Doorstop interview - G'Day USA 2016 launch

  • Transcript E&OE

JULIE BISHOP Good morning, I'm delighted to have had the opportunity today to launch the 2016 G'Day USA program. This is Australia's premier public diplomacy initiative with the United States. It is an opportunity to showcase our sophisticated, diverse, creative economy with American audiences. In its 11th year, G'day USA has brought about 1000 Australian businesses and 3000 American businesses together in areas as diverse as film and music and food and wine, education, Defence technologies, water and drought management. And Australia has been able to present a series of events that shows our country to be the innovative, creative, dynamic place that it is.

This year, for 2016's event, we will also be showcasing at the Gala event two Australian who are giants in the film and entertainment business here, Dr George Miller and Joel Edgerton. So 2016 promises to be a great year for fostering United States-Australian relations.

JOURNALIST Good to have Joe Hockey on board?

JULIE BISHOP It was great to have both the US Ambassador John Berry and Australia's Ambassador-designate Joe Hockey here for the launch and I'm looking forward to having Ambassador Hockey being part of the G'day USA events throughout 2016.

JOURNALIST Are you looking forward to having him working under you? Will that be strange?

JULIE BISHOP Joe and I are great colleagues, we are good friends and I'm looking forward to him being our Ambassador in Washington. A number of former political colleagues are Ambassadors or High Commissioners and I have very good working relationships with them.

JOURNALIST Could I just ask you about the story on the front page of The Australian? The Director-General of ASIO has reportedly rung Coalition MPs, just asking them to take care of the language they use regarding Islam in public discussions. Is that true?

JULIE BISHOP If the Director-General of ASIO has formed a view that the public debate might have the potential to put at risk the work that his organisation is undertaking in countering terrorism then of course he should speak out.

JOURNALIST Do you find that appropriate?

JULIE BISHOP If the Director-General of ASIO has formed the view that a public debate in Australia has the potential to hamper the work that his organisation is undertaking in relation to counterterrorism then of course it is appropriate for him to speak out.

JOURNALIST Does the agreement reached at the Paris talks that you were heavily involved in give the Turnbull Government a mandate to backflip on some of the anti-renewable energy stances that Tony Abbott had?

JULIE BISHOP The only mandate that we have is the one given to me by the Cabinet and the Party Room and that mandate was to join up to a global agreement on climate change and we achieved that within the terms of the mandate that I had from the Australian people through the Government. But the agreement is not legally binding. The agreement shows a great deal of momentum from all
196 countries to respond collectively to climate change so it's been a great outcome.

JOURNALIST What do you make of ASIO figures showing that Australian ISIL fighters heading over to Syria have actually plateaued recently?

JULIE BISHOP Well I'm pleased that ASIO has been able to carry out its work. I don't take for a moment the risk of terrorism lightly. It is a very serious issue and the Australian Government will continue to ensure we do all we can to prevent Australians taking part in the conflict in Syria and Iraq, prevent any kind of attack here in Australia and so, through a variety of initiatives, through the great work of our security and law enforcement and intelligence agencies, we have made some progress, but the threat exists, it's a global threat and it requires a global response.

JOURNALIST How will Australia's relationship with China be affected by the RAAF flight that was made over the Spratly Islands recently?

JULIE BISHOP Australia has a long history of supporting rights of freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight and we will continue to traverse the South China Sea in accordance with international law as we have done in the past.

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