Doorstop interview

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: President Trump has said no dictator should underestimate America's resolve. Is he inflaming tensions?

JULIE BISHOP: Well that's a matter for President Trump. I believe that it's good news that he is coming to the APEC meeting and also the East Asia Summit, and leaders in the region are calling for more US engagement not less. So I think his visit to our part of the world at this time is timely and it will be very well received.

JOURNALIST: It seems that Australia may lose New Zealand involvement in the fight against IS, would that be more than a symbolic (inaudible) if they withdrew?

JULIE BISHOP: That's a matter for New Zealand. Of course we want to see as many countries as possible taking up the fight against ISIS, against terrorism because it is in our national interest to do so.

JOURNALIST: Is the Manus Island saga hurting Australia's international reputation?

JULIE BISHOP: Australia has a very tough border protection policy and we do not want to see the revival of the people smuggling trade which risks so many likes at sea, and so will continue to ensure we have a clear and coherent border protection policy. We are one of the most generous countries on earth when it comes to refugee and humanitarian visas, and since the Second World War we have had a record number of people, probably third only to the United States and Canada, receive a refugee or humanitarian visa, but has to be done according to our laws and our policies.

JOURNALIST: What should those asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island do at this stage?

JULIE BISHOP: They should go to the alternative accommodation that has been provided, they have made visits there during the day, they have been there to Lorengau previously, so they should go to where the essential services are being provided – electricity, water and food and medical supplies. Those who are found not to be refugees and not owed protection should go home.

JOURNALIST: What do you think about Adam Bandt's claim about Peter Dutton being a terrorist?

JULIE BISHOP: That's a ridiculous comment and he should withdraw it.

JOURNALIST: Minister, could I ask you quickly in the panel discussion you suggested that Donald Trump had actually worked quite well to improve the situation with North Korea despite the tweets…

JULIE BISHOP: What I said is that China has recalculated the risk as a result of President Trump's attitude towards North Korea, and what that has meant is that China is now playing a much more active role, for example in imposing sanctions against North Korea, in order to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table. Up until President Trump's inauguration, China had left it to Washington and Pyongyang. China is now actively involved and I believe that is a positive step.

JOURNALIST: Do you think he has been unfairly criticised?


JOURNALIST: Donald Trump.


JOURNALIST: He's faced a lot of critics and a lot of people have said he's being too belligerent. His tweets about North Korea for example, do you think he's being unfairly criticised when in fact he may have improved the situation?

JULIE BISHOP: My point is that as a result of President Trump's approach towards North Korea, China has become more involved, China has recalculated the risk, and it's positive to have China upholding the authority of the UN Security Council. North Korea is the one that is in flagrant violation of numerous UN Security Council resolutions; it is North Korea that is pursuing an illegal ballistic missile and nuclear weapons program. China and other permanent members of the UN Security Council are now upholding the authority of the Council by imposing the toughest and most comprehensive set of sanctions against North Korea with a view to bringing it back to the negotiating table, and I believe North Korea can be deterred from its current course of action.

JOURNALIST: Minister, Kevin Andrews has said that voters are unhappy with inadequate leadership in Canberra, obviously a veiled swipe at Malcolm Turnbull. Is there inadequate leadership in Canberra?

JULIE BISHOP: I don't believe so, I believe that the Prime Minister has been tackling some of the most difficult challenges. We're getting legislation through the Parliament, we are tackling issues like cost of living, we have a whole range of initiatives in relation to energy and ensuring that Australia's families and companies have affordable and reliable energy, so I think it's going well. I now have a bilateral that I'm running very late for, sorry.

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