JOURNALIST: I spoke with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop a short time ago.
Minister, we know that President-elect Trump, as we are assuming, has spoken, is railed against the TPP, the NAFTA deal, the proposed Trans-Atlantic deal. These have huge consequences – don’t they – for global trade?
JULIE BISHOP: The Australian Government has been working hard to engage closely with both the Trump Team and the Clinton Team so that we are prepared and ready to work constructively with whomever the American people choose as their President. We have been analysing the statements and foreign policy and trade speeches of both candidates and there are some challenges ahead. We will