Doorstop interview with Andrew Forrest, Co-chair of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: About the Bali Process Government and Business Forum, what do you expect from this year's meeting and what could be a possible change from the last year's meeting in Perth in 2017? Is there any progress since last year?

JULIE BISHOP: Yes, there is progress. We'vehad many achievements over the last twelve months. The Bali Process bringstogether 45 countries and around four international organisations to focus onthe issues of people smuggling, human trafficking, modern slavery, and childlabour and other transnational crimes and we are seeing a great deal ofcollaboration and cooperation between the member countries. In relation tomodern slavery, for example, Australia has introduced legislation into ourParliament to deal with this heinous crime. The Bali Process is about theexchange of ideas, setting examples, setting benchmarks, and working together,exchanging information to ensure that we meet best practice in reducing thislevel of transnational crime. So we have seen many achievements over the last12 months and I'm looking forward to co-chairing the meeting again tomorrowwith Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

JOURNALIST: MrForrest, can you add some comment?

ANDREW FORREST: Yeah,look, I certainty can. Last year, we hadthe first try at government and global business, global government, globalbusiness working together. This year ithappened completely voluntarily. Businesses and governments from all over the world chose to come toBali, chose to work here and chose to do everything they could to end modernslavery. And the defining moment in theworld's march to end modern slavery came, I believe, here in Bali, whenbusinesses from around the world, some of the biggest and some of the smallest,came from around the world, and said "We have modern slavery in our supplychains and we want to do something about it. Where do we go to for help, who do we turn to because we need to endthis dreadful scourge." And this is 40million people and counting. You've gotglobal businesses and global governments coming together to say "right, everyhuman being is equal under God and we are going to free every person we can.Modern slavery must end."

JOURNALIST: MinisterBishop, about the Lombok earthquake, can you give us a comment about that? How do you feel about that? And is there any cooperation with Indonesiato give humanitarian relief?

JULIE BISHOP: We extend our deepest sympathiesto the Indonesian people and the Government of Indonesia and all those affectedby this earthquake. It is the secondserious earthquake in a week and we understand that there has been tragic lossof life and much property damage. The Australian Government stands with theGovernment of Indonesia. We will supportthe Government should it require assistance. What we are currently doing is assessing the number of people who arestill in need and providing support to ensure that they are safe. We have provided already through IndonesianRed Cross access to supplies, tents, and water and food, and other basicsupplies, to ensure that people who are in difficulty can receive some of theseessential services. And of course westand ready to assist should the Indonesian Government require our support.

JOURNALIST: Have you had any communication with Minister Retno about the Lombok earthquake?

JULIE BISHOP: Yes, Retno and I have been incontact with each other, we text each other regularly and I will be meetingwith her tomorrow as we co-chair the Bali Process, and I have no doubt that wewill spend the first few moments of our time together talking about the tragedyin Lombok and what Australia and Indonesia can do together to support those inneed.

JOURNALIST: Andrew,for you as a business leader, what do you think the main role of the businessto combat the modern slavery?

ANDREW FORREST: Ithink business has a huge role to play. Firstly by making sure that supplychains are clean. And I, you're speaking to a person who has supply chainswhich were not clean, and I was shocked and then I moved to do something aboutit. Governments are the same. Governments have huge supply chains, like allbusinesses do. Governments and businesses are the only force powerful enoughwhich together can end modern slavery. And if we have consumers around theworld and have civil society working with us, when they see government andbusiness working together to end modern slavery, it gives everyone hope.Something which was considered impossible, can never be defeated, as being withthe human race forever, can now end because government and business worktogether.

JOURNALIST: One more question, maybe about the outputs about, after this Bali Process 2018,I meant the criticisms about how this forum is not politically binding. Do you still have positive feelings about howthis can eradicate the modern slavery and human trafficking?

JULIE BISHOP: The Bali Process has beenoperating for 16 years and in that time we have achieved a great deal in termsof cooperation in relation to people smuggling, human trafficking, and now,from last year, we're focusing on modern slavery. We are, through collaboration, cooperation,the exchange of ideas and information, achieving a great deal. It is not a political forum designed toachieve political solutions, but we do find that countries are willingly comingto the Bali forum, they want to be part of our Bali Process. They are part ofthe business dialogue and I thank Andrew Forrest for leading the Australiandelegation, together business and government can in fact end modernslavery. We can also work together toend the criminal networks that underpin people smuggling, human trafficking andchild labour. So I think it's a very positive outcome, and the fact that wehave ministers and representatives from 45 countries and four internationalorganisations, shows that people believe in the power of Bali Process.

ANDREW FORREST: Ithink it's absolutely binding. We report to 60 per cent of the world'spopulation. 60 per cent of the world population is looking at 40 million peopleand saying "we don't want to live in a world where slavery exists. And if wefind great consumer brands, great fashion brands, great food brands which havemodern slavery in them, we're going to walk." And businesses like mine needprotection from that. We need to know that governments are with us, we needgovernments to know that business is with them. Because 60 per cent of theworld is 70 per cent of the world's slavery right here. We need to end ittogether and what you're seeing is binding commitments made by business to worktogether and work with government to end modern slavery now.

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