Press conference - private sector engagement launch

  • Transcript, E&OE

JULIEBISHOPGood morning. Thank you for beinghere. I have just launched a Ministerial statement called CreatingShared Value through Partnership which reflects the AustralianGovernment's commitment to working in partnership with the private sectorin the delivery of our foreign aid program. We know that the privatesector is essential to driving economic growth and economic growthis the key to lifting standards of living and lifting peopleout of poverty in our region. So this partnershipbetween government, NGOs and the private sector will be partof what we call the new aid paradigm - a new and creative andinnovative way of ensuring more effective aid delivery in our region.

JOURNALISTSo this isessentially pushing the responsibility for the aid budget onto theprivate sector?

JULIEBISHOPNot at all. This is harnessingthe skills, the expertise, the understanding of supply chains, of thedelivery of goods and services in our region - with thegovernment. Our aid program will continue, but what we will do isleverage the skills and funding and resources of the privatesector with the Australian Government's substantial commitmentso that we can get better outcomes. The private sector is alreadydoing a lot in the development space. By partnering together wecan align our objectives and get better outcomes and so it'sa win/win for government, for NGOs, for the private sector, butmost importantly for the developing countries and the people withinthose countries who have an opportunity to be lifted outof poverty, to be living in a country with a sustainable economyrather than relying on hand-outs. And the fact is foreign aid isdwarfed by foreign direct investment, remittances and privatesector input and investment in countries. This is using our aidbudget in a much smarter and more creative way.

JOURNALISTMinister, whyshould more European countries carry out air strikes against ISIL inIraq and Syria?

JULIEBISHOPOver 40 per cent of the peoplecurrently seeking asylum in Europe are from Syria and we need aunited front to defeat the terrorist organisations that aredriving the displacement of so many people. It'sabsolutely essential that ISIL or Daesh, Al Nusrah and otherterrorist organisations are contained and then defeated. Theyare currently operating in Syria, in Iraq. They areresponsible for driving the majority of people out of this regionand people are seeking asylum in Europe. So it's quiteobvious that we need to work together in a global coalition todefeat terrorism that is causing so much misery around the world.

JOURNALISTWhich countries inparticular do you think could play a larger role?

JULIEBISHOPAll countries that have aninterest in ensuring that people are not displaced and not persecutedand not subject to war and conflict would of course be welcometo join the Coalition. Already there are about 60 countries thatare providing support in one way or another to the US-led Coalition.But there's more countries can do in terms of supporting the airstrikes which are proving effective in stopping Da'esh fromclaiming territory off sovereign governments and frominflicting so much barbaric violence on the populations.

JOURNALISTToday's announcementis about using foreign aid more efficiently and yet today we'rehearing about Cambodia saying it's not going to take more than fourof the people who've been moved from Nauru and thegovernment has spent $4 million on that. Is that now acollapsing deal?

JULIEBISHOPThat is not correct. You arerelying on an alleged statement of one official. I had a verypositive meeting with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong in Kuala Lumpurrecently, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit. We had a veryproductive, constructive discussion about how Cambodia can continueto work in partnership with the Australian Governmentand others. Cambodia is part of the Bali Process. Cambodiais committed to a regional solution and has committed through aMemorandum of Understanding with the Australian Governmentto resettle some asylum seekers who are found to begenuine refugees. Cambodia is an aspiring country, it wishes toincrease its GDP, it wishes to harness the skills of foreign workersand in this way they can resettle people into Cambodia and help boosttheir GDP.

JOURNALISTAnd yet the humanrights organisations say that the human rights there arebeing trammelled and that we shouldn't be supporting it?

JULIEBISHOPHuman rights organisations arevery quick to continue to condemn countries for their past. Cambodiais determined to put its past behind it, and to build its capacity tobe a developed country and just as other countries in SouthEast Asia have gone from developing to developed countries, andthey can be very difficult and painful journeys, so Cambodia andother countries wish to become a developed country and we should give themevery support.

JOURNALISTHow fast do youthink Cambodians will take on asylum seekers?

JULIEBISHOPObviously Cambodia is determinedto ensure that the people they do take are integrated well intotheir society, into their communities and so that's what theyhave done with the first four but we're working closelywith them. As I said I had a very productive meeting with the ForeignMinister in Kuala Lumpur recently.

JOURNALISTJoe Hockey stillseems to be a drag on the Government. Is it time to cut him loose?

JULIEBISHOPI think that instead ofcriticising Joe Hockey, people should recognise the enormous task hehas in repairing the Budget that was so trashed by Labor in itssix years in office. Labor inherited in 2007 the very best setof national financial accounts of any incoming government and yet JoeHockey as Treasurer inherited from Labor the very worst -record debt, record deficits. Not only does Joe have to dealwith repairing the Budget, we're also dealing withirresponsible Labor senators who are refusing to pass measures in theSenate, including their own savings that they had identified. So Laborshould try and be part of the solution, accept the responsibilitythat comes with having trashed the Budget and work with Joe Hockeyand with the government to find solutions.

JOURNALISTHow would yourate his performance out of 10?

JULIEBISHOPThat's a ridiculous question. Idon't go around rating performances of journalists, I don't rateperformances of actors. I'm not going to rate performances of my Cabinetcolleagues. That's nonsense.

JOURNALISTIs an earlyfederal election being considered for March next year?

JULIEBISHOPI don't believe so.

JOURNALISTMinister,you've been very successful with the first roll-out in thisaid program. I just spoke with Westpac and for an initial investmentof $500,000 it's obviously providing dividends in aid support and forWestpac now as a commercial prospect. Do you think that's themodel you will use around the Asia Pacific to roll out a newform of aid that is commercially viable and shouldother countries follow suit?

JULIEBISHOPWell, that's a matter forother countries. We work closely with aid agencies andgovernments around the world to ensure that we get the most effectiveand the most innovative ways of achieving development outcomes.

We've had somevery successful partnerships - with Westpac, with ANZ, with CarnivalCruises and with other companies who are operating in the areas wherewe deliver aid, and together we've been able to maximiseour efforts to deliver better outcomes for the people in thosecountries. So the Westpac example is a great one where we have helpedWestpac with its financial literacy operations. Westpac are bringingmore people into the banking system - about 80 per cent of the Pacificare not involved in the formal banking system, they've never hada bank account or credit or been able to borrow or expand businesseson loans. So in this way, working with financial institutions such asWestpac, we're able to introduce a whole new level of economicactivity that will underpin economic growth in these countries.

JOURNALISTWho would youlike to see replace Dyson Heydon if he stands down as RoyalCommissioner this afternoon?

JULIEBISHOPThose leading the charge againstDyson Heydon have one motivation and that is to protect unionofficials who are guilty of corrupt behaviour at the expense of thehonest union members they were meant to be representing. Those whoare leading the charge against Dyson Heydon are determined to stopan investigation into systemic corruption and bad behaviour on thepart of corrupt union bosses. The work of the Royal Commission mustgo on already about 26 union bosses have been referredfor further investigation and prosecution. So the work is designedto support honest union workers who've had their interests and theirfunds ripped off by corrupt union bosses and no amountof posturing on the part of Labor should prevent thisimportant work continuing.

JOURNALISTDoesJeremy Stoljar have a case to answer as unions claim forwithholding correspondence he had with Dyson Heydon?

JULIEBISHOPI take no notice of the unions'protestations in this regard. It's quite obvious that their solemotivation is to derail an investigation into corrupt, illegal union behaviour.And Labor can express all the outrage they like, but until such timeas they focus on cleaning up the union movement fromthe activities of corrupt union bosses they have nocredibility on this subject at all.

JOURNALISTYou earlier gavea good example of Coke in the distribution link. Would you be able torepeat that?

JULIEBISHOPWhat I was saying is that byharnessing the skills and expertise of the private sector, we maywell be able to get much more effective and efficient deliveryof fundamentals like pharmaceuticals into the more remote areasof the Pacific, including in Papua New Guinea. Already I gavethat example and one of the companies operating in PNG has comeup to me and said that they take half empty trucks up into the remoteareas of PNG and they would be able to work with us and with thePNG Government to deliver basic supplies into these regions.So it's this idea of partnering with the private sector who areable to do things very effectively. Government doesn't have all theanswers, the private sector doesn't have all the answers but togetherwe can come up with solutions that work.

JOURNALISTShould Scott Morrisontake over as Treasurer if there is a swing against the Governmentin the Canning by-election?

JULIEBISHOPThese are all hypotheticals.I'm working very hard with our outstanding candidate in Canning,Andrew Hastie, and I believe that the people of Canning will see inhim the kind of representative that will best serve their interests.He has the character, the calibre of personality, he hasthe temperament, he has the life experience to make himan outstanding representative for the people of Canning.

JOURNALISTIsthat something being discussed by Cabinet Ministers?

JULIEBISHOPNo. Winning in Canning? Yes theCanning matter is discussed in Cabinet. But is that what youwere referring to?

JOURNALISTNo I'mtalking about the possibility of Scott Morrison ...

JULIEBISHOPOf course not.

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