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Opposition Leader discusses the Prime Minister's response to parliamentary speech by Pauline Hanson; criticises his failure to change the Queensland Coalition's decision on One Nation preferences.

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Subjects: Pauline Hanson


SARA: Mr. Beazley, has John Howard done the right thing with his reaction to Pauline Hanson’s speech?


BEAZLEY: Well, he describes her speech as racist, deranged and irresponsible. All epithets that I would agree with. But yet he preferences her. Yet, the Coalition Parties in the Queensland election, utterly incapable themselves of forming a stable Government, are giving aid and comfort to One Nation.


SARA: But Peter Beattie’s made his own appeal to One Nation voters in terms of preferences as well.


BEAZLEY: But, we make appeal to everybody in terms of preferences. First, we want the first preferences. And, secondly, if you can’t give us the first preference, give us the second preference - situation normal. The question is what you do about them. That’s a totally different matter. Are you going to put them in Parliament, or aren’t you? And, frankly, the Liberal and National Parties are hell-bent on putting her in Parliament.


SARA: Well, let’s go back to Pauline Hanson’s speech itself. What is it that concerns you most about what she had to say?


BEAZLEY: Well, you could start with the racist, deranged and irresponsible that the Prime Minister identified. I’d agree that that’s what concerns me. But, also, l’d take it a point further: the non-factual. The simple fact of the matter is, our laws are devised from two sources. Firstly, the Australian Parliament and, secondly, British Common Law, which we inherited. And international treaties cannot inform either of those except insofar as Parliament permits them to do so. Elected Parliaments by the Australian people, but Parliaments which operate on the basis of those Members of Parliament who turn up - one of whom is not Pauline Hanson.

Whatever else she is doing around the country, she is not in Parliament, deliberating on the things that make Australians secure.


SARA: So, how do we actually handle this , then? You’ve talked about the Prime Minister. You’ve praised in some way what he’s done, his reaction to Pauline Hanson’s speech that she made yesterday. Is there a temptation for you to take the Prime Minister’s ongoing line, and that is to turn the other way?


BEAZLEY: I’m not at all tempted. This is the first time the Prime Minister has not taken his ongoing line to turn away. He has actually correctly characterised this speech. And what he proposes to do about it is nothing. And beyond the fact that he’s identified there are problems with the things that she is saying, what he is not doing is what he should be doing - and that is telling the National Party and the Liberal Party in Queensland to change their position on how they’re going to preference Pauline Hanson’s party. Because the way they’re going at the moment they’re very likely to elect a couple of One Nation candidates who will keep these racist, deranged and irresponsible sentiments batting on, in this case in the Queensland Parliament. And the only way in which Borbidge can now form a government in Queensland is if he does it with a de facto support of One Nation Members of Parliament. That’s not good for the stability of Queensland. lt’s not good for commonsense government in Queensland. Basically, now, only Beattie in Queensland actually stands for stable and responsible government.


SARA: How do you see the mechanics of the way that Pauline

Hanson sentiment and the sentiment of One Nation is gaining support in

Queensland and may well do on the Federal scene?


BEAZLEY: Well, there are many factors involved in that. She has been legitimised as a protest party by the process that Malcolm Fraser described. The fact that two mainstream parties, National and Liberal, have been prepared to give her aid and comfort has allowed her to sustain a level of support which other parties which have had her views and come on the scene from time to time have not been able to do. And that is a problem. And then we look at this candidate that they’ve just picked in Dickson. He happens to be the bloke who was presiding, albeit paid, but presiding at the meeting, which created One Nation , Liberal Candidate. I mean, this is the problem, playing footsy with a Party like this legitimises a party like this.


SARA: Will the ALP continue to deal in preferences with the Anti-Immigration Party?


BEAZLEY: We’ve never dealt in preferences with the Anti-Immigration Party. That is a Liberal furphy to escape their responsibility on this matter. In fact, studies on whe re those preferences have gone and where those how-to-vote cards have gone, have shown in the overwhelming majority of cases, they have gone to the Liberal Party in years past. Our how-to-vote cards are being organised to minimise the informal vote for voter convenience. That’s how we’ve done things. But whatever else you might have to say about it, that Anti-Immigration Party has never hit the Australian scene like One Nation has. And that is why, eighteen months ago, I came out with the Labor Party and said, ‘even though we will suffer political damage as a result of this, we will not preference One Nation’. We absolutely made that clear. And the Prime Minister has sort of being twisting on that spit ever since, and has not done the similar responsible thing.


SARA: Kim Beazley, thank you.


BEAZLEY: Thanks.