Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of doorstop interview of the Prime Minister the Hon John Howard MP: Parliament House, Canberra: 9 August 2004: US Free Trade Agreement. \n\n



Download PDFDownload PDF

PRIME MINISTER

9 August 2004

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEW PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

Subjects: US Free Trade Agreement.

E&OE……………………………………………………………………………

JOURNALIST:

(inaudible) amendments for a very short time.

PRIME MINISTER:

About 90 minutes.

JOURNALIST:

But could you tell us - what are you asking your lawyers to look at in particular? What particular issues are you asking them to...

PRIME MINISTER:

I'm asking them to give me some advice on it and I will not state a final Government position until I have that advice. We have after all waited six days. But two things are very clear. The first of those of course is that there has been no need for any amendment because the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme is not weakened by the Free Trade Agreement. That's always been the case. Secondly and very interestingly is that the amendment we've been given this afternoon is very different from the amendment of which Mr Latham spoke last Tuesday. There is no reference to patent applications. There are plenty of references a la last Thursday morning to court proceedings. He has shifted his ground and I welcome that. I welcome it very warmly. And I want this Free

Trade Agreement. I've worked very hard for it and it's very important to Australia's future, and frankly it's more important to Australia that we get this Free Trade Agreement than I have a victory or Mr Latham has a victory. We're secondary to the national interest, and that is that we get the Free Trade Agreement.

JOURNALIST:

Do you still hope to get it through by the end of the week?

PRIME MINISTER:

I hope so. I hope so. But let me get some advice. I'm entitled to have that. It's a long, complicated amendment, but it clearly doesn't talk about patent applications, and I had a real concern about that because you'd have gummed up the whole intellectual property system.

[ends]