Doorstop interview

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: Good morning. Can we get your thoughts on the Royal engagement?

JULIE BISHOP: I wish the happy couple all the very best. Everyone loves a Royal wedding and I think that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will make a wonderful couple and I'm sure that it will be a wedding that is watched worldwide with a great deal of interest.

JOURNALIST: So what's your message to you Nationals colleagues who are pushing for a commission of inquiry into the banks?

JULIE BISHOP: I'm concerned that a Royal Commission would promise false hope, that a Royal Commission will not recover a cent of compensation, will not resolve any disputes. All a Royal Commission can do is make recommendations to the regulators, and already the bank regulators are taking action to resolve disputes that people have with their banks. I'm also concerned that the Australian Government not do anything that would be seen to undermine confidence in our banking and financial sector, particularly internationally. We need a robust and strong banking and finance sector, and we need to protect that reputation around the world to ensure we maintain international confidence in our banking and finance sector.

JOURNALIST: Will the Government consider changing its opposition to an inquiry or will you risk having these MPs cross the floor?

JULIE BISHOP: This is a matter for Cabinet and the Party Room to discuss.

JOURNALIST: Is there a risk that the Bill could pass, do you think?

JULIE BISHOP: These are matters that will need to be discussed in our Party Room and then the Cabinet.

JOURNALIST: How serious is the situation in Bali right now?

JULIE BISHOP: We are concerned that volcanic activity is continuing. Some airports have been closed. If any Australians are planning to travel to Bali, I urge them to contact the airlines, their tour operators or their accommodation in Bali to get an update. We will continue to update the Smartraveller website as more information comes to hand. We urge people to exercise a high degree of caution in areas likely to be affected by the volcano activity.

JOURNALIST: What's your response to Barnaby Joyce saying he may support a banking inquiry?

JULIE BISHOP: This is a matter we will discuss within the Cabinet. The point that I am making is that a Royal Commission or an inquiry, depending upon its powers, won't recover compensation, won't resolve disputes. All it can do is make recommendations to the regulators. The regulators are already taking action on the Government's direction to resolve these disputes and ensure that any failures in the system are addressed. These commissions of inquiry can take months, even years, and so I don't want the Australian Government to be holding out false hope to people who think that they will get compensation or have their dispute resolved as a result of such an inquiry.

JOURNALIST: Is a compensation scheme needed to banking victims?

JULIE BISHOP: That's what we are looking at, Treasurer Scott Morrison has been talking about that over the last few days.

JOURNALIST: Is the relationship between the Nationals and the Liberals OK at the moment? How would you describe it?

JULIE BISHOP: It's a positive coalition. We are one of the most successful coalitions in Australian political history. We have our differences from time-to-time but we work together to sort them out and we will continue to do so. We are a very successful political movement as a coalition.

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