• Transcript, E&OE
28 April 2018

JULIE BISHOP: I'm delighted to be back in Melbourne to address the Victorian Liberal Party State Council meeting and to support Matthew Guy as he heads towards the next State election. Daniel Andrews has proven that he is incapable of running the Victorian economy and Matthew Guy has a plan for the future. I also thanked the members of the Victorian Liberal Federal parliamentary team for their fantastic work in advocating the Turnbull Government's policies of lower taxes, more job opportunities, a fairer and more accessible health system, better childcare and our policies to protect Australia and keep our people safe.

JOURNALIST: Do you think Matthew Guy can win the election?

JULIE BISHOP: I hope that the people of Victoria see that Matthew Guy has a plan for the future prosperity of this State. He has a plan for more infrastructure spending, for better and more efficient services, and affordable and reliable energy. On that basis alone, he should be the leader of this State because, on every test, Daniel Andrews and the State Labor Government have failed.

JOURNALIST: Historic meeting in the last few days with Korea. Does Donald Trump deserve some credit for that?

JULIE BISHOP: We certainly welcome the summit between the North and South Korean leaders. We look forward to North Korea taking verifiable, concrete steps towards denuclearisation and a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. Without doubt, President Donald Trump has played a significant role in bringing North Korea to the negotiating table, along with China, the United States, and the other members of the Security Council imposed the widest range of economic sanctions ever on North Korea and the maximum pressure campaign, led by the United States, is clearly working. President Trump also threatened military action against North Korea because of its illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. I believe that those two factors have led to North Korea agreeing to return to the negotiating table.

JOURNALIST: Are you confident this is not just a stunt or a publicity exercise between the two Koreas, and it will actually lead to action?

JULIE BISHOP: We have seen North Korea renege on deals, on agreements, before so that's why we have to be cautious about welcoming the outcomes of this summit, but we will hold North Korea to account, as we have done in the past. They must take concrete, verifiable steps to prove they are genuine in their stated goal of denuclearisation and a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

JOURNALIST: What sort of detail would you like to see about the denuclearisation plan in the coming days?

JULIE BISHOP: Clearly, North Korea needs to be transparent about the state of its programs now. It has been carrying out testing of illegal ballistic missiles. It has been carrying out testing of illegal nuclear weapons programs, so we need to see, not only an end to the testing, but a dismantling of those illegal programs. That would mean independent third party inspectors need to be in North Korea to ensure that it is genuine in its commitment to denuclearise.

JOURNALIST: Are you able to confirm if Australian and Canadian military aircraft are heading to the US base in Japan to monitor illicit ship-to-ship transfers involving North Korean vessels?

JULIE BISHOP: That's right. Australia has been an integral part of the international campaign to impose maximum economic pressure on North Korea through sanctions. We will be sending a P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft to Japan to be part of an exercise to ensure that North Korea is not trading illicitly in breach of the UN Security Council resolutions.

JOURNALIST: How long do you expect the mission to last?

JULIE BISHOP: That will depend on Defence. They are operational matters about which I don't comment.

JOURNALIST: Just become back on Victoria for a moment - the Federal Government, when considering when the next election is to be held, consider when Victorians will go to the polls?

JULIE BISHOP: We know Victoria is going to the polls in November 2018. The federal election is scheduled for 2019.

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