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Howard Meets Pope; Discusses Kangaroo Meat

As part of his European trip, Prime Minister John Howard met with the Pope at the Vatican, in Rome.

Amongst other things, Howard discussed kangraroo meat with the Pontiff.

  • Listen to Howard (37s)

Transcript of doorstop interview given by the Prime Minister, John Howard, in Rome, Italy.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how did the discussions with the Pope go?

PRIME MINISTER: It was a great privilege to meet him. We talked about Australia. He remembered with great affection his visits to Australia, his visits to the Northern Territory and to Canberra and Sydney and Melbourne. And we really spent most of our time talking about our country.

JOURNALIST: What were those comments about New Zealand made at the beginning?

PRIME MINISTER: He just asked about… he said New Zealand and Australia are very close and I naturally agreed with that and we talked about the closeness of the two countries.

JOURNALIST: There was a bit of a joke there as well, it appeared at least.

PRIME MINISTER: About the kangaroo, yes.

JOURNALIST: What was the joke?

PRIME MINISTER: Well he just remarked about the kangaroo and its symbolism for Australia and kangaroo meat, and we had quite a laugh about that. He’s in good form.

JOURNALIST: What was the point about the kangaroo meat?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, he just asked… he just mentioned it.

JOURNALIST: It’s a joke Michelle.

JOURNALIST: How did you find the Pope’s well-being, his health?

PRIME MINISTER: Look he’s obviously not a well man. I don’t think there is any doubt he is fighting a lot of ill health. But his strength and determination and mental agility came through. There is no doubt that he is still a very strong man. He’s still very focussed on his responsibilities and his mission as leader of the Catholic Church.

JOURNALIST: Did he raise any spiritual or policy matters with you Prime Minister?


JOURNALIST: And what about the Secretary of State?


JOURNALIST: You also had talks with Sodano, did you not?


JOURNALIST: Did he raise any matters of substance?

PRIME MINISTER: No he didn’t raise stem cell research or any of those other matters you’re talking about. No he didn’t.

JOURNALIST: Any possibility of a new Ambassador to the Holy See?

PRIME MINISTER: I think the present one is doing a fantastic job.

JOURNALIST: Personally, what sort of…

PRIME MINISTER: Look I’ve always admired the Pope because he is not only a great leader of his own Church, but he was a tireless fighter against communism. And what he did as a spiritual counsellor to the people of his native Poland will go down in history as a great contribution to the end of Soviet Imperialism in eastern Europe. I don’t think that should ever be forgotten. And whatever view people take of his other responsibilities, and I take a very positive view of his other responsibilities incidentally, but separately and apart from that I think his role as a force for freedom and good in eastern Europe will be long remembered.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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