Today, Melbourne - interview with Karl Stefanovic

  • Transcript, E&OE
02 November 2015

KARL STEFANOVIC: For more on that crash now is Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Julie good morning to you.

JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Thank you for your time. Do you have any further information?

JULIE BISHOP: Our Australian embassies in both Cairo and Moscow have been in touch with the local authorities, and of course we send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those on board this plane. I can confirm that there were no Australians on board. There are investigations underway and it's too early to say what happened, but most certainly we are following the events very closely and it could be some time before the investigations reveal what caused this crash.

KARL STEFANOVIC: What do you make of the claims that the Russian aircraft was shot down by ISIL?

JULIE BISHOP: To date, both the Egyptian and Russian authorities have rejected those claims, but it's too early to say the cause. I believe the black box has been recovered by the Egyptians but that will take some time for it to be analysed. So in the meantime we'll just keep in touch with the local authorities in both Cairo and Moscow if there is any further news.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Do you have any concerns though about the safety of flights over that region?

JULIE BISHOP: Well clearly a number of planes have already been diverted, so they are taking precautions and I can understand why airlines would make that decision. I understand that Emirates has already made that decision.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Yeah three others have done so. Back here now. Let's get into it. The GST, are you planning to raise it by 15 per cent - to 15 per cent?

JULIE BISHOP: What we want to do is have lower, simpler, fairer taxes. So we are having a very constructive discussion with the States and we are putting all options on the table and so we are going to discuss a range of ways to ensure we have lower, simpler, fairer taxes. So any other suggestion is speculative at this stage. We are continuing to discuss options with the States.

KARL STEFANOVIC: The Australian newspaper has an exclusive today saying the tax rate cut for people on $100,000. Is this confirmed at this point or this would have to be cost I presume and taken to the people before an election?

JULIE BISHOP: I understand that this is also speculative reporting. It's obviously a very interesting time for journalists - too many journalists, not enough news perhaps?

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Laughs] Oh there's no such thing. There's no such thing. Okay, are the States being receptive at this point though?

JULIE BISHOP: We're having very constructive discussions with the States. Obviously, when there are any changes to the tax system you have to look at compensation, you have to look at who is affected. So there are a range of issues that have to be considered, but our overall message is we want lower, simpler, fairer taxes for the people of Australia.

KARL STEFANOVIC: And we'd see those reforms well and truly before another election?

JULIE BISHOP: Well of course, that's right, take it as a policy to another election.

KARL STEFANOVIC: So on that subject. I'm glad I brought it up. Will the election be in February, March or April of next year?

JULIE BISHOP: I anticipate that we'll run our full term, which would be towards the end of 2016.

KARL STEFANOVIC: You anticipate?

JULIE BISHOP: Yes, I anticipate an election at the end of 2016 and anything else is pure speculation. Prime Minister Turnbull has said he expects the Government to run its full term and so I have no suggestions otherwise.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay but he could change his mind and you're not ruling it out?

JULIE BISHOP: Well I'm not ruling it in.

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Laughs] Some are saying Valentine's Day because everyone loves Malcolm so much at the moment.

JULIE BISHOP: [Laughs] Well that's an interesting thought but it's not one that I'm going to progress this morning. I believe the Government will run its full term.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay, that is the Foreign Minister not ruling out a Valentine's Day election.

JULIE BISHOP: [Laughs] You are mischievous. Very mischievous.

KARL STEFANOVIC: That's true. So you don't necessarily though want Bill Shorten gone by then though do you, Bill's got his troubles at the moment?

JULIE BISHOP: Bill Shorten certainly has a lot of troubles, one of them being he doesn't have any policies to take to the next election whenever it might be, which I anticipate to be at the end of next year. But Bill Shorten certainly has some troubles answering the questions in the Royal Commission on union corruption and I think that we want to hear a lot more from Bill Shorten about his role in union affairs all those years ago, because it does affect the conduct of the unions these days and we are focusing on ensuring that Australian workers get a better deal and aren't ripped off by corrupt union bosses.

KARL STEFANOVIC: He'll get thumped at the next election.

JULIE BISHOP: Well, we don't know when the next election will be but at this stage the Government is firmly focused on ensuring that we have policies to grow our economy, provide more job opportunities for Australians and we've got a very positive narrative, very positive message about the wonderful opportunities that exist in Australia - in our creative economies, in our mining, agriculture sectors. Infrastructure is obviously a big issue for us, so there are plenty of challenges but a lot of opportunities.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Throw me a bone Foreign Minister, please. It's a Monday morning, nothing's doing.

JULIE BISHOP: I'll give you a tip for the Cup. Will that work?

KARL STEFANOVIC: I'll get to that in just a second. But before we do that - the Smartraveller website. It's been improved. Tool for travellers set up obviously in going overseas to other destinations. How is it that it's going to help Aussies abroad, the new improved?

JULIE BISHOP: Well Karl we've got so many more Australians travelling overseas. Last year there were 10 million overseas visits by Australians. And while the Government cares very deeply about the safety and security of Australians travelling overseas, there are limits to what we can do when they get into trouble. Last year there were about 50,000 calls to our consular hotline. There were about 16,000 cases that we had to manage and that included people being arrested or becoming ill or losing their passports, in some instances Australians died overseas. So we want Australians to be as well informed and well prepared as possible. The Smartraveller website, that's one "t" in Smartraveller, has been refreshed and updated. We now have an Android app, we have an iPhone app, and I suggest that people before they go overseas take out comprehensive insurance, be informed, be prepared.

KARL STEFANOVIC: I just saw some great vision of you over the weekend at Derby Day with your superhero-like looking boyfriend, a very handsome fellow.


KARL STEFANOVIC: Your tip for the Cup please?

JULIE BISHOP: The Offer, Gai Waterhouse. I want Gai to bring in an outsider, and of course Damian Oliver is the jockey, so I think that that's going to be my tip. And if it comes home, well that'd be a tidy little sum.

KARL STEFANOVIC: [Laughter] oh, you're the best. Thanks Julie.

JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure.



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