Today Show, Channel Nine - interview with Karl Stefanovic

  • Transcript, E&OE
28 March 2018

KARL STEFANOVIC: ForeignMinister, thank you for coming in.

JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Karl.

KARL STEFANOVIC: The whole cricketing world istalking about, your reaction to the expulsion of the three Australian playersand can we restore our reputation?

JULIE BISHOP: It was certainly the right thing todo to expel the culprits home – Smith, Warner and Bancroft had to return toAustralia and not participate in the rest of this Test. There is an ongoinginvestigation and we'll await to see what Cricket Australia has in store forthem, but of course it was cheating. Any act to gain an unfair advantage,acting illegally in sport is cheating.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Appreciateyou talking about that this morning. Let's move on to Russia. We've expelledtwo undeclared intelligence officers, what exactly can you confirm is an"undeclared intelligence officer"?

JULIE BISHOP: Itis a diplomat but someone who is working in the intelligence field yet theyhaven't declared that that's their line of work. As the phrase says, an undeclaredintelligence officer. Russia hadn't informed us formally that that's the workthat they were doing.

KARL STEFANOVIC: So how long have they been here?

JULIE BISHOP: I'm not going into the details ofour intelligence on this matter, that would be inappropriate, but I've beentaking advice of our security and intelligence agencies and I trust theiradvice.

KARL STEFANOVIC: It does beg the question though, andyou must see it, they were already being watched by ASIO. Talk about slow outof the blocks.

JULIE BISHOP: Thereis another side to every story.

KARL STEFANOVIC: What is the other side?

JULIE BISHOP: That is an intelligence operationsmatter that I won't go into. I can assure you I have great faith in oursecurity and intelligence agencies and they do an incredible job in keepingAustralians safe.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Are you expecting retaliation diplomatically?Are our people in Russia being sent home, or in any other way?

JULIE BISHOP: Russia hasn't yet announced it butthe Russian Ambassador has indicated that they are considering what optionsthey will take, given the fact that when Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats,Russia expelled 23 British diplomats. There are now 26 countries that haveexpelled Russian diplomats, about 150 Russian diplomats are being sent homefrom around the world.

We expect Russia will respond.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Okay. There were some mixed messagesyesterday. Are we pulling out of the Soccer World Cup?

JULIE BISHOP: No. There was no mixed message. Weare not considering a boycott of the World Cup, the Socceroos will go. Thepoint I was making is that Britain has put options on the table, including inrelation to the World Cup. Britain has said the Royal Family, for example, willnot be attending the World Cup.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Are we ready for a so-called cyberstrike from Russia in retaliation?

JULIE BISHOP: We are always ready to defend ourcountry, our people against any kind of attack including a cyber-attack. Thishas been a pattern of behaviour of Russia over many years, cyber-attacks,interference in the affairs of other countries. This pattern of behaviour hascontinued, but this last egregious act, that is, the deployment of a militarygrade nerve agent to carry out an attempted assassination in the United Kingdomis a step that we could not tolerate and we had to act.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Are you worried about our diplomatsin place in Russia at the moment? Are they compromised?

JULIE BISHOP: We are certainly looking out for ourdiplomats. We have security in place as we do in all of our Embassies aroundthe world. We ensure that our people are safe.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Just finally, on I think a lighternote, good news out of New Zealand this morning, they're going to expel allRussian operatives they just can't find them.

JULIE BISHOP: Well, I suggest they keep looking.

KARL STEFANOVIC: Good advice Foreign Minister. Thankyou.

JULIE BISHOP: Thank you Karl.

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