Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1988 Aug 5 Fr
Margaret Thatcher

TV Interview for BBC (Brisbane EXPO 88)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: TV Interview
Venue: Media House EXPO 88, Brisbane, Queensland
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: Christopher Morris, BBC
Editorial comments: Between 1500 and 1615 MT gave a press conference and interviews.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 921
Themes: Foreign policy (Australia & NZ), Foreign policy (Middle East), Foreign policy (Asia), Foreign policy (USSR & successor states), Commonwealth (general), Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Christopher Morris, BBC

Prime Minister, can I ask you first of all, have you achieved what you set out to achieve when you came to Australia? It has been a long time since a British Prime Minister came here.

Prime Minister

Yes. I was very anxious, really, to renew the relationship. We had taken it for granted for far too long and you know what happens when you do that: you don't work at it hard enough until all of a sudden you realise that it is not quite the same as it was.

The opportunity really arose because with the Bicentennial - which has been wonderful for Australia and visitors from the whole world have come - I felt that Australia had come to a new conscious confident realisation of her nationhood and her importance in the world and therefore we can go ahead, not only on the basis of common ideals and common heritage, but mutual respect and regard, and that is a much stronger foundation for the future. [end p1]

Christopher Morris, BBC

Mr. Hawke, the Australian Prime Minister, is very concerned about growing influence by the Libyans in the South Pacific region; there is also the possibility that the Russians may be allowed to bring their fishing fleets here. Is that something that might worry you?

Prime Minister

Yes, it has always worried us because we are always conscious that Libya will give funds wherever she can cause trouble. We are also conscious that some of the Russian fishing fleets had approached some of the small islands in the Pacific which, small though they may be and independent though they are now, have a very very important strategic position from the viewpoint of defence.

In days gone by, the small islands used to come under the protection of the powers with whom they were associated. Now, they do not, and one of the difficulties is to try to give them an effective defence, but then you have to watch when these fishing fleets come in to see whether they are always fishing fleets or whether they are collecting other information at the same time.

So yes, we are very wary. Yes, the Pacific is an enormous place and there are considerable worries in the southern part of the Pacific and Mr. Hawke is right to be concerned - and so are we. [end p2]

Christopher Morris, BBC

Because of those worries, then, and because of the loss of Fiji to the Commonwealth, would you like to see Fiji back in the fold?

Prime Minister

I hope that Fiji will come to a constitutional settlement within Fiji - between the Fijians and the Indians - which will be acceptable to all her peoples and if it is - and I understand that there is a possibility that that may be so - then I see no reason why she should not then be restored to the Commonwealth.

Christopher Morris, BBC

Going back to your visit here, a lot of people back home have been alarmed at the way you were treated in the walkabout the other day. What were your own views when you were walking through the crowd?

Prime Minister

I have seen that kind of thing several times before, so it does not give me any fear whatsoever - it just gives me a resolute determination that we continue this walk about and that we will not be put off by these people, and so naturally we did continue. They were a comparative few compared with the thousands and thousands who came out to see one and I did see quite a number, but I was very [end p3] sad that when you are walking slowly you have got the whole media in front of you walking backwards, many of the people are almost pushed aside and you just have to watch very carefully that no-one is hurt. That is my worst concern and then we got into a shopping arcade and this horseshoe of press going backwards - they never know where they are going - over went the rack of clothes. It was I who stopped and picked it up because that was the stock of one of the shopkeepers.

That is what worries you. It is not the people who demonstrate against you. They put the rest of the people on one's own side.

Christopher Morris, BBC

There were, of course, a minority of Irish demonstrators in that crowd.

Prime Minister

Yes, they were causing a great deal of trouble and also the gays and the lesbians. You know, if you get people who support the IRA or the gays and the lesbians causing trouble then, really, you are very glad they are not on your side. [end p4]

Christopher Morris, BBC

And your tour here started on a day when there was an explosion in London near your constituency.

Prime Minister

The IRA doing its usual thing, totally against democracy, and should be utterly condemned by all people and we need the help of everyone to fight and defeat terrorism.

Christopher Morris, BBC

Are you worried, though, about a resumption of the mainland bombing campaign in Britain?

Prime Minister

Resumption? We have had IRA bombing for quite a long time. Resumption! They have killed over two thousand people. Absolutely appalling and everyone - but everyone - must combine to defeat them and to give information about them. Never give them safe houses. Come forward, give the information to the police either quietly, secretly or openly, because they are as much the enemy now of the Republic of Ireland as they are of the United Kingdom, because they are enemies of democracy itself. They don't like the result of the ballot in the Northern Ireland, so they try to have the bullet. They must never win! Never!