JOURNALIST She had the highest swing vote in history of Australian politics, it’s the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
JOURNALIST Well done Julie.
JOURNALIST Hello and congratulations ma’am.
JULIE BISHOP I think that’s a little bit of an overstatement…
JOURNALIST I don’t think it is!
JULIE BISHOP I think what you’re suggesting is that I’ve got the highest primary vote in the country, not the swing…
JOURNALIST Yeah, whatever it is.
JULIE BISHOP Whatever, thank you very much for the kind words.
JOURNALIST I just know if people vote then you’re a winner, that’s how I see it.
JOURNALIST Oh well, that’s the main thing.
JULIE BISHOP That’s right! As long as you get over the line first, you’ve won.
JOURNALIST Well you know what you only have to worry about that, what, every four years or something isn’t it?
JULIE BISHOP Three years…
JOURNALIST Three years.
JULIE BISHOP Every three years we have it. It’s four years at state level and three years at a federal level. So every three years I go through the longest job interview. This time it was eight weeks.
JOURNALIST No don’t come whinging to me! I have to put up with that every eight weeks with our ratings!
JOURNALIST The survey, of course!
JULIE BISHOP I know, I know you’re constantly being judged on your performance. Welcome to our world.
JOURNALIST Yeah, cause it was your birthday on Sunday, wasn’t it? Happy birthday for Sunday!
JULIE BISHOP Thank you. It was indeed.
JOURNALIST And did the Prime Minister get you a cool present?
JULIE BISHOP I had a little birthday cake given to me by the Prime Minister. I actually spent the day, can I name drop for a second?
JULIE BISHOP I spent the day with Vice President Joe Biden and took him to the MCG where we watched a game of footy between my beloved West Coast Eagles and Carlton and…
JOURNALIST He wouldn’t have had a clue what was going on!
JULIE BISHOP Not a clue but he had some Americans who are playing AFL now sitting next to him and giving all the tips. And it’s a pretty confusing game for most of Australia let alone an American…
JOURNALIST Can I ask, was Joe Biden in Sydney yesterday?
JULIE BISHOP Yes, yes he is.
JOURNALIST Hang on. Are you travelling around with him?
JULIE BISHOP Well I’m in Canberra today because we have the swearing in of the Ministry but then I’m coming up to Sydney and meeting him in Sydney today.
JOURNALIST Right let me ask you something. I was in Paddington yesterday around the Oxford St area here, and I was sitting at a traffic light and it was red for an extraordinary amount of time – about three songs it was red – and I saw some police car lights and everything and I thought, “It feels like there’s a Presidential motorcade going down! Why is the light red for so long?” and then I’ve realised maybe it was, in fact, a Presidential motorcade.
JOURNALIST Was he on Oxford St yesterday?
JULIE BISHOP Well spotted, absolutely. I think there are about 35 cars in his entourage and when the President or the Vice President travels through any city they stop the lights so that they can get a clear run, and yes, he’s in Sydney, and I’m catching up with him today.
JOURNALIST Ask him why he stopped at the Tool Shed! [Laughter] I don’t know what’s going on down there…
JOURNALIST Lies! Lies!
JOURNALIST Maybe they wanted a drink? The 7-Eleven is right next door, you never know.
JOURNALIST Do you guys get…you don’t get that kind of privilege though, do you?
JULIE BISHOP We certainly don’t and…
JULIE BISHOP Well I’m very pleased that Australia is such a peaceful, stable country, relatively speaking, and our politicians and public figures have relative freedom. Of course we have security but not to the extent that an American President or Vice President would have. So when you see 35, 40 cars in an entourage you realise the extent of the security surrounding a significant public figure from the United States.
JOURNALIST What’s your security like though, in terms of, because you always have to be in a government car. Can you just get an Uber if you want to or is that not allowed?
JOURNALIST Oh you wouldn’t do UberX!
JULIE BISHOP I can do all sorts of things, as long as I don’t tell!
JOURNALIST Oh that’s what Hillary said.
JOURNALIST Now wouldn’t you, is there a little bit of, I know we’re Aussie and we all sit in the traffic together and we can be sitting in peak hour traffic and there’s the Prime Minister sitting there, the flag’s not even got any wind behind it because we’re stuck on the M4…wouldn’t you just love to be able to ring up someone and go “Change all the lights to green. It’s Julie Bishop here, I want all the lights green to the airport”!
