Interview with David Koch, Sunrise, Channel Seven

  • Transcript E&OE
Subjects: Australia-US alliance, US election.

David Koch: Australia's close relationship with the United States means we have a real, vested interest in the election result. Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne joins me now from Sydney. Minister, appreciate your time. There'll be, no doubt, be a rush of countries to position themselves with the next president. Are we in a good position, regardless who ends up winning?

Marise Payne: David, I'm confident that we have had a very good working relationship in recent years, and of course, over many, many years before that with the United States. It's a relationship of paramount importance to Australia, founded in, as Joe Hockey would tell you, 100 years of mateship apart from anything else. But most importantly in 2020, we've been able to engage with a very important set of Australia-US ministerial talks, held in person, in Washington, in the context of COVID-19. I met again with Secretary Pompeo in Japan just earlier in October. It's a very close relationship, and it's one that will continue to be that close, no matter who the occupant of the White House is, and frankly, the Lodge.

David Koch: When you were watching the coverage yesterday, what went through your mind when you saw Donald Trump saying, the system's rigged, it's a fraud against the American people. What were you thinking?

Marise Payne: Well, obviously, David, we're dealing with a very robust democratic process underway in the United States now. But I have absolute confidence in the systems and the processes that underpin the election in the US and have, as we know, for very many years. They've been hotly contested in difficult elections in the US before, but those systems and processes that are in place have always ensured that every vote is counted, and they should be. And I'm sure that they will deliver an outcome. It's important that we wait for that.

David Koch: Yeah. But it's so divisive, isn't it? I was watching, thinking, you know, he's just inciting violence. People could die as a result of his press conference yesterday. It was something to an Australian that we just shook our heads at, and thought, how could it come to this?

Marise Payne: Well, it's not an Australian election. And I'd be happier to be providing a running commentary on an Australian election, it's fair to say. But what is really important is that the outcome will be determined, through those checks and balances, if you like, that we know are within the US system. We have heard reports of lawsuits being filed. So, the legal system will deal with those, and in an appropriate way. Most importantly, though, my job and our job is to act in Australia's national interests to preserve the essential elements of the Australia-US alliance, and we will certainly continue to do that.

David Koch: Gee, it makes our system looks pretty good, doesn't it? [laughs]

Marise Payne: Well, I'm always in favour of a robust Australian democracy, David.

David Koch: Yep. Alright. Marise Payne, appreciate your time. Thank you.

Marise Payne: Thank you very much.

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