Malaria World Congress

  • Transcript, E&OE

JULIE BISHOP: I am pleased to be here in Melbournelaunching the inaugural Malaria World Congress. Delegates from all over theworld have gathered here to share experiences, ideas and expertise as we pursuethe goal of the elimination of Malaria worldwide but particularly in ourregion. Today I announce further funding, $16 million for seven researchprojects with five Australia research organisations to help achieve this goalof elimination of Malaria.

JOURNALIST: Can you tell us a bit about these projects?

JULIE BISHOP: The projects involve the universities of NewSouth Wales, Sydney and Newcastle, the Burnet Institute here in Victoria andthe Menzies School of Health Research in the Northern Territory. They arefocusing on workforce issues, on disease surveillance and new treatments fordrug resistant malaria. Australia has been leading the efforts in our regionwith health security initiatives, building up the resilience and the robuststructures within public health departments in our region. We are focused onnew product development, on vector control – that is nets and other means ofpreventing the spread of malaria – and also working on specific treatments anddrugs.

JOURNALIST: Why is it so important that Australia doestake a lead in this region?

JULIE BISHOP: Our region is, regrettably, one where the incidenceof malaria is rising. For example, in Papua New Guinea which is just to ournorth, a country of 8 million people, 1.9 million cases of malaria werereported in 2016 with 6,000 deaths. It is a disease that leads to unhealthycommunities. It leads to a lack of productivity and therefore a lack ofeconomic growth. It is a disease that we can eliminate when we work together inpartnership around the world. I take, as an example, the Global Polio EradicationInitiative of 1998. When countries, institutions and agencies collaborate andwork in partnership, we can achieve the elimination of a disease. We need to dothat with malaria so that we can have healthier, stronger communities in ourregion and that leads to greater economic growth.

JOURNALIST: And you are obviously confident that we caneradicate it by 2030?

JULIE BISHOP: That is our goal, that is our aim. Someprogress has been made but it has also stalled according to the World HealthOrganisation. Some countries are in fact reporting an increase in the incidenceof malaria. We can't be complacent and that is why this Global Congress here inMelbourne is so timely as we reassess our experience and our expertise and comeup with new ideas to ensure that we can eliminate malaria.

JOURNALIST: The US National Security Adviser John Boltonsays the US has a plan that would see North Korea denuclearise within a year,do you think that is overly optimistic?

JULIE BISHOP: I have been speaking with my counterpart inthe United States, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I will be meeting him in theUnited States shortly and so we will certainly continue to discuss the progressthe United States hopes to make in their discussions with North Korea. Our viewis North Korea must demonstrate concrete, verifiable steps towardsdenuclearisation otherwise we will maintain economic, diplomatic and politicalpressure on North Korea until it shows that it is genuine in its efforts todenuclearise.

JOURNALIST: Do you think Senator Leyonhjelm shouldactually apologise to Sarah Hanson-Young after his comments towards her?

JULIE BISHOP: If Sarah Hanson-Young has asked for anapology of course he should give one. I haven't seen the report but I have readabout it. The comments were highly disrespectful and we need more respect inpublic life, not less.

JOURNALIST: How big is the Australian contribution to therescue effort in Thailand?

JULIE BISHOP: Australia has sent six specially trainedAustralian Federal Police Officers to Thailand to help in the recovery effortsfor the 13 Thai people who were exploring caves and went missing. Our sixFederal Police Officers left Darwin on Saturday evening. They have alreadycommenced diving operations and we are supporting the Thai recovery efforts aseffectively as we can.

JOURNALIST: What do you think about Liberal Senator LucyGichuhi being relegated to an unwinnable spot for the SA Senate ticket?

JULIE BISHOP: I am disappointed for Lucy but it makes mewant to work even harder to ensure that we can get the fourth Senate spot up. Icongratulate Anne Ruston, David Fawcett and Alex Antic and I hope that Lucycontinues to work as hard as she has been. My aim would be to have four Liberalspots on the South Australian Senate ticket.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it sends a badsignal to women in politics though?

JULIEBISHOP: Anne Ruston was nominated as thefirst Senate candidate, so a very highly competent woman was given the numberone spot. It is a matter for the South Australian Liberal Party but I just hopeall four are able to win the Senate spots at the next election.

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