JULIE BISHOP Yes, we don’t have that kind of executive, presidential role in Australia. The attitude here is far more egalitarian, and while there’s appropriate security it is certainly not over the top, and I’m perfectly happy to take my place in the queue with everybody else. Of course there are times, for security reasons, that they do take different steps or different procedures but otherwise you just do what your security tell you.
JOURNALIST What do you make yesterday of Sonia Kruger’s comments?
JULIE BISHOP I think it was pretty divisive. The challenge that we have as a country is to meld all the different ethnic, racial, religious divides that make up a country into one very cohesive society. So we are one of the most successful multicultural nations on earth, we have people from all four corners of the globe living in Australia and we are one of the great success stories and I would hope that that continues.
JOURNALIST So you would disagree with what she said?
JULIE BISHOP We have a non-discriminatory immigration system. We bring people in on visas based on need, we bring people in based on skills, on the talent and the skills that they can contribute to our society. We bring people in on a whole range of reasons but we don’t discriminate based on religion. In fact freedom of religion is guaranteed in our Australian Constitution.
JOURNALIST Which I think is great however, don’t you think we should put a little note on there saying “If you don’t live our lifestyle, if you don’t like our lifestyle…”
JULIE BISHOP Not your lifestyle.
JOURNALIST Not mine, we couldn’t all live my lifestyle!
JULIE BISHOP No, clearly not your lifestyle.
JOURNALIST Oh it would be bloody out of control! If you don’t live the Australian way, don’t bother coming! Because we’re open to everyone and we love everyone and everyone loves everyone, but if you don’t like our way of living, don’t come.
JULIE BISHOP Well I think it’s important to remember that when people come to Australia on visas, we have very stringent security, character, health checks. We take a long time to do that, sometimes we’re criticised that we take so long to do the security, character, health checks, but that’s so that we ensure that we get people into Australia who are going to be positive contributors to our society, and likewise you must obey the laws of this country…
JOURNALIST Can I ask, for example, how come Snoop Dogg is not allowed to come and do a concert because he is too much of a threat but terrorists can come through sometimes? What happens there?
JULIE BISHOP Well we certainly don’t believe that terrorists come here because we believe that we screen them out, but there are various reasons why people can’t come to Australia – if they have a particular criminal record, if they are likely to be a national security threat, there are a whole raft of reasons. But we certainly screen for anyone who has terrorist tendencies, you can’t always get it right but we have some of the best border protection in the world, we’ve got some of the best security and intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the world…
JOURNALIST That’s true.
JULIE BISHOP …and they work around the clock to ensure that we can keep Australians safe, whether here in Australia or overseas.
JOURNALIST Well I wouldn’t feel safe being overseas. How safe do you feel about Australia in terms of how worried should we be about terrorist attacks here?
JULIE BISHOP Well we’re not immune and we’re seeing in cities overseas that terrorist attacks have evolved in all sorts of unexpected ways. The one in Nice recently, an horrific attack where a guy had not been known to the intelligence agencies, had become radicalised in a very short period of time it appears, and then buys a truck and drives down through a crowd of people. I mean, that is horrendous, bizarre, but how do you detect somebody like that? He had a criminal record, sure, but he wasn’t known to intelligence agencies as being a terrorist threat.
JOURNALIST Yeah, exactly. Just a mad man.
JOURNALIST That could happen anywhere.
JOURNALIST Hey, I believe, someone’s probably standing beside you like someone’s standing right beside me now, with current intelligence updates that some guy’s gone mental on a train in Germany. What’s happening there? Can you tell us more?
JULIE BISHOP Well it appears that he’s been shot but there are no details as to his motivations, but he had an axe and…
JOURNALIST An axe?
JULIE BISHOP Yes, and it appears there was an attack on a train in Germany. Now we can’t assume what was behind it but we certainly know that the local media in Germany are tweeting that 20 people or 21 people have been injured and the suspect was apparently shot in the incident, but it could be a man with mental health problems going on a rampage on a train in a city in southern Germany, or it could be something else. We just don’t know at this stage.
JOURNALIST We are quick to react, we think everything is terror-related now, don’t we? But a lot of these things have been mental, lone mad men.
JULIE BISHOP That’s right. The lone wolf syndrome about which we hear so much, somebody might have all sorts of antisocial mental health problems and that could manifest in violence. But then also we shouldn’t underplay by any means the terrorist threat because we know that there are terrorist organisations around the world who do export a model of terrorism, getting people who aren’t otherwise known to intelligence and law enforcement agencies to carry out terrible attacks particularly on civilians.
JOURNALIST You’ve got a tough job, Julie Bishop, I’m telling you. I’m glad you’re doing because I feel that you are the right woman for the job, so go forward and do protect us all.
JULIE BISHOP Thank you.
JOURNALIST It’s in your hands!
JULIE BISHOP That’s my primary responsibility.
JOURNALIST I know.
JOURNALIST Alright Julie. Thank you so much for talking to us this morning…
JOURNALIST Hey when did you get that update? When did you find out about that train thing?
JULIE BISHOP This morning, first thing this morning.
JOURNALIST Alright, what time?
JULIE BISHOP Oh early, I’m trying to remember. I came running into Parliament House about 6:00am so probably about 7:00am or just before?
JOURNALIST And I found out at 8:30am, something’s not right.
JULIE BISHOP No, that’s good…
JOURNALIST An hour and a half later.
JOURNALIST She should know before you. [Laughter]
JULIE BISHOP I should know before you.
JOURNALIST I know. Totally, totally. [Laughter] I’m not trying to race you to the info, but I’m thinking an hour and a half! Surely I should know before that! Thank you.
JOURNALIST Thanks Julie.
JULIE BISHOP My pleasure.
JOURNALIST Deputy Leader of the Libs, Minister for um, what is it…
JULIE BISHOP Foreign Affairs.
JOURNALIST Oh yeah, yeah. I want to call you Secretary of State…
JULIE BISHOP You can call me that.
JOURNALIST Because I’ve been watching that show, I love it. You watch that show?
JOURNALIST Yeah, she watches it.
JULIE BISHOP I think it’s a fantastic show but I have to admit my favourite is Veep.
JOURNALIST Oh love it, but it’s a tad potty mouth!
JULIE BISHOP That is so true.
JOURNALIST Hey have you watched The Night Manager yet? That’s a good one, Julie, you’ll like that.
JOURNALIST Which one?
JULIE BISHOP No, I haven’t seen that yet.
JOURNALIST Oh you’ll love it!
JOURNALIST The Night Manager’s got nothing to do with politics!
JOURNALIST It doesn’t matter! She doesn’t only have to watch politics shows!
JULIE BISHOP Is it on Netflix?
JOURNALIST No, you have to buy it on iTunes. Would you do that?
JULIE BISHOP Yes, I would. If you recommend it to me, I’ll get it. There are a few long plane trips ahead of me that I’m sure I’ll need some entertainment…
JOURNALIST Julie, you and I should Netflix and chill soon.
JULIE BISHOP Yes, absolutely, love the sound of it.
JOURNALIST And are you up to speed on what’s going on with Taylor and Kanye and all of that?
JULIE BISHOP Well I’m a Taylor girl, I have to admit.
JOURNALIST Oh you’re Team Taylor, you’re calling it.
JOURNALIST Hey hey hey, I’ve just had a great idea. Taylor’s on the Gold Coast, right, she’s in lockdown, she’s on lockdown.
JULIE BISHOP Yes…
JOURNALIST Can you get us in there?
JOURNALIST Oh you can’t?
JULIE BISHOP Oh now you’re asking? That’s a domestic issue. I’m normally able to make things happen overseas but leave it with me.
JOURNALIST And she is foreign so…
JULIE BISHOP Leave it with me.
JOURNALIST Yeah. Foreign Minister, just get us in!
JULIE BISHOP Looking after an American citizen…
JOURNALIST It could fall on your territory.
JOURNALIST I just want to set the record straight! I want to get all this hate offline. Let’s all love each other again.
JULIE BISHOP And she might as well tell you, give you an exclusive.
JOURNALIST Exactly, there we go!
JOURNALIST Make it happen. [Laughter]
JOURNALIST I’ll be at the airport waiting for the plane
JULIE BISHOP I’ll just go through my contact list and see if I’ve got her mobile.
JOURNALIST Ok, thank you.
JOURNALIST Thanks Julie.
JULIE BISHOP Ok. Cheers guys.
JOURNALIST Bye bye.
JOURNALIST Julie Bishop, Foreign Minister there, going to hook us up with the Tay-Tay!
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
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