Interview with Kieran Gilbert - First Edition, Sky News

  • Transcript, E&OE
28 March 2018

KIERAN GILBERT: Withme to discuss this, and the other issues of the day, is the Foreign MinisterJulie Bishop. What's the Government's thoughts on this initial response,anyway, from Cricket Australia?

JULIE BISHOP: Giventhat the three culprits have admitted to cheating in the game it's onlyappropriate that they be sent home, that Smith, Warner and Bancroft come backto Australia and not take part in the rest of the Test.

KIERAN GILBERT: Haveyou had any feedback from your counterparts? It's obviously generatinginternational news.

JULIE BISHOP: Absolutelyit is. I have heard from ambassadors and high commissioners, particularly fromAfrican countries, where the matter is enormous news, saying how disappointedthey are. Some have joked about it, in an embarrassed kind of way, because youdon't expect this from elite sportsmen in the game of cricket. As they say,it's just not cricket. It has been raised with me, yes. It doesdamage our international reputation because our international teams, those whorepresent Australia, actually represent the country, our values. We are seenoften through the eyes of our cricket team. It has done damage internationallyand obviously the appropriate steps of sending the three culprits home issomething we welcome.

KIERAN GILBERT: Asa nation as well, it's our national sport, I guess we all feel a bit ofownership of the team, don't we?

JULIE BISHOP: Indeed,it does reflect on us. It is very sad that they thought they'd get away withit, that they'd even dream up a manner of cheating to get an unfair advantagein the game and then do it so obviously. Anyway-

KIERAN GILBERT: Yep,inexplicable. Let's turn our attention now to the Russians being expelled. TheAmbassador says they're all career diplomats.

JULIE BISHOP: Itake advice from our security and intelligence agencies. I have great faith intheir advice and we have –

KIERAN GILBERT: Youdidn't have a chuckle when he said that, the Ambassador? He seemed to bechuckling himself.

JULIE BISHOP: Yes,he could hardly keep a straight face. I noted what he said but we havedetermined that there are two undisclosed intelligence officers working asdiplomats and they have six days now to leave Australia under the ViennaConventions.

KIERAN GILBERT: Andwhen will you be speaking to the Ambassador?

JULIE BISHOP: Iexpect to see him today.

KIERAN GILBERT: What'syour message to him?

JULIE BISHOP: Themessage is clear, that the act of deploying a chemical weapon to carry out anassassination anywhere is unacceptable, won't be tolerated. Australia condemnsthe use of chemical weapons any time, anywhere. This is the first time that amilitary grade nerve agent, novichok, has been used on European soil and it isthe first time it has happened since the Second World War. It is an outrageousbreach of international law and the way states should behave towards eachother. If it can happen in the United Kingdom it could happen elsewhere.Australia had to take a stand with 26 other countries. About 150 Russiandiplomats worldwide have been expelled from 26 countries. It is a very powerfulmessage and Australia joins in it.

KIERAN GILBERT: Isthis a bit of a message as well, not just to Russia, but to others, that ASIO,while these two individuals have been here, that's not necessarily, they'vebeen without surveillance, this is a bit of a sign from our intelligenceagencies? You might think you're running covertly but we're across things? Andthis is a message not just to the Russians.

JULIE BISHOP: TheAustralian people can have faith in our intelligence agencies that they aredoing all they can to keep the Australian people very safe.

KIERAN GILBERT: Well,the fact that they could whistle up to, basically within 24 hours, it's notbad?

JULIE BISHOP: Ihave great faith in our intelligence agencies to carry out their work.

KIERAN GILBERT: Willthe Russians retaliate now?

JULIE BISHOP: Giventhat when Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats Russia responded and expelled23 British diplomats, we expect there will be a response. In fact, the RussianAmbassador said on television last night that they were contemplating theiroptions, so we have an expectation that given their past behaviour, Russia willrespond.

KIERAN GILBERT: Giventheir past behaviour with cyber-attacks and that sort of thing as well, thatcould be a scenario that we should be aware of as well?

JULIE BISHOP: Therehas been a pattern of behaviour by Russia over recent years which seeks toundermine the international rules based order, the way states behave towardseach other. Russia has been in breach of those international laws and rules andnorms on a number of occasions. Whether it is the illegal annexation of Crimeaor the invasion of the sovereignty of Ukraine, or Georgia, cyber-attacks, politicalinterference, the way they have reacted in relation to the downing of MalaysianAirlines MH 17, Russia has been a disruptor and in breach of internationalrules. We must send a message that there are consequences. There are costs forthis kind of behaviour.

KIERAN GILBERT: ForeignMinister, on another matter, we've seen Kim Jong-un reportedly in Beijing. Noconfirmation of that, but this has apparently come out of South Koreanintelligence agencies. If that is true, is that a positive sign do you think?

JULIE BISHOP: Ifit is true, I believe there is a positive side to it. That is, that Kim Jong-unknows that he needs China's support, and China has been very helpful in recenttimes in imposing sanctions, significant economic sanctions on North Korea, inorder to bring North Korea to the negotiating table. Collectively, the UNSecurity Council and a number of other countries around the world have beenexerting maximum economic pressure on North Korea. If Kim Jong-un has reachedout to Beijing it shows that that pressure is working.

KIERAN GILBERT: Yeah,well, you've got those diplomatic moves and then we've seen the President withhis unpredictable behaviour, but in terms of his staff, appointing the NationalSecurity Advisor John Bolton, who was recently in February this year wrote,"it's perfectly legitimate for the US to respond to the current necessity posedby North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first". He is a hawk. On the onehand, you've got Trump saying he wants to talk with Kim Jong-un and then you'vegot this new National Security Advisor on the other, they must be a littleuncertain about where he is going to go too?

JULIE BISHOP: Thisis obviously something John Bolton said before he was appointed NationalSecurity Advisor. There are a whole range of issues that must be taken intoaccount and I understand the US strategy is to continue to maximise thepressure - economic and diplomatic - on North Korea in order to bring it backto the negotiating table. The President's narrative, along those lines, seemsto be working because Kim Jong-un is now reaching out and there is talk of ameeting between the President and Kim Jong-un.

KIERAN GILBERT: Sohis unpredictability works in a way, both with China and North Korea?

JULIE BISHOP: Itcertainly changes the narrative. People cannot take the United States forgranted and the policy of strategic patience just enabled Kim Jong-un to get onwith his illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile testing programs. It haschanged the dynamics, if you like, and if we can see Kim Jong-un come back tothe negotiating table, then that is a good outcome.

KIERAN GILBERT: ForeignMinister, as always, appreciate your time. Thanks so much.

JULIE BISHOP: Thank you.

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