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Prime Minister outlines his goals should his Government be re-elected.

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Thursday 8 July 2004

Prime Minister outlines his goals should his Government be re-elected


TONY EASTLEY: After a week when national politics has been dominated by what Mar k Latham did or didn't do, John Howard is hoping that today people will be talking about him. 


Mr Howard who turns 65 in a few weeks, wants to convince Australians that he and his government still have plenty to offer. In an address described as looking "over the horizon", the Prime Minister will be setting out his goals, if he wins a fourth term in government. 


Today's speech will tackle three main themes: health and education, the environment, and what he calls an enterprise culture. 


The Prime Minister has been speaking about his speech to AM 's Nick Grimm in Canberra. 


JOHN HOWARD: Our two great responsibilities are to maintain a strong economy and to ensure that the nation is secured and adequately defended. Without those you can't aspire to other goals.  


But some of the goals I'll be talking about for a fourth term - that is if the Australian people are kind enough to give it to us. We don't take that for granted. I want to talk about the need to have an enterprise culture in this country.  


I'll be stressing our reaffirmation of a fair and decent society and also I'll be talking about the need to have a sustainable continent, which carries with it a concern for the environment and a consistency between care for the environment and the development of our nation including of course, an emphasis on its future infrastructure needs. 


NICK GRIMM: Indeed this has been characterised as an "over the horizon" speech. What do you mean by that? 


JOHN HOWARD: Well, I think it's important from time to time for a national political leader, particularly a Prime Minister, to look ahead; to take people into his confidence about the broad issues that he believes are going to affect the nation for the next ten years.  


Now, I'll be talking in conceptual terms about these issues, there'll also be some specifics. But it'll be very much a speech in which I seek to share with the Australian people what I believe are our responsibilities and our goals if the Australian people are good enough to give us a fourth term. 


NICK GRIMM: Well, one of the areas that you're planning to talk about, as I understand it, is the nature of the changing workplace; employment opportunities for older Australians and opportunities for people working from home? 


JOHN HOWARD: Yes, I think we are seeing historic shifts in work patterns. We're seeing more and more a decentralisation of our workplaces. I think we've seen an explosion of small business that are operated from home, particularly but only of course, by women.  


And we need to give reality to the opportunities that we say older workers should have to stay in workforce if they want to. We're not asking people to stay in the workforce if they don't want to, but we do need to more effectively respond to those who do want to stay in the workforce for a longer period of time.  


And we've already made some announcements in that area and over the weeks and months ahead we'll be developing some further ideas in that context. 


NICK GRIMM: The challenge for you, Prime Minister, is it not, that you have to tackle the apprehension that yours is a government that's run out of new ideas? 


JOHN HOWARD: Well, I don't think we are a government that has to tackle that apprehension at all. I would have thought any examination of the political scene over the past few months will reveal that we are the party that's been talking about the future.  


The Labor Party is the one that's been really saying nothing. I mean, what is Mr Latham's health policy, what's his education policy, what's his tax policy, what's his economic policy? He's only got two policies - cut and run from Iraq and hand industrial relations back to the unions. 


TONY EASTLEY: John Howard.