The Project, interview with the panel

  • Transcript, E&OE

CARRIE BICKMORE: Russian aviation officials say it is likely the Metrojet broke up in mid-air because the debris is strewn across 20km.

Renters are resorting to al fresco lifestyle to avoid the high cost of city living in Melbourne. A couple of ads have popped up on Gumtree offering to lease a tent pitched either on the balcony or in the living room with the full use of the swimming pool and the gym.


CARRIE BICKMORE: Malcolm Turnbull has scrapped knights and dames from the Australia Day honours list. The PM confirmed the Queen has agreed to get rid of them, but those who have received the titles will keep them.

PETER HELLIER: The knights and dames are titles that are really out-of-date, they're not appropriate in 2015 in Australia.

CARRIE BICKMORE: Someone who is definitely not out of date, we're very pleased to welcome the official ambassador for the emoji our very own Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Welcome.

Are you sad to see Knights and dames?

JULIE BISHOP: No, I think it is a little out of date to be making people knights and dames. We have the Australian Awards, and I think that's more contemporary, more appropriate. I think the Australian people will agree with us. Not that I follow polls, but there was a poll that showed about 90% of Australians thought we didn't need that as part of our honours system.

PETER HELLIER: Who's going to save us from dragons now? Right, next question!

JULIE BISHOP: Nobody said we were ruling out princesses.

CARRIE BICKMORE: When Tony Abbott made Prince Philip a knight and you woke up to that news, what was the first word you said?

JULIE BISHOP: Fortunately, I was spoking in emoji then.

PETER HELLIER: We have emojis for us. Can you tell us what you thought when you first woke up to that news in an emoji.

JULIE BISHOP: You haven't got it here?

PETER HELLIER: Was it that one?


JULIE BISHOP: You're terrible, Peter. As if I'd ever…

CARRIE BICKMORE: It has been seven weeks since we've had the new boss, the new PM, Malcolm Turnbull.


PETER HELLIER: Using those emojis, though, I'm going to take that one away. What's the workplace feel like at the moment.


PETER HELLIER: You've got a thumbs up.


PETER HELLIER: It is a positive environment?

JULIE BISHOP: Malcolm is a very optimistic person: It's contagious. He's very positive, up-beat, half-glass-full and the narrative in the country has changed for the better. People are feeling optimistic, confident, and business, consumer confidence, investment is up.

We have an exciting agenda based on creative economies and innovation, and harnessing the talents of the Australian people. So it is a very up-beat message.

HUGH RIMINTON: One of the positive things he has done is agreed to the plebiscite on gay marriage.

CARRIE BICKMORE: We. We could have a lot of money and just bring it in. But you have never publicly stated - not that I can see your opinion on gay marriage. Where do you stand on it?

JULIE BISHOP: I think the Australian people should have their say. I have absolutely no concerns about it myself, but I know there a lot of people who are deeply concerned about the issue. That's why I think a plebiscite, where the Australian people, get to have a vote on it, on an issue as fundamental as this, that goes to the very competition of our community, the way we feel about each other, how we treat each other, that's the core of a plebiscite.

STEVE PRICE: I agree on that. The polls are very good for you, the polls you mentioned…

JULIE BISHOP: I was talking about the Knights and Dames.

STEVE PRICE: Well, the current polls are very good. Bill Shorten is basically unelectable…

PETER HELLIER: Do you want to disagree with him?

STEVE PRICE: No I'm pointing out he said it. There will have to be some tough decisions to be made in repairing the budget. In budget one it didn't work, the public rejected it.

JULIE BISHOP: Budget two was more positive for us.

STEVE PRICE: When you start making tough decisions do you think…

JULIE BISHOP: Sure. We are making tough decisions. We are currently undertaking a tax review because we want lower, fairer simpler taxes, but we know once you start getting into tax reform it brings in the states and other interests. There will be tough decisions in regard to tax reform, but if we want Australia to be an attractive place to do business and more opportunities for young people, more jobs, we need to reform the tax system.

HUGH RIMINITON: You're the Foreign Minister, that's an interesting job. The world is fundamentally in flames. You have the islands, which the Chinese have built, which are potentially a flashpoint. What is your immediate concern?

JULIE BISHOP: My most immediate concern would be the terrorist organisations that are taking over the Middle East and the conflict in Syria and Iraq. That is deeply troubling, and I don't think we've found the solution yet. A military solution is not the answer. We need to find a political solution. There were some talks held in Vienna recently that tried to get all the of the players around the table, including Iran, including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others, and I hope that we'll be able to find a diplomatic way through what is essentially a very ugly civil war in Syria. But, worse than that, there's a terrorist organisation claiming a caliphate over Syria, Iraq and beyond, and that really is deeply troubling because so it's so volatile.

HUGH RIMINTON: So you've ruled out ground troops in Syria?

JULIE BISHOP: We have no need to change our mission. Our mission is very defined. We are supporting the Iraqi Government by training and assisting their troops, build their capacity, and capability, so they can take back the territory…

HUGH RIMINTON: But if the Americans asked you?

JULIE BISHOP: It is not a mission we contemplate. We are involved in air strikes over Syria, but that's attacking the Daesh bases, where they are attacking the Iraqi people. So our focus is on helping the Iraqis. We're in Iraq at their invitation, with their consent. That's how the mission will remain defined as far as I can see.

CARRIE BICKMORE: We're almost out of time. We'd love you to come back…

JULIE BISHOP: You just have to ask me.

CARRIE BICKMORE: You're at the races tomorrow.

JULIE BISHOP: I may be there.

CARRIE BICKMORE: You strike me as someone who would never leave the races carrying your heels - is that right?

JULIE BISHOP: Never, I never take my shoes off.

PETER HELLLIER: Who carries them, Christopher Pyne?

JULIE BISHOP: I don't know what you mean by that? Why would Christopher Pyne carry my shoes?

CARRIE BICKMORE: Oh, one could only imagine. It has been an absolute pleasure having you here. Please thank Julie Bishop.

Media enquiries