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Aus. PM John Howard Doorstop IV - Steve Irwin

Interviews
04 September 2006

TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER
THE HON JOHN HOWARD MP
DOORSTOP INTERVIEW,
PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA

Subject: Steve Irwin.

E&OE…

PRIME MINISTER:

Well I am quite shocked and distressed at Steve Irwin’s, sudden, untimely and freakish death. It’s a huge loss to Australia. He was a wonderful character. He was a passionate environmentalist. He brought joy and entertainment and excitement to millions of people. He was a one-off character and he wasn’t just a character for Australians, he was a character for lots of people around the world and this is a huge loss. And to his wife Terri, and his two children, I extend the profound sympathy of myself, my wife and my Government. I knew the family very well. I visited Australia Zoo on a number of occasions and I really do feel Australia has lost a wonderful and colourful son.

JOURNALIST:

Mr Howard, as you say you knew him quite well, was his private persona the same as his public?

PRIME MINISTER:

Absolutely. He was the genuine article. What you saw was what you got. He took risks, he enjoyed life, he brought immense joy to millions of people, particularly to children, and it’s just such a terrible loss. I feel very distressed and I’m quite upset at the circumstances of it.

JOURNALIST:

And what was his contribution to Australian tourism and also conservation?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh, immense. He was a magnet, he was a drawcard and he was well known around the world, everybody knew him. He was one of those great quintessential Australian faces that people recognised everywhere. He was a larrikin, yes, but he was a really warm-hearted bloke as well and he cared passionately about Australia and he cared passionately about the Australian environment. And I am so sorry and I think all Australians will feel a big loss.

JOURNALIST:

Will you be offering his family a state funeral?

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh look, I will talk to his family, I mean I don’t wish to get into that at this stage.

[ends]

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