EDDIE MCGUIRE: The Foreign Minister of Australia, Julie Bishop, to speak about the election of Donald Trump. Good morning Julie and thank you for joining us on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast.
JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Eddie, great to be with you.
EDDIE MCGUIRE: So Julie tell me what was your first response – first of all as a politician and then, I suppose, secondly as a woman as well in politics – just to see how this has all unfolded.
JULIE BISHOP: Eddie, I have been saying for months now that the Australian Government is ready and prepared to work with whomever the American people chose as their President. So as soon as I learnt that it was likely to be a Trump win, we just started engaging more deeply with the Trump transition teams and the Trump campaign teams because it’s in Australia’s national interest for us to have a close and productive relationship with the new President. Of course we have deep and longstanding connections with the Republican Party so we immediately started to reach out to those we know in the Republican Party to ensure that Australia’s interests are the focus of the new Administration.
EDDIE MCGUIRE: I’ll come back to the personal issue in a moment, we were lucky enough to spend last night at the Australian Embassy in Washington with Joe Hockey – Ambassador Hockey – and he was pretty confident before counting began that the Australian Government had positioned itself well with both sides of the political spectrum here in the United States and particularly had probably worked better than anybody on Donald Trump and his team.
JULIE BISHOP: Well, Eddie, as soon as Donald Trump received the Republican nomination we knew that he would be a very competitive candidate and notwithstanding the polls, notwithstanding the views of the mainstream media, he was always going to be a significant contender. So we have been preparing for months the possibility of a Trump Presidency and have been planning for that contingency. We are well prepared and ready to begin a deep engagement with the new President and his administration – because it’s in our interests to do so. We have particular economic and strategic interests that are aligned with the United States. The US is our major defence partner, our longstanding security ally, they are the largest source of foreign direct investment and our second largest trading partner. We have very close ties with the United States and want to ensure that this President and his Administration sees Australia as a strong and reliable security and trading partner.
JOURNALIST: Julie, can I follow up on the personal side of it, as one of our great female leaders in Australian history and successful person in your own right, and a female, to look at what’s happened now, and Hillary Clinton was portrayed as a liar, and crooked, and lock her up, and the nastiness that was inflicted her way – and then some of the language of President Trump that was for all of us outrageous and misogynistic. How do you leave that aside, as you say you’ve got to do business, you’ve got to deal with this guy and deal with his Government, but how do you reconcile with that?
JULIE BISHOP: Well I think the victory speech by Donald Trump and the concession speech by Hillary Clinton was instructive. They were both gracious, they put aside the bitterness and the divisiveness, and they both acknowledged that it was a very bitter, divisive campaign – that was point aside in the interests of the American people. Now the challenge of course will be to put aside those divisions, to end the gridlock that has plagued US politics for years and unite the American people. Donald Trump has vowed to do that, Hillary Clinton has said the American people should be open-minded, should give him a chance to lead. President Obama – who is still the President until the 20 January 2017 – has offered a seamless transition with President-elect Trump. So these are very positive signs, notwithstanding a very bruising campaign, they appreciate that the interests of America must come first, and that means uniting the American people.
EDDIE MCGUIRE: Julie, you mentioned that America is our second biggest trading partner, our biggest trading partner is China, we’re sort of caught in a pincer movement at the moment as well, aren’t we – how do we – or how do you in particular – manoeuvre between where China is going to be and where America is heading to and what Donald Trump has said about his position on China in the build up to this election?
JULIE BISHOP: Eddie, at this point, Donald Trump has made a number of high level statements about foreign policy but not the detail. The granular detail of foreign policy is yet to be formulated and that’s where I think Australia has a unique opportunity to play a role in seeking to help shape US foreign policy.
The US is looking for ideas, they are looking for support from their allies and I think Australia can play a very positive role in talking about the matters of concern in our region. We want to see more US presence, more US leadership in the region, not less. It will be incumbent upon our Government and other governments in the region to work with the United States to ensure that – taking into account their particular policies – but of course helping shape it so that it works for the benefit of not only the United States but for countries in the region including Australia.
We have welcomed the peaceful rise of China, we have worked very closely with various US Administrations while China has been growing as a regional and now global power and we’ll continue to play a very constructive role in both Australia-US relations and Australia-China relations.
JOURNALIST: It’ll be a very interesting time for Julie Bishop as the Minister for Foreign Affairs and we really appreciate the fact that you jump onto Triple M’s Hot Breakfast and keep us updated and look forward to chatting to you in the coming weeks and months as well. Thanks Julie.
JULIE BISHOP: It’s always a pleasure. Bye.
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