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1988 Aug 1 Mo
Margaret Thatcher

Remarks following walkabout in Perth (IRA bomb at Mill Hill)

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Document kind: Remarks
Venue: Perth, Western Australia
Source: Thatcher Archive: COI transcript
Journalist: -
Editorial comments: Around 1700 local time. Exact place unknown.
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 609
Themes: Trade, Foreign policy (Australia & NZ), Law & order, Northern Ireland, Terrorism

Question

Mrs. Thatcher, why has it taken you so long to get here?

Prime Minister

Taken me so long to get here! You mean I should have come to Perth before? I rather agree since I have been here.

It is the first time we have been to Perth, but we have been five times to Australia.

Question

What about a message to those people outside who do not appear to like you, Mrs. Thatcher, particularly Irish people?

Prime Minister

Oh well, they were such a small number.

I should say to them: “Support the Anglo-Irish Agreement!” and really, they were such a tiny number. Did you not look at all the thousands and thousands who gave one a terrific welcome?

Question

Prime Minister, can we just ask about this explosion…

Prime Minister

…   . never support the IRA. They try to pursue their ends by maiming and murder.

Question

Prime Minister, can I just ask about the explosion at the barracks in London. Do you know anything about this yet?

Prime Minister

I do not know anything more than you do. I have sent a message to say that I am very distressed to hear about it—it is on the edge of my constituency—and that I anxiously await further news.

Question

Do you know if there is any terrorist involvement?

Prime Minister

I have no idea, other than that there has been an explosion and I understand that one person, if that is correct, has been killed and there are several injured and I am awaiting further news, but I have not had time to get back to telephone.

Question

Did you feel you were taking a risk by walking through the Mall and those people?

Prime Minister

No, not in any way. [end p1]

Question

Was it your choice that you should do so?

Prime Minister

I always go walkabouts wherever I go, always, and it is very very good that I did. Look at the number of people who were there!

I thought the message in this shop was really absolutely terrific, you know, “Be Australian and Look Australian!” I think that is a marvellous message for a bicentennial year—quite right!

Question

What are your views of Australia?

Prime Minister

Well, Perth is a lovely city. I always knew it was because it just has that reputation. When you see it, it is absolutely beautiful and, of course, for us it is wonderful to come to a city where there is plenty of land and lots of open space and also the architecture is lovely, both the new and the old. We are very impressed!

Question

Prime Minister, when you talked about reviving relations with Australia, what had you really got in mind then?

Prime Minister

I think getting much closer. I think in the last ten years the world really has become very much smaller. Trade is international, investment is international, we all travel around much more, politicians go and see and talk to one another much more.

Australia is rather far away from Britain, but it is getting closer because of the communications and I really think that we must have more visits from politicians and from industrialists than we have had in the past. We must just step it up.

Question

We have neglected them a bit, have we?

Prime Minister

No. I think that we have not been as close as once we were and we wish to renew that closeness and revive it.