Howard Continues To Back Hollingworth

Prime Minister John Howard has continued his support for the Governor-General, Dr. Peter Hollingworth.

In a doorstop interview today, Howard said: “I can only honestly form a view and the view I have honestly formed is that the grounds do not exist for me to recommend to the Queen that he be removed.”

  • Listen to Howard (3m)

Transcript of doorstop interview by the Prime Minister, John Howard, in Melbourne.

JOURNALIST: …..Was it discussed today?

PRIME MINISTER: It was a very productive meeting. We discussed a whole range of subjects that Cabinets normally discuss. We discussed everything.

JOURNALIST: No change in the Government’s position….?

PRIME MINISTER: I explained last week the reasons why I did not believe grounds existed for his removal. Nothing has happened since then to alter that view.

Somebody in my position has to base decisions relating to advice to the Queen on objective criteria. Not on opinion polls, but on what I regard as the merits of the situation. It’s incumbent upon somebody in my position not to adjust my views according to what is on the front page of the newspaper each morning or what may be the clamour on talkback radio and on this particular issue it remains my view, unpopular though it may be with some people, perhaps even on this occasion at the moment a majority of the Australian community.

I can only honestly form a view and the view I have honestly formed is that the grounds do not exist for me to recommend to the Queen that he be removed. I’ve thought long and hard and nothing has changed that view. I respect the views of people who hold an opposite opinion. It’s a difficult issue. I feel for him. I feel very particularly for people whose unhappy recollections of child abuse are triggered by this constant reference to the issue. I feel deeply for them, particularly for them do I feel…it’s an awkward situation for all of us but I do ask people to stop and pause and think for a moment that these are not issues that can just be determined by the volume on talkback radio or on the front page of newspapers.

You have to reflect and you have to ask yourself are there grounds for me to recommend to the Queen that his appointment be revoked. On the information currently available to me I sincerely believe that no such grounds exist and that is why I have taken the position that I have.

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