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Transcript of interview with Paul Murphy: ABC PM: 25 February 1991: resignation of the Hon Neil Brown, QC MP and new appointments to Shadow Ministry



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Leader o f the Opposition

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INTERVIEW - ABC PM PROGRAM DR JOHN HEWSON MP, LEADER OP THE OPPOSITION MONDAY, 25 FEBRUARY 1991

E & OE - PROOF COPY ONLY

SUBJECT: Resignation of the Hon Neil Brown, QC MP and new appointments to.Shadow Ministry

Murphy:

Now, I've been joined on the line by the Opposition Leader, Dr John Hewson. Dr Hewson, were you surprised at Mr Brown's resignation, the fact that it became effective today.

Hewson:

Good evening Paul. Look, I was disappointed that Neil has

decided to go. Obviously he's a very valuable member of the team but I understand the arguments that he's just put to you and the desire he has to return to the law. . So, disappointed, but I accept his right to make that decision.

Murphy:

Did you try to talk him out of it.

Hewson:

He spoke to me a couple of days ago and said he was thinking

about it and I asked him to do that, but I've always been fairly fatalistic about these things. I mean, if somebody has made up their mind that its time for a career change, I think it's

important that you respect their decision. But he did take a couple of days to think about it and he called me today about 4.00 o'clock and said, no, he'd decided to go. So I faced the reality of that.

Murphy:

How long has been wrestling with this decision, I wonder.

Hewson:

That's really for you to ask Neil Brown.

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

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Yes, indeed. Well, you've said that he's a great loss, you

obviously tried to talk him out of it, but I think you've already announced a replacement for his Shadow portfolio. Will you take the opportunity for a general Shadow Cabinet reshuffle.

Hewson:

No, I've just made three consequential changes, Paul. I've moved Warwick Smith across from Privatisation to the Shadow Minsiter for Communications, I've introduced Julian Beale for the Shadow Ministry as Shadow Minister for Privatisation, and I've promoted

Dr David Kemp from the outer Ministry to the Cabinet, as Shadow Minister for Education.

Murphy:

And do you think you'll stick to those replacements until the next election.

Hewson:

That's my intention. I always as I said monitor the performance of everyone, I want to take the best team I can into the next

election, I think the team has been performing particularly well, and it was only as a result of Neil's change that I made those changes.

Murphy:

Rightly or wrongly, there's been some criticism of Peter Reith as Shadow Treasurer. You weren't tempted, were you, to perhaps offer Mr Reith the Communications Portfolio and put John Howard in as Shadow Treasurer.

Hewson:

Not at all. I'm completely happy with Peter Reith's performance and with John Howard's in Shadow Minister for Industrial

Relations. I think John is uniquely suited to handling what will be that very difficult portfolio and Peter is doing an excellent job as Shadow Treasurer.

Murphy:

And Dr Hewson, what do you expect to happen about a by-election.

Hewson:

Well, I, you know, its a seat we hold by about 14%. It was part of a big swing in Victoria last time. I think there was about a 5% swing across Victoria last time. We expect to do well.

We're quietly confident.

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Murphys

OK Dr Hewson. Thanks for coming on to PM at such short notice. The Opposition Leader, Dr John Hewson.

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