Q: "Do you think anything the Government said over the last few years has set the tone for the actions on the weekend?"
PM: "Which Government?"
Q: "Your Government."
PM: "My Government?"
PM: "Certainly not. What do you have in mind?"
Q: "Your position on Iraq."
PM: "My position on Iraq?"
Q: "Do you think that's had any influence on people feeling alienated?"
PM: "My position on Iraq? You've got to be joking."
Nobody was joking. The reporter persisted.
"Do you think the emphasis on terrorism, on the element of terror, [on] home-grown terrorism in Australia, has made people more worried about certain sections of society?"
Howard, very carefully: "It's impossible to know how individuals react, but everything this Government has said about home-grown terrorism has been totally justified - totally justified - and it is a potential threat."To suggest one should remain silent on something like that, knowing what I know, because that might antagonise somebody else, is a complete failure of leadership."