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Transcript of doorstop interview: Launceston: 8 February 1991: Pulp mills; wool floor price scheme; Gulf war consultation



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Leader of the Opposition

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW WITH DR JOHN HEWSON, MP, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION LAUNCESTON, FRIDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 1991

E & EO - PROOF COPY ONLY

SUBJECTS: P u lp mills, Wool flo o r p r i c e sch em e , Gulf w a r c o n s u l t a t i o n .

JRNLST:

Well, Mr Hewson, y e s t e r d a y (H a r r is ) D aishow a h a s s a id t h e r e w a s no

p o s s i b i l i t y of a p u l p mill b e i n g b u i l t in A u s t r a l i a b e c a u s e of econom ic

r e a s o n s . What do you t h i n k p r o m p t e d th e m to s a y t h a t .

HEWSON:

Well, t h e y 'v e o b v i o u s l y d o n e some a s s e s s m e n t t h a t ' s led th e m to t h a t

c o n c lu s io n . I m ean, t h e y ' r e e n t i t l e d to t h e i r view , o t h e r s d o n ’t a g r e e w ith

them . As 1 s a y , i t ’s a lw a y s u p to t h e c o m p a n ie s in t h e e n d , o n c e t h e

G o v e r n m e n t h a s s e t t h e r u l e s on t h e e n v i r o n m e n t , a n d w h a t s t a n d a r d s n e e d

to be met, t h e c o m p a n ie s c a n do t h e i r a s s e s s m e n t s a n d make t h e i r p r o p o s a l s

of t h e s i t e s t h e y a r e i n t e r e s t e d in o r n o t i n t e r e s t e d in a n d m a y b e H a n d s

D aishow a h a s p u ll e d o u t, b u t o t h e r s h a v e n ’t.

JRNLST:

A re you s u r p r i s e d b y t h a t a s s e s s m e n t , t h o u g h .

HEWSON:

Well, s u r p r i s e d o n t h e b a s is of w h a t I ’v e h e a r d fro m o t h e r s , y e s . B u t, I

mean, m a y b e t h e y g o t a d i f f e r e n t t y p e of o p e r a t i o n in mind. T h a t 's w h a t

c o m p e titio n is all a b o u t . I t ’s a good th i n g .

JRNLST:

I t c o u ld b e more t h a n c o in c id e n c e , t h o u g h , t h a t o n ly to d a y is t h e d e a d l in e

f o r a T asm an tun p u l p mill.

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 77 4022 j COMMONWEALTH"™"

I PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY j MICAH

HEWSON:

Well, it m ig h t be c o in c id e n c e , I t m ig h t be t h e y ’v e d e c i d e d n o t to go a h e a d .

Look, I d o n 't know . E ach c o m p an y is in i t ’s ow n p o s itio n . I t ’s g o t

d i f f e r e n t c o n s t r a i n t s o n i t ' s o p e r a t io n s . 1 t h i n k i t is i m p o r t a n t t h a t t h e y

g e t c l e a r r u l e s from g o v e r n m e n t, c l e a r s e n s e o f d i r e c t i o n , a n d t h e y go

a h e a d a n d m ake t h e i r d e c is io n s .

JRNLST: .

Dr H ew son, w h a t a s s u r a n c e s h a v e y o u b e e n a b l e to g iv e o u r w o o lg r o w e r s in

t h e m e e tin g y o u 'v e j u s t held.

HEWSON:

T h a t we will t r y a n d g e t to a com p lete r e a l i s t i c a s s e s s m e n t of t h e s i t u a t i o n

a n d be a s c o n s t r u c t i v e a s we can in f o r m u l a tin g t h e new s y s te m .

JRNLST:

Some g r o w e r s a r e te llin g u s t h a t f o r t h e i r L ib e ra l P a r t y to s im p ly s a y t h e y

a r e g o in g to b e c o n s t r u c t i v e i s n ’t e n o u g h . T h a t t h e y n e e d a d e f i n i t i v e

s t a t e m e n t on w h a t y o u r p olicy is on m a in ta in in g t h e f lo o r p r i c e s c h e m e . Do

you s u p p o r t i t s m a in te n a n c e .

HEWSON:

T h o s e g r o w e r s t h a t claim i t ' s t h e i r P a r t y is r a t h e r n o v el. W e're n o t

a n y b o d y ' s p a r t y - we g o v e r n in t h e b e s t i n t e r e s t s of A u s tr a lia . We will, in

t h i s c a s e call t h e s h o t s in t h e way we s e e it in t h e b e s t i n t e r e s t s of

A u s t r a l i a a n d , of c o u r s e , we t a k e in to c o n s i d e r a t i o n t h e v ie w s o f g r o w e r s .

We t a k e in to c o n s i d e r a t i o n a lot of o t h e r f a c t o r s a s well. So, t h e y c a n be

a s s u r e d t h a t we will do the. b e s t jo b in t h e i n t e r e s t s of A u s t r a l i a n s

i n c l u d i n g them .

JRNLST;

So, w h a t w o u ld you te ll th e m is y o u r p o licy o n m a in ta in in g t h e , on w h e t h e r

t h e flo o r p r i c e s c h e m e s h o u ld be m a in ta in e d ?

HEWSON:

W e've to ld th e m t h a t if t h e y w a n t to m a in ta in t h e f lo o r p r i c e s c h e m e o r t h e

700 c e n t s a s in t h e p a s t , t h e y h a v e to do s o m e th in g a b o u t s u p p l y - t h e

i n d u s t r y h a s g o t to fa c e r e a l ity . The i n d u s t r y h a s now s a id t h a t it w a n t s

to s u s p e n d s a le s - t h e y p r e s u m a b l y h a v e no c o n f i d e n c e in t h e f lo o r p r i c e

a r r a n g e m e n t s a s t h e y h a v e b e e n o p e r a t i n g - w h y e l s e w ould t h e y s u s p e n d

s a le s ? So, t h e y h a v e t h r o w n t h i s s i tu a tio n u p a n d i t h a s g o t to be looked

a t a n d we a r e b e in g a s c o n s t r u c t i v e a s we c a n be.

JRNLST:

What d id t h e w o o lg r o w e r s s a y to you t h i s m o rn in g a b o u t m a in ta in in g t h e

flo u r p r ic e s c h e m e ? ■

HEWSON:

Well, t h e r e a r e a g r o u p of g r o w e r s t h a t h a v e a view a s to w h a t s h o u ld be

d o n e a b o u t t h e sc h e m e a n d you s h o u ld a s k th e m f o r t h e i r v ie w s a s to w h a t

t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r p r o p o s a l is - t h e r e a r e a lo t of g r o w e r s , lo ts of g r o u p s of

g r o w e r o r g a n i s a t i o n s , a lo t of vie w s a b o u t w h a t o u g h t to b e d o ne. Some

w a n t to k e e p t h e s c h e m e , some w a n t to g e t r id of t h e schem e.

JRNLST:

Are y ou h a p p y w ith t h e c o n s u lt a ti o n you h a v e b e e n g e t t i n g from t h e P rim e

M in is te r o v e r t h e Gulf w ar?

HEWSON:

Yes, in g e n e r a l we h a v e b e e n . We h a v e a s k e d t h a t a t e a c h s t a g e of p r o c e s s

of com m itting o u r men a n d women to t h e Gulf o r in c h a n g i n g t h e n a t u r e of

o u r com m itm ent t h a t t h e y c o n s u l t u s a n d he h a s g e n e r a l l y d o n e t h a t . On

t h e m ost r e c e n t o c c a s io n , w ith t h e d i v e r s , h e d i d n ’t c o n s u l t u s so I p o in t e d

o u t t h a t I t h o u g h t he le t u s dow n on t h a t o cca sio n .

JRNLST:

P r e s i d e n t B u sh h a s j u s t s p o k e n w ith t h e Prim e M in is te r t o d a y - w o u ld y o u

e x p e c t to b e c o n s u l t e d b y t h e Prim e M in is te r on t h a t c o n s e r v a t i o n ?

HEWSON:

I d o n ’t know w h y P r e s i d e n t B u s h a n d t h e Prim e M in is te r s p o k e b u t I'm

s u r e t h a t if t h e r e is a n y t h i n g t h a t w as s a id in t h a t c o n v e r s a t i o n t h a t

a f f e c t s t h e n a t u r e of o u r in v o lv e m e n t in t h e Gulf, t h e Prim e M in is te r will

call mo.

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