Doorstop – Launch of G'Day USA 2019 program

  • Transcript, E&OE
Subjects: G’Day USA, ‘Dundee’ campaign, Hakeem Alaraibi, Brexit, Newspoll.
10 December 2018

MINISTER PAYNE: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Great to be here this morning with myfriend and colleague, the Trade Minister Simon Birmingham. We have just had thegreat pleasure of launching G'Day USA 2019 and we're very much looking forwardto the engagement between Australia and the US for the 16th iteration of G'DayUSA. It's our annual public diplomacy campaign that enables us to promote thebest of Australian ideas, of innovation, of invention and of talent toinfluential audiences in the US.

We have just had a foretaste of some of the amazing music that will be at SXSWthanks to Catherine Britt and there's lot more to learn about. So we encourageeveryone to explore what's available and what's happening under G'Day USA.Thank you very much for being here this morning.

MINISTER BIRMINGHAM: Thanks so much Marise and it's such an exciting event G'Day USA because it is adriver of investment, trade, tourism and talent between the US and Australia.It helps sustain what is one of our biggest trading relationships, what is ourlargest investment relationship and what is a huge, huge tourism market forAustralia. And we've seen through 2018, huge impact in the US market,especially in the tourism scene where our Dundee campaign has been seen by morethan 100 million Americans watching the Super Bowl and more than 15,000 piecesof free media coverage because it's a great example of Australian innovation,ingenuity and it's that type of fun-loving but really focused andbusiness-oriented approach that helps to drive such a positive relationshipbetween Australia and the US.

MINISTER PAYNE: Great. Any questions?

QUESTION: I want to ask you about the Croc Dundee. Today is the final day thatit runs in the United States. Just how much of an impact - running in the SuperBowl and then we've seen this huge push. Is this our most successful adcampaign since 'put a shrimp on the barbie'?

MINISTER BIRMINGHAM: Well, Dundee is proving to be a phenomenally successful campaign. That's why webacked it up with the second stage to the campaigned, ensuring that we leverageeach of the Hemsworth brothers as part of our campaign. But also ensuring thatwe actually maximise what has been a talking point and that's the biggest partof the Dundee campaign. Yes, it's had millions of eyeballs watching it at theSuper Bowl, but it's been a talking point, a barbecue stopper, if you like, inconversations across the US and that's so important to ensure we keep drivingtourists and people to think 'I want to come to Australia', but also then toconvert that desire into action and bookings to get on a plane and come righthere.

QUESTION: Today is the final day of the campaign in the United States, this is it. Wouldyou look to do something more or do you have to reboot, do you have to come upwith something new?

MINISTER BIRMINGHAM: Tourism Australia keeps assessing the best way to leverageexisting campaigns and get maximum potential out of them. That's why welaunched a second stage run of the Dundee campaign that was about invitingpeople. Stage one generating the inspiration, stage two the direct invitationto make the booking, come visit Australia. And of course, we'll now have a lookat what the next stages can be to guarantee that we get the maximum economicvalue for Australia through the hundreds of thousands of potential touriststhat can be leveraged.

QUESTION: Just quickly, sorry, would you call it a success? I mean…

MINISTER BIRMINGHAM: Dundee has been a great success from the measurement we can have today. Dundeeshows that with innovation and creativity, you can get people watching,talking, thinking about making bookings. Now we want to get them on the planesto Australia.

QUESTION: Minister Payne, Hakeem Alaraibi has been detained in Thailand. Are you actuallytrying to get him out?

MINISTER PAYNE: Yes, we are very concerned by his ongoing detention in Thailand and have calledand written to my colleague Foreign Minister Don, seeking his immediate returnto Australia. Mr Alaraibi was provided with permanent residency by theAustralian government in 2017, in recognition of his status as a refugee and ifhe is returned to Bahrain, that would be in contravention of his internationalhuman rights given his status.

So we are working very hard with the Thai authorities at all levels. We havebeen making repeated representations through post, the officials in our post inBangkok have visited with him on a number of occasions. And as I've said, I'vebeen in contact with Foreign Minister Don and I will be pursuing it this week.

QUESTION: Are the Thai Foreign Ministry being responsive?

MINISTER PAYNE: Yes, they are being responsive. There are court processespotentially underway and we are watching that very closely.

QUESTION: The Brexit vote is tomorrow and it looks likely that the deal will be struckdown by the UK Parliament. What- and then exactly what'll happen, what kind ofuncertainty, what does that mean for countries like Australia?

MINISTER PAYNE: Well, first of all, I never predict parliamentary outcomes thatis a diabolically difficult thing to do. But I've had a long conversation lastweek with the British Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and had the opportunityto discuss those matters with him. We will be watching with great interest asit goes to a vote tomorrow. For Australia, we obviously need and want certaintyregarding future arrangements. Our very strong bilateral relationship is a veryimportant underpinning of our work with the UK and they have assured us in ourdiscussions that the withdrawal agreement will keep trade flowing, but that islargely within Minister Birmingham's per view, so he may have a few things hewants to add.

MINISTER BIRMINGHAM: Sure. The agreement that is before parliament in the UK - Brexit, will providecertainty for Australia in terms of trade flows over the next couple of years.We are already undertaking trade working group discussions with the UK which wehope we can launch into a free trade agreement from March next year for fullnegotiations, that can ensure that if the UK leaves the customs union in 2020,as is foreshadowed, then Australia would have fallen rich open tradingarrangements with the UK. Ultimately, our government is taking a bel-and-bracesapproach to Brexit. We're pursuing free trade negotiations with the EuropeanUnion as well as being ready to pursue them with the United Kingdom. And alsowe're ensuring there are a range of other agreements that help to facilitatethe flow of goods and people between Australia and the UK, can be replicated inthe event of any other eventualities around Brexit circumstances.

QUESTION: You're ending the year 10 points behind Labor in the latest Newspoll. What do youthink you need to do differently as we head into the federal election?

MINISTER BIRMINGHAM: We've long known that the next election is a huge mountain to climb. BillShorten and the Labor Party think they have the next election in the bag. We'redetermined to make sure that the Australian people understand what's at risk.That we have delivered a strong economy that will keep getting stronger thanksto the policy settings of our government, that we have balanced budget, recordjobs growth. And most encouragingly, the fastest rate of growth for youth jobsever seen in recorded history in Australia. And all that will be threatened by$200 billion plus of new taxes and that's the challenge that we have to meet isto make sure Australians understand what's at stake when they vote next year.

MINISTER PAYNE: Well said.

MINISTER BIRMINGHAM: Thanks everybody.

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