JOURNALIST Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins me live from Canberra. Minister, thanks for joining us. A little earlier Barnaby Joyce was on the show. Apart from critiquing the Johnny Depp video, he basically confirmed July the second is the election, will be called after the Budget. Correct?
JULIE BISHOP Well on the Johnny Depp video, the whole world now knows about our biosecurity laws. So I think it's a great outcome.
JOURNALIST What about the election?
JULIE BISHOP The issue here is passing the Australian Building and Construction Commission law. We want that watchdog back on sites. Now that the Senate has knocked back for the second time those laws, the only way we can get the Australian Building and Construction Commission established is to have an election and then there will be a joint sitting of parliament so it will come into law.
JOURNALIST So July 2?
JULIE BISHOP That is a date that is available, but the next issue that we have to deal with is the budget on 3 May. That's the next step but 2 July is an option.
JOURNALIST How important this is this Budget? Because the polls are pretty close at the moment. What are you going to have to do to get yourselves over the line?
JULIE BISHOP The Budget is the annual occasion when you set out your economic plan for the next 12 months and beyond. So it's a very important piece of our economic narrative which is all about growing our economy, the transition from the mining boom to a much more diverse, broader-based economy and it's about jobs growth. That's why our announcement about the continuous ship building industry in Australia yesterday was so important, with new ships being built in Adelaide and in Western Australia with maintenance in Cairns. This is all about building a very strong economy for the future and the Budget is part of that plan.
JOURNALIST Do you run the risk though, if July 2 is the election day, that we are just going to - all of us, the average Australian – is going to get thoroughly sick of watching you all? The politicians? It's an extraordinary long campaign. We are basically in campaign mode now.
JULIE BISHOP An election is due this year anyway. There would be an election in August, September, October, so July is actually bringing it closer if we decide to hold the election in July. So this is an election year in any event. Importantly, we have to get this Australian Building and Construction Commission watchdog back on the building sites across Australia. It was a recommendation of the Heydon Royal Commission and the lawlessness on our construction sites, the corruption, the bullying and intimidation has to stop. The only way to do it is to re-establish this watchdog, and that can be only done now at a joint sitting of the house.
JOURNALIST OK why did it have to be this week? Why couldn't it have waited until parliament returned for the Budget? It's only a couple of weeks away?
JULIE BISHOP The Budget was to be on 10 May. We have brought the Budget forward to 3 May. Constitutionally, if you want to call a double dissolution election, you have to do it before 10 or 11 May. The scheduling worked and Parliament is back doing its work this week.
JOURNALIST Was it tawdry politics? Stephen Conroy really took aim at the Governor-General yesterday saying he was involved in tawdry politics.
JULIE BISHOP Stephen Conroy has ashamed his own side and has been called on to apologise. I think he has just disgraced himself yet again. The failure of union members like Stephen Conroy, who are now members of parliament, is that they refuse to accept that the unions are having an effect on jobs growth, on our economic growth, on our productivity, on construction sites across Australia. This is a very important part of our economic growth, having construction sites that adhere to the rule of law. That's not happening at the moment.
JOURNALIST Was the Governor-General rude in not shaking Tanya Plibersek's hands.
JULIE BISHOP No what happens in fact is that protocol dictates that only the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition are acknowledged by the Governor-General. So it seems that both Deputies on both sides were unaware of the protocol.
JOURNALIST That's interesting, I didn't realise that either. Hey just while we’ve got you, the issue in Lebanon, a judge in Lebanon has again adjourned the case again against Australian woman Sally Faulkner and that Channel 9 crew, stressing it's a kidnap case and not a custody matter. What are you doing behind the scenes there? Can we - how are you trying to get them off?
JULIE BISHOP I spoke again with our Ambassador in Lebanon, Glenn Miles, this morning, just before coming on your program, and he confirmed that the judge has adjourned the matter to enable all the parties involved and their lawyers to try to come to some settlement of some civil proceedings that may well impact on the criminal proceedings. There is still an investigation underway. Formal charges have not been laid, so the judge has given all the parties and their lawyers time to try and resolve the matter.
JOURNALIST OK, alright Julie Bishop, thanks for joining us.
JULIE BISHOP My pleasure.
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