Sunrise, Seven - interview with David Koch

  • Transcript, E&OE

DAVID KOCH: Ministerthanks for joining us. Well, why do we need to be involved in this? It'ssomething that happened in Britain, why not just leave it up to Europe?

JULIE BISHOP: Australiacondemns the use of chemical weapons anywhere, any time, by any country. We area member of the Organisation for the Prohibition against Chemical Weapons andwe Chair a 43 member country group called the Australia Group which workstowards the abandonment of chemical weapons. Australia in our own right, butalso in support and in solidarity of the United Kingdom, has decided to takethis action. We don't take it lightly but 26 other countries have expelledRussian diplomats, a total of about 150 Russian diplomats have been expelledfrom countries around the world.

DAVID KOCH: Thesetwo diplomats we're expelling, they're spies are they? We've known they've beenspies?

JULIE BISHOP: Iwon't go into our intelligence on this matter but I can assure you I rely onthe advice of our security and intelligence agencies and we have taken steps toexpel two Russian diplomats who are undisclosed intelligence officers. Theyhave seven days to leave the country, now six days.

DAVID KOCH: Andwill this lead to a boycott, are you considering a boycott of our team at theWorld Cup soccer?

JULIE BISHOP: No.We are not considering a boycott. Britain has announced that the Royal Familywill not be representing Great Britain at the World Cup, but Australia is notconsidering a boycott.

DAVID KOCH: Okay.We won't send any diplomatic officials to the World Cup?

JULIE BISHOP: Weare not considering any action at this stage in relation to the World Cup. Ourfocus has been on sending a very powerful message, along with many othercountries, that this use of a chemical weapon on European soil, the first timesince the Second World War, is unacceptable and won't be tolerated.

DAVID KOCH: Yeah,and that's fair enough. That's a really strong message, absolutely. Hey, whilewe've got you, you're expelling two Russians, are you going to let threecricketers back into the country?

JULIE BISHOP: Itis the right thing to do to send them home and I'm glad that the culprits haveadmitted that they were guilty of this act. It has brought Australian cricketinto disrepute. It has been raised with me on numerous occasions by foreigndiplomats and ambassadors and other nations who are astounded that Australiancricketers would act in this way. After all, it is test cricket and there is ahigh expectation that our players would act responsibly and respect each otherand respect the game.

DAVID KOCH: Well,British PM Theresa May has made comment, have you received any comments fromthe South African Embassy, the Ambassador?

JULIE BISHOP: Asa matter of fact, during this week I attended an event with the ambassadors andhigh commissioners from almost all the African countries, coincidentally. Youcan imagine that it was raised by each and every one of them.

DAVID KOCH: Soyou're being sledged in diplomatic circles?

JULIE BISHOP: Notpersonally, but on behalf of the country. The disdain for the act has beenbrought home to me and as so many of them have said to me, it's just notcricket.

DAVID KOCH: Yep,absolutely. Julie Bishop thanks for joining us.

JULIE BISHOP: Mypleasure.

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