Sunrise, interview with David Koch

  • Transcript, E&OE
12 December 2017

JOURNALIST: We're joined now by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Minister, Australians really need to be careful going to New York after this?

JULIE BISHOP: Australians should continue with their travel plans, but this is another shocking reminder that a terrorist attack can take place anywhere. So I urge people to be vigilant, be aware and follow the directions of local authorities, and I also suggest that people log onto our smartraveller website before they travel overseas to get the latest advice.

JOURNALIST: That website is just so good. Anyone travelling should check in all the time on it. Well look, it comes at a time when you are advertising to recruit spies. Will they be important in preventing this sort of thing?

JULIE BISHOP: Absolutely. This is a core part of the work of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service. Now not many people know that ASIS actually exists, but it is one of the most important agencies within government. Its counterparts overseas are MI6 in the United Kingdom and the CIA in the United States, but much of their work is done overseas. It is gathering intelligence, gathering information on countering terrorism, on people smuggling, a whole range of areas that are vital to Australia's interests.

JOURNALIST: You can go to the website and be put through this game, which I did last night… [laughter]

JULIE BISHOP: How did you go?

JOURNALIST: I did not get too far, I don't think I could be a spy, but it is a lot of fun. So what are you looking for in a potential spy? Do you have to wear a dinner jacket well or…?

JULIE BISHOP: It is not quite James Bond and driving an Aston Martin, but if Daniel Craig applied, well, what can I say?

JOURNALIST: [laughter]

JULIE BISHOP: What we're looking for is people from a diverse range of backgrounds. People who have got a curious outlook, obviously intelligent – it is an intelligent service, people who are observant, bright, able to form relationships, be prepared to be deployed overseas, and act in Australia's national interest.

JOURNALIST: In all honesty, how close is it to what you see spies in the movies? Not necessarily James Bond, but Jason Bourne characters and things like that? Is it…do you go tracking people down? Do you go sort of assassinating people in the streets and all that sort of stuff?

JULIE BISHOP: Well I can't go into details of particular operations because it is called a Secret Intelligence Service for a good reason, but what they do is they are deployed overseas, they gather intelligence, information. It is an espionage agency of course.

JOURNALIST: Is it like Homeland, the movie?

JULIE BISHOP: I suggest people log on to our website, this is to take the online test – – and see if you've got what it takes....

JOURNALIST: So it is not a boring desk job. You get out and about?

JULIE BISHOP: It is certainly not a boring desk job, you've got to be resilient, be prepared to work overseas but always acting in Australia's national interests.

JOURNALIST: Alright, go to the ASIS website and do the test like me. Good luck, hopefully you do better! Now onto local politics, Malcolm Turnbull last night said he regrets making a statement citing Newspoll losses as his justification for making a run on Tony Abbott. Let's have a look.


MALCOLM TURNBULL: The one thing that is clear about our current situation is the trajectory – we have lost 30 news polls in a row, it is clear that the people have made up their mind about Mr Abbott's leadership.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: You know I do regret having said it, only because it allowed people to focus on that rather than the substantive reasons, I mean the substantive reasons that I stated were related to economic leadership and governance.


JOURNALIST: So he's obviously getting close to 30, he's at 24 now. How much notice do put on these Newspoll results?

JULIE BISHOP: Leadership changes occur for a whole range of complex and complicated matters. Essentially it means that the leader has lost the confidence of their colleagues and so, why Malcolm Turnbull has referred to the poll issue is because it is just one issue and it is a distraction from all the other issues. The only poll that counts is on polling day...

JOURNALIST: Yeah, yeah, yeah all the politicians say that.

JULIE BISHOP: But it's true.

JOURNALIST: But you roll them mid-term all the time.

JULIE BISHOP: But it's far more complex than just an issue of polls, it's about a whole range of matters that are concerning the members of the party and the leader…

JOURNALIST: He's got the confidence of the party?

JULIE BISHOP: He absolutely has the confidence of the party.

JOURNALIST: OK. Julie Bishop, thanks for joining us.

JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure.

- Ends -

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