Doorstop - Perth
JULIE BISHOP: I'm delighted to be here at West Byford Primary with Alyssa Hayden the Liberal candidate for the seat of Darling Range. Alyssa and I have visited a number of polling booths in this electorate today, and the message is loud and clear: people are disappointed with the McGowan Government, they are concerned about the high cost of living and the fact that under Labor the cost of services is going up. They are also very disappointed that they have been let down by their local Labor member and that has been a consistent theme. Alyssa, all the very best, you're working very hard and I know you've got a great plan for the people of this electorate.
JOURNALIST: Minister, the Government's decision to suspend Emanuel Exports' export licence, are you concerned about the damage that will do to WA?
JULIE BISHOP: This is a matter for the Minister of Agriculture. There is an investigation still underway so I don't want to go into any details about the suspension but the Government saw that there was a problem and we acted.
JOURNALIST: Would you be concerned about the impact on WA farmers?
JULIE BISHOP: We will ensure that the trade continues but those who do the wrong thing obviously have to bear the consequences of that, but there is an investigation underway and we have taken action to suspend the licence, and we will continue to support the investigation going forward.
JOURNALIST: There was a lot of criticism when Labor suspended cattle exports to Indonesia years ago - are you expecting any lessons from that?
JULIE BISHOP: That was a vastly different scenario. Labor acted without consultation, without warning. It was a knee-jerk reaction. We have been considered, we have been thorough, and we have put in place an investigation and we are acting in accordance with the recommendations.
JOURNALIST: Just on the shipbuilding fleet – do you think Austal could be (inaudible)?
JULIE BISHOP: There is currently a tender process underway. It would be inappropriate for me to make any public comment about an issue that is pursuant to a tender but we certainly support the WA shipbuilding industry, we support Austal Ships and we want to see more jobs in shipbuilding across Australia.
JOURNALIST: Have you made any representations to your Ministerial colleagues?
JULIE BISHOP: We continually make representations as Western Australian Liberal Members and Senators to support West Australian business and more jobs in Western Australia. We are delighted that the Federal Government has rolled out such a significant shipbuilding program across Australia and that there will be many more jobs in shipbuilding as a result of the Turnbull Government's policies.
JOURNALIST: Minister, do you think Bill Shorten's leadership is under threat to Anthony Albanese?
JULIE BISHOP: I think everybody knows that it is. Anthony Albanese has not hid his aspiration to lead the Labor Party. He is now at war with Bill Shorten. There is enormous disruption within the Federal Labor Party and we are going to see more of this. As Bill Shorten declares war on business, Albo has declared war on Bill Shorten.
JOURNALIST: Is that better or worse for you?
JULIE BISHOP: It is a problem for Labor. Most certainly, we will get on with the job of focusing on growing our economy, ensuring that we have lower taxes. I am getting a lot of feedback here about the enthusiasm for the Turnbull Government's tax policy, lower personal taxes, and we want to pursue lower corporate taxes because we need to be internationally competitive. As I travel around the world as Foreign Minister representing Australia I am constantly struck by the low level of corporate tax by our competitors and that is what we need to do here in Australia – lower personal income taxes and lower corporate taxes.
JOURNALIST: There is the potential for President Trump to be in Australia in November, do you look forward to the prospect of being able to welcome him here and meet with him here in Australia?
JULIE BISHOP: As the President of the United States we will most certainly welcome him here. Obviously the scheduling is a matter for the President and the White House Administration but we are led to believe that President Trump will be at the APEC meeting at Port Moresby, and hopefully that will give us an opportunity to host him in Australia, but there is nothing determined at this stage.
JOURNALIST: Is there something in particular that you would like to show him here in Australia?
JULIE BISHOP: Well, Perth, of course but I am not sure that a visit to Port Moresby necessarily means that he will come to Perth. He would obviously need to visit the Capital in Canberra but I'm sure President Trump would be very welcome here. He leads our closest defence and strategic ally in the United States, and one of our most important economic partners. The relationship between Australia and the United States goes back decades.
JULIE BISHOP: The Australian Government is in fact hosting Prime Minister Salwai, the Vanuatu Prime Minister, here this weekend. He is in Canberra next week. We have a very close security relationship with Vanuatu, we are their biggest aid partner. If there were a request then of course Australia will consider it. We are supporting the building of an undersea cable for PNG and for Solomon Islands and I have said publically that I want to see the Australian Government partner more with Pacific Islands, building productivity enhancing infrastructure, the kind of infrastructure that grows their economies and gives them opportunities to tap into regional global supply chains which means more jobs for the people of the Pacific Islands.
JOURNALIST: But you would wait for a request from them?
JULIE BISHOP: It is obviously a matter for Vanuatu to raise with us if they wish to do so. The Australian Government is always ready to consider proposals and to partner with our friends in the Pacific to ensure that they are able to drive economic growth. As we seek to do here in Australia, to drive job opportunities, particularly for young people, so do the Pacific Island nations, and Australia is a natural partner for that endeavour.