ABC 730 - Interview with Andrew Probyn

  • Transcript, E&OE
29 May 2017

JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop, does Australia trust the US with its intelligence?

JULIE BISHOP: We have one of the closest intelligence sharing relationships that one could imagine between two countries with the United States and we have most certainly benefitted enormously from this intelligence sharing relationship that will continue.

JOURNALIST: British PM Theresa May has got some issues with the Trump Administration in the wake of the Manchester bombing, should we have concerns?

JULIE BISHOP: No. I understand that those issues have been resolved and that the Trump Administration was as concerned as the British Government about apparent leaks in relation to the Manchester bombings. But the overall intelligence relationship with the United States is absolutely indispensable. It is vital for Australia's national security and the security and safety of our citizens.

JOURNALIST: On Afghanistan, why are we throwing more at a fight that we seem to be withdrawing from?

JULIE BISHOP: Back in 2014 when Islamic State declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria, it also began to reach out to establish terrorist networks, franchises if you like, in other parts of the world, and that included in African countries, in southern Philippines and in Afghanistan.

JOURNALIST: The Taliban has metastasised, is that what you are saying?

JULIE BISHOP: What has happened is some hard line elements in the Taliban have aligned themselves with the objectives of ISIS. Now this franchise of ISIS in Afghanistan, Islamic State in Khorasan Province, has claimed responsibility for some terrible attacks in Afghanistan in recent years and I was certainly briefed about this in 2015 and it has come to pass.

JOURNALIST: Aren't there priorities closer to home that perhaps we should turn our attention to, in Asia, in the Philippines and Indonesia?

JULIE BISHOP: They are connected. We are focussing our efforts in Indonesia, in Malaysia, in southern Philippines, working closely with those governments to ensure that we can stamp out terrorism, that we can prevent attacks occurring but we have to go back to the source, which is Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. That's why we are taking part in the Coalition there. Islamic State is now reaching into other countries, including Afghanistan, so we will continue to devote our resources and our efforts to stopping terrorism wherever we see it.

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