have been there from real competition, that's lower

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airfares to average Australians, just won't be there or won't be there to the same extent. And the same with Pay TV, we don't

know where that will come out, but he hasn't had the interest of viewers at heart and he hasn't been interested in competition. And we're going to end up, I guess, with two big airlines in

Australia and two big Pay TV operators in Australia and I thought all these two airline policies and so on were scrapped as being undesirable and not in the best interests of Australians.