Four Corners interview with John Howard during the 1996 Election Campaign for the program “An Average Australian Bloke”, 19 February 1996:

Q. What do you think of the view that politicians should stand for what is right, not what is popular?

A. I think… I think on most occasions that is absolutely correct, but it must also be tempered by the recognition that if people express a definitive view, you have to accept that their right to make the decision is superior to yours.

The PM on The Daily Telegraph, which ran a front page story on an abandoned baby under the headline “How Could She — The poor little baby dumped by her mother”, May 2007:

“In defence of the Tele, that’s what most people say,” Mr Howard told ABC Radio.

“I feel for the mother, I feel for the baby, I feel for the woman’s family but fair go to The Tele, after all that is the natural reaction. How could you abandon a little baby?”

The PM on Alan Jones after the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that in the lead-up to the Cronulla riots Mr Jones broadcast comments likely to encourage violence and vilify people of Middle Eastern background, April 2007:

 “I am not going to get involved in comments on individual decisions, but let me say this; I think Alan Jones is an outstanding broadcaster,” Mr Howard said.

“I don’t think he’s a person who encourages prejudice in the Australian community, not for one moment, but he is a person who articulates what a lot of people think,” he said.

The PM on Pauline Hanson, after she delivered that maiden speech, October 1996:

JOHN HOWARD [OCTOBER, 1996]: Well, I certainly believe in her right to say what she said.

I thought some of the things she said were an accurate reflection of what people feel.

Peter Fray

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