Today Show, Perth - Interview with Karl Stefanovic

  • Transcript, E&OE
01 November 2017

JOURNALIST: With the PM overseas, JulieBishop is running the country, left to deal with the growing firestorm over the citizenship crisis and it appears she is doing prettywell, a new poll revealing she would make a more popular leader thanMalcolm Turnbull. And the Acting Prime Minister joins me now. Julie,good morning to you.

JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Karl.

JOURNALIST: You enjoying the top job?

JULIE BISHOP: I'm very busy dealing with theissues of the day while the Prime Minister is in Israel, I'm acting asPrime Minister and there are a number of issues for us to deal with, butwe're getting on with it.

JOURNALIST: When are you running?

JULIE BISHOP: Probably later this morningalong Cottesloe Beach.

JOURNALIST: When are you running for thetop job?

JULIE BISHOP: I'm very happy doing what I amdoing as Foreign Minister. I'm just Acting Prime Minister while thePrime Minister is overseas and while Barnaby Joyce is facing aby-election. Otherwise, I get on with the job of being Foreign Minister.

JOURNALIST: OK. You have already lost the DeputyPrime Minister, now you could lose the President of the SenateStephen Parry. How on earth does someone just realise they are a citizenof Great Britain, it is either incompetent or deliberate. Which isit?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, I understand that StephenParry read the High Court decision in detail, which for the firsttime has clarified Section 44 of the Constitution, and then he soughtadvice. I spoke to him yesterday. He is still awaiting that advice. Wewould rather not be in this position obviously Karl, but we're dealingwith it. We retained 75 of the 149 seats in the House ofRepresentatives. We have sufficient crossbench support for confidenceand for supply and Barnaby Joyce, we hope, will be returned in the seat ofNew England after the by-election and so we will be back to the parliamentary compositionthat we had at the last election.

JOURNALIST: What on earth was he doing? Itdefies belief he didn't know before now.

JULIE BISHOP: I understand he believed he wasan Australian citizen and believed his father was an Australian citizen.It wasn't until he read the detail of the High Court decision that hesought advice. The law has changed many times since the Constitution Section44 was embraced back in 1901. Our citizenship laws are far morecomplex than they were then. Stephen Parry understood he wasan Australian citizen. The detail of the High Court decision wasthen made available and he sought advice.

JOURNALIST: Especially given what hashappened over the past couple of months and in light of what hashappened to him, could there be more Coalition MPs for the high jump?Can you guarantee there won't be?

JULIE BISHOP: I haven't heard of any others,either from Labor or Liberal or Nationals or other parties. I haven'theard of any more and so we just deal with the situation as presentedto us. We retain a majority in the House of Representatives. The workof the Parliament will continue and the S that are found tobe ineligible will be replaced through a casual vacancy or a recountat the last election and new Senators will take their place. In theHouse of Representatives, we expect Barnaby Joyce to work very hardto win the support of the majority of the people in New England andthen the parliamentary composition will return as it was at thelast election.

JOURNALIST: So there are no guaranteesthen?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, Karl, nobody has raisedtheir concerns with me and everybody has a responsibility to ensurethat they are eligible to stand for Parliament. Those found to beineligible, if they are in the House of Representatives, will face aby-election and if they are in the Senate, they will be replaced bynew Senators through an established process.

JOURNALIST: As a Party and a Government, itlooks like you are losing control. You have to concede that.

JULIE BISHOP: We have a majority in the Houseof Representatives, that's where the business of the Parliament isconducted. We have the support of sufficient crossbenchers to ensureconfidence and supply, so we get on with governing in the Parliament.In the Senate, those who are found to be ineligible will be replaced.Karl, of course we wouldn't want to be in this position. We wouldprefer it otherwise, but you deal with the situation as it presents,and that is what we are doing.

JOURNALIST: It is just embarrassing for theGovernment, isn't it?

JULIE BISHOP: Well, we didn't plan this and wecertainly would prefer it not be this way, but it is. So with theHigh Court's decision last Friday, Barnaby Joyce faces a by- election, wehope that the majority of the people in New England will support himand that he will be back as Deputy Prime Minister as soon aspossible.

JOURNALIST: Alright. The PM himself has gotdramas in the polls, as you would know only too well. Would you liketo be Prime Minister?

JULIE BISHOP: Karl, I am very happy being theForeign Minister. I love my job. There is a lot to do and I'm fullyoccupied with being Foreign Minister. I have been asked to step in asActing Prime Minister while the Prime Minister is overseas in Israeland while Barnaby Joyce is facing this by-election. So I am just doing my job.

JOURNALIST: Good luck running, Julie. Goodto have your company today.

JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure.

- Ends -

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