• Transcript, E&OE

JULIE BISHOP: I'mdelighted to be here in Cairns with my colleagues, Minister Josh Frydenberg,Assistant Minister Melissa Price, and Queensland Senator Amanda Stoker. TheTurnbull Government has today announced the single largest ever funding boostfor coral reef resilience, and the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. Thisis an outstanding day for the Great Barrier Reef because 64,000 jobs aresupported by the Reef, the Reef invests some $6.4 billion back into oureconomy, and some two million tourists visit the Reef every year. The TurnbullGovernment is committed to protecting, preserving and maintaining the GreatBarrier Reef for generations to come. This funding will go a long way on top ofthe Reef 2050 plan and the $2 billion 2050 program to ensure that our Reef ishealthy and resilient.

JOURNALIST: Minister,there would be some amongst the public that, and in the scientific community,that would say that this is too little too late – what would you say to that?

JULIE BISHOP: I wouldsay that Australia is regarded as a world leader when it comes to best practicemanagement of coral reefs. We are spearheading a group amongst Commonwealthcountries, many of whom manage significant coral reefs in the Caribbean, andthe Pacific, and the Indian Ocean, and they look to Australia to provide thetechnical expertise, and the scientific research, and the best practice managementof coral reefs. That's what we demonstrate here at the Great Barrier Reef. TheAustralian Government and the Queensland Government's Reef 2050 plan wasapproved by the World Heritage Committee as being a stand out response.Australia is now a member of the World Heritage Committee. It was elected on itjust last year, and we continue to demonstrate leadership in the maintenanceand adaptation techniques for coral reef management globally.

JOURNALIST: MinisterBishop, are senior public servants planning for the Australian SignalsDirectorate to spy on Australians without warranting it?

JULIE BISHOP: Thereis no plan for the Government to extend the powers of the Australian SignalsDirectorate so that it could collect intelligence against Australians or covertlyaccess private data. There is no such plan.

JOURNALIST: Should there be one?

JULIE BISHOP: No, the current lawssafeguard the privacy of Australians but also provide us with an opportunity tokeep Australians safe. The current laws are applicable to this scenario.

JOURNALIST: Was the Federal Government aware theheads of Defence and Home Affairs are discussing this power?

JULIE BISHOP: I've spoken to the DefenceMinister this morning. She's received no request from the Defence Department tochange the powers of the Australian Signals Directorate as indicated in thepapers this morning.

JOURNALIST: Would you support allowing ASD totarget onshore threats without the Attorney-General signing off on it?

JULIE BISHOP: I don't see any nationalsecurity gap and I certainly believe the current laws safeguard the privacy ofAustralians but also keep Australians safe.

JOURNALIST: Minister, why are thefirst 25 Land-400 vehicles being built in Germany?

JULIE BISHOP: That was always part ofthe tender. The whole idea was that the first few vehicles, the prototypes ifyou like, would be built in Germany so that the Australian workforce would beable to be educated and understand the intricacies of the design as intended.So it's always been part of the tender that the first few would be built inGermany with Australian workers being present, learning the techniques,learning the detail, and then the balance of them would be built here inQueensland.

JOURNALIST: Doyou know how many more are to built over there or are they ready to start here?

JULIE BISHOP: My understanding is thata few will be built in Germany as an education process, a transfer ofintellectual property, a transfer of information to the Australian workforce.This is a design that we haven't built in Australia before so obviously it waspart of the tender that our workforce would be able to understand the designprocess, the techniques, and then bring it back to Australia – that was alwayspart of the plan.

JOURNALIST: The Victorian Government says itshould have received the contract because it was ready from day one – what isyour response to that?

JULIE BISHOP: The AustralianGovernment took expert advice. There was an independent tender process and therecommendation was the Queensland option overwhelmingly, and the NationalSecurity Committee and the Cabinet accepted the advice and the recommendationof the independent tender process, and the independent report in relation tothat, the experts report.

JOURNALIST: Minister, does the Trump Administrationdeserve credit for its hard-edged approach to North Korea given the meetingbetween the North and South.

JULIE BISHOP: I have said for sometime that President Trump has changed the status quo. He has challenged theprevious strategy of strategic patience when it came to North Korea because allthat did was give North Korea time to continue to advance their illegalballistic missile and nuclear weapons program. President Trump led aninternational response of exerting maximum economic pressure on North Koreathrough United Nations Security Council sanctions. President Trump alsothreatened military action should North Korea continue down its illegal path indefiance of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions. So thePresident and the other members of the United Nations Security Council,including China deserve credit for the maximum pressure campaign, and thePresident of South Korea for reaching out to commence the negotiations. Thewhole idea of the international campaign was to bring North Korea back to thenegotiating table. We welcome the initial summit between the North and SouthKorean leaders, but North Korea must now demonstrate the concrete, verifiablesteps that it is genuine when it says it will denuclearise and is looking for apermanent peace with South Korea.

JOURNALIST: Ifthe North does keep its nuclear capabilities, what will that mean? Will thetalks be for nothing?

JULIE BISHOP: Wellit will mean they haven't denuclearized. Obviously, a fundamental element ofthe talks will be North Korea's commitment to denuclearise. We understand thatNorth Korea has made significant advances in defiance of numerous UN Security Councilresolutions in perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile that should it havea miniaturised nuclear device attached to it, and be capable of reachingmainland United States then there is a massive global security threat. That'swhy there must be a dismantling of North Korea's illegal ballistic missile andnuclear weapons program.

JOURNALIST: Laborbelieves the states and territories will support its new plan to ditch thetampon tax because it has found a new way to raise revenue. What do you thinkof that?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, in fact the Coalitionhas raised this issue in the past, and recently the states and territoriesrejected it. This is Labor just flying a flag and they know they have absolutelyno hope of changing the view of the states and territories. If there is anychange to the GST, it must be done with the full agreement of every state andterritory government.

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