Interview with Karl Stefanovic - Today Show, Nine

  • Transcript, E&OE

KARL STEFANOVIC: Joining us from Brisbane is Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop. Julie, good morning to you.

JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC: So, the PM's dirty 30.

JULIE BISHOP: Well, that's not the test that determines the leadership of the Liberal Party - that test is set by who has the confidence of the majority of the members of the Liberal Party and that's Malcolm Turnbull, because he's delivering on his promise for strong economic management and he has a plan for lower taxes, a plan for affordable and reliable electricity, and we are seeing the results of that. We have seen record jobs growth under Malcolm Turnbull's Government. He is delivering on his promise for strong economic growth.

KARL STEFANOVIC: He used it as a test to topple Tony Abbott - why shouldn't it be used against him?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, that's not the test for determining the leadership of the Liberal Party. The test is who retains the confidence of the majority of the members of the Liberal Party and I'm absolutely sure that's Malcolm Turnbull.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Are you absolutely sure?

JULIE BISHOP: Absolutely sure.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay. In The Australian today, Simon Benson describes the Coalition: "Torn between hope and despair, and rendered immobile as it convulses over its future". You are cactus aren't you, at the next election?

JULIE BISHOP: No, I don't believe so at all. We have a plan for economic growth. Businesses are responding by investing more, by taking on more employees, by creating more jobs. We have a plan for lower taxes so that people have more money in their pocket. We have a plan for affordable and reliable electricity, and people will contrast that with Labor who have neither.

KARL STEFANOVIC: They haven't responded yet though - the public don't buy it.

JULIE BISHOP: The public are expressing an opinion but it will come to a point where they will have to make a decision about who they trust with economic management and national security and I am confident that that will be Malcolm Turnbull.

KARL STEFANOVIC: But if they don't like it now, with the greatest respect, if they don't like it now, then why are they going to like it at the election?

JULIE BISHOP: There's a long way to go. We have a budget coming up where we will show that we are on track to return to surplus, that we can begin the arduous task of paying off Labor's debt, that will continue to grow our economy, and that means opportunities for Australians.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Is Tony Abbott done peddling and meddling?

JULIE BISHOP: I believe that Tony is getting on with the job of being a backbencher. He is a former leader, he has opinions, but the majority of the party room back Malcolm Turnbull and they want the team to get on with delivering strong economic management, and a strong plan for national security to keep Australians safe.

KARL STEFANOVIC: I hope you don't mind me saying, but you say backbencher with real venom.

JULIE BISHOP: No, I am not at all. I just said backbencher. That's how you say it.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Just in regards to Tony Abbott-

JULIE BISHOP: Backbencher. Backbencher? I'm just trying to work out how to say it differently. Backbencher?

KARL STEFANOVIC: You got it, you got it [Laughs]. The reality is you have got no-one else, unless you want to put up your hand - actually, why don't you put up your hand?

JULIE BISHOP: Because I'm the Deputy of the Party and I've been elected by my colleagues to be the Deputy and I'll continue to serve as Deputy for as long as my colleagues want me to and that's the test for the leadership positions. If you retain the confidence of the majority of the party room, then you retain your leadership position.

KARL STEFANOVIC: You are polling very well, why wouldn't you put your hand up?

JULIE BISHOP: Because I'm the Deputy.

KARL STEFANOVIC: And if your colleagues said: 'have a crack'- would you?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, I don't envisage those circumstances arising, and what I envisage is that we get on with the job of governing. We are about to deliver our next budget that will show we are on track to deliver a surplus, that we have an economic plan to drive economic prosperity in this country, and I think that's the issue that the Australian people are concerned about. Where are they going to get the opportunities for jobs, to start a new business, for more investment? That's why we are entering into all these new trade deals to give Australian exporters the opportunity to sell their goods and services into new markets around the world.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Let's move on to that very thing - last night 60 Minutes revealed the horrible conditions of live sheep exports. This is very disturbing. A sheep was starving, hundreds of them dying and being tossed overboard. It was abhorrent. Now, these companies, they clearly don't give a damn. Are you going to throw the book at them?

JULIE BISHOP: It was absolutely confronting and I'm sure the farmers, the owners of the sheep would have been as horrified as the public seeing it. It was very confronting. Our Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has said that he is investigating this. We have very high standards when it comes to sheep exports, and he will be investigating this issue. We are terribly disappointed that this should occur, given that Australia does set such high standards globally.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Are you going to shut down the industry? Because we don't want farmers to lose, because ultimately we lose, but there needs to be accountability.

JULIE BISHOP: There absolutely needs to be accountability and that's why the matter is being investigated.

KARL STEFANOVIC: All right. So, what do you envisage happening then?

JULIE BISHOP: I envisage that the matter will be investigated, and when we know the outcome of that investigation, then the Government will take action. This is a matter that the Minister for Agriculture will be talking about no doubt in the weeks ahead.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It was a busy weekend for you Foreign Minister - I nearly called you Prime Minister then - sorry about that.

JULIE BISHOP: No, I'm the Foreign Minister.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay, just checking. Thanks Foreign Minister. Talk to you soon.

JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure.

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