Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of 3 doorstop interviews: 7 July 2003: Parliament House, Canberra: Mark Philippoussis; Jeremy Little's death; Iraq WMD; Access economics.



Download PDFDownload PDF

PRIME MINISTER

7 July 2003

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP DOORSTOP INTERVIEWS - X 3 PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

Subjects: Mark Philippoussis; Jeremy Little's death; Iraq WMD; Access economics

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………….

JOURNALIST:

What did you think of Mark Philippoussis’s performance?

PRIME MINISTER:

I’ve sent him a message. I spoke to him before the game and wished him well, and I’ve just sent him a message saying that he fought very bravely. He was very gracious in defeat. I think all Australians admire his astonishing comeback, and he has got years of very good tennis left in him and I’m certain he’ll hold that trophy aloft at some time in the future.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, you’ve heard about Jeremy Little dying during the night.

HOWARD:

Yes. I want to say how terribly saddened I am and I know everybody will be at his death. We thought earlier on that he might be going to make it and I really want to express on my behalf and that of the government to his family, I know his father’s been with him in Germany, our condolences. It’s a terrible reminder of how dangerous is the life of a journalist, of a cameraman, of a reporter, in an area wracked by violence and all I can say how very sorry we are that this conflict and its aftermath has claimed the life of another Australian. I’m very sorry.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, the death of Jeremy Little, [inaudible]..

www.pm.gov.au

2

PRIME MINISTER:

Well the death of anybody is cause of great regret, of course it is.

JOURNALIST:

Does it show how dangerous the situation still is in Iraq?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well any part of the world that has just emerged from military conflict is dangerous. Berlin in 1945 was dangerous, so was Tokyo in 1945. This idea that you can emerge from military conflict and there’s no danger, and the danger is abolished overnight, is just unrealistic and I think it’s important to bear that in mind, it’s important to remember that although we don’t have a large number of peace keepers there, there still are Australian military personnel in Iraq and therefore there is an element of danger involved. Any military presence involves danger and I’m aware of that and I know the American government and the administration and the British government is aware of that and I am clearly saddened by the deaths that have occurred since the end of hostilities. But when you have a military operation, when you get rid of a dictator, while still people believe that dictator may be alive and exercising influence there’s inevitably going to be scattered retaliation and that’s what occurring. And I don’t think anybody pretended that that wasn’t going to happen. It is still dangerous but it hasn’t altered the fact that it was the right thing to do. Every day that uncovers more mass graves is a demonstration that there’s a huge humanitarian and moral dividend out of what took place and that it was right. In terms of Australia's participation our case was built on the failure of Iraq to comply with UN resolutions and that still remains the case and I’m still very strong in my belief that Australia did the right thing.

JOURNALIST:

[inaudible] made aware several months before the war in Iraq Prime Minister that Iraq wasn’t invigorating it’s nuclear weapons program?

PRIME MINISTER:

Geof, what I said on that issue was accurate.

JOURNALIST:

Prime Minister, Access Economics has come out with a report today saying that there is a real possibility the government would allow another round of tax cuts before….?

PRIME MINISTER:

Well we’ve only just had the last budget. Let’s not start talking about the next one.

[ends]