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Transcript of doorstop: Sydney: 30th July 2003: terrorist threat; Badgerys Creek; ALP.

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Subjects: Terrorist threat; Badgerys Creek; ALP

JOURNALIST: Mr Crean, how credible do you think these latest reports on the threat to Australia are?

CREAN: I don’t know, but I intend to find out. I think it is important that if there are serious threats we take appropriate notice of them. But, I’ll be seeking further information this afternoon.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s our involvement in Iraq and things like that that are making us even a possible threat?

CREAN: I don’t think we should speculate on these things. If it is to do with Australia’s security we should get the facts right. We should understand what they are and we should take appropriate warnings from those facts. I intend to find out.

JOURNALIST: Do you think there’s a serious threat to any of the Labor seats around the airport after the recent decision?

CREAN: The decision in terms of Badgerys is the correct one. There should be a second airport in Sydney but it shouldn’t be at Badgerys Creek. I intend to ensure that we get that second airport and to undertake the consultations and to ensure that the solution has community support.

JOURNALIST: What about the dissent amongst members about it. Is this a test of your leadership?

CREAN: It was always a difficult issue to deal with. But this one was the correct decision. I’m sorry that there wasn’t better consultation, there should have been. And I’m going to make sure that in terms of developing it from here there is that proper consultation. But, I make it clear again, the commitment is a second airport for Sydney, to take the pressure off Kingsford-Smith. The simple proposition the other day was that it shouldn’t be at Badgerys Creek.

JOURNALIST: So that lack of consultation was your fault?

CREAN: I’m saying that we’ll improve upon it and I’ve had all I’ve got to say about it. I’ll have further conversations with my colleagues.

JOURNALIST: …threat…charities…[inaudible]…?

CREAN: Governments should never buy silence or threaten to do it. We are getting to a dreadful position in this country with a Government that wants to muzzle the ABC, and now wants to muzzle charities. I mean, charities are there to do public good. Governments should support them, they shouldn’t muzzle them.

JOURNALIST: What do you think of Mr Sword’s latest claims about branch stacking in Victoria, an ongoing problem that seems to be getting worse rather than better?

CREAN: No, I’ve ensured through the changes to the rules of the Labor Party that branch stackers not be rewarded. I’ve introduced a rule that says if you can’t vote in a Federal election you shouldn’t vote in a preselection, that the basis for entitlement be the Commonwealth Electoral roll. That’s now been adopted at the rules conference, it has to be adopted by every state branch.

JOURNALIST: How long will that take?

CREAN: It takes the process of the conference. But the rule is there. It has to be adopted. And if any one has allegations based on branch stacking they know where to refer them and they know that we’ve now got tougher rules to deal with them, to deal with the branch stackers, against the branch stackers. I want to reward genuine participants, not the branch


JOURNALIST: Are you at all concerned at these reported moves to out you in Hotham?

CREAN: I intend staying in Hotham for a very long period of time. Hotham has been a great support for me and I’ve always respected and appreciated that. I’m going to be around for a long time to come.

JOURNALIST: Is there an ongoing problem with opposition to change the ALP. Are you getting through?

CREAN: No, I’ve got the rules changes that I want. What the state branches have to do is to adopt them. Of course there is going to be opposition to change because people’s positions are threatened. Well, I’m

sorry, I’m going to make sure that the Party is open, it’s honest and it’s accountable. And that’s what I expect the branches to adopt.