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Transcript of Interview: 'The World Today', ABC: 30 July 1993: Malcolm Turnbull; Bronwyn Bishop; Richard Court



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Leader of the Opposition

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30th July, 1993 REF: TRANSCR\WH\DT\018

TRANSCRIPT OF JOHN HEWSON MP ON THE WORLD TODAY* ABC RADIO

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SUBJECTS: Malcolm Turnbull, Bronwyn Bishop, Richard Court

Paffreyman:

The Leader of the Opposition, John Hewson, has called on the Prime Minister to sack the chairman of the republican advisory committee, Malcolm Turnbull. Dr Hewson says that it is up to the Prime Minister to pull him into line and claims the more moderate members of the Republican Advisory Committee which includes the former Liberal premier from New South Wales, Nick Greiner, are shocked by the partisan position taken by Mr Turnbull.

Earlier this week Mr Turnbull described the Liberal Party's position on the republic as unintelligent. But the Liberal leadership issue was also close to the surface throughout the week and will be again today when the former deputy leader of the Liberal Party, Peter Reith, addresses a new grass roots Liberal group in Melbourne on the future directions of the party. Our chief political correspondent, John Shovelan, asks the leader of the

opposition, Dr Hewson, if he knew what Mr Reith might be talking about.

Hewson:

No I don't. I haven't spoken to him about that address but I'm sure it will be a very useful contribution to the debate.

Shovelan:

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

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Hewson: : κ · ! I

Well that was just speculation on the back of what I said at the Victorian convention last weekend and as I've said many many times before I was disappointed when Peter went to the backbench and I'm always looking at ways to bring him back into the team so you know, and beyond that I think the press have read a lot into it...

Shovelan:

Did you ... were you considering say offering him a role on the Republic or Mabo?

Hewson:

No look that's just pure speculation. What I would say about Peter speaking today though is that I personally welcome the interchange of ideas that naturally follows an election loss like this. I'm keen to hear what our colleagues have got to say and we've been encouraging that in public and private forums all around Australia. I think it will be a healthy process and

I think the Liberal Party will come out stronger from it.

Shovelan:

Somebody like Mr Reith might be handy though because relations between yourself and Mr Turnbull the chair of the Republican Advisory Committee appear to have sunk pretty low. Yesterday you called him an apologist for the Prime Minister.

Hewson:

You know it's absolutely amazing. I mean what we've had is his blatant involvement in partisan politics. It's totally incompatible with his position as Chairman of the republican Advisory Committee and I'd issue a very stern challenge to the Prime Minister to pull him into line immediately and quite frankly if Mr Turnbull will not accept the proper constraints

of his position he should step down or be stood down. You can't have somebody in his position running a blatant political line. And you know you see some of the attacks that he made this week, he called us, the chioce, he said, in the debate is between an intelligent and an unintelligent party. I mean that sounds more like an apology for Mr Keating and the Labor Party than it does for you know a man who's supposed to be running an independent committee to look at the issue of the Republic. I must say some of the more moderate people on his committee must have been surprised by that statement. I wonder whether they would associate themselves with it.

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Shovelan:

But he's only taking part in the hurly burly of public affairs isn't he? I mean after all you and the Liberal Party haven't been particularly helpful in pursuing his republican agenda.

Hewson:

No but it's not his role to actually run the agenda. I mean he's been exposed in a number of ways. I mean early on well we've seen he's gone way beyond his terms of reference, there's another reason why he ought to be pulled into line. He started out with an options, after an options paper for implementing a minimalist version of the Republic. Now within days he started to broaden that agenda. About ten days ago he scrapped the minimalist view altogether. So either the Prime Minister pulls him into line or the cat's out of the bag.

He is actually running an agenda on behalf of the government and against us. Look, if you want sensible constitutional change in Australia the only way you going to get it is to build a consensus, not to divide the nation. Now is the Prime Minister running a political agenda, is he being divisive, is this a distraction from the other woes of the Labor government? If

he doesn't pull Mr Turnbull into line that's the only conclusion we will be able to draw.

Shovelan:

Dr Hewson, this week you seem to be shadowed across the country by Senator Bishop on her endless pilgrimage and pursuit of you and your job. But the West Australian Premier, Richard Court, also threatened to withdraw support for your leadership unless you supported his position on Mabo. Do you intend taking any notice of Mr Court?

Hewson:

Well look you've got two points there. Bronwyn's passage across Australia has merely been a coincidence. It's quite natural that a number of my colleagues go to different state conventions and so in different parts of Australia. The fact that we were in Newcastle with the Shadow Cabinet yesterday when she was speaking that was just a coincidence. But

I do welcome the role that Bronwyn's playing out there attacking the government. I think that's very important. The more we can get people.out there attacking the government the more we look like a team and the better we take it;to the government. On Richard Court,

look I've listened and had many, listened to Richard for a long time, I've had many discussions with him. We have some agreed ground. We both think that the top priority must be for the Commonwealth and the States to agree on complimentary legislation to secure existing title. I have taken on board his other remarks, we've had discussions within our party, within our sub-committee, within our Shadow Cabinet about these but I must take

a national view in doing that. I recognise the position of Mr Court is a very difficult one with potentially a significant number of claims to be made in Western Australia although if you

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look at what Mr Tickner said yesterday, that he doesn't expect there to be any significant new tracts of land to go under the title of Native Title.

Ratfreyman:

Opposition Leader, John Hewson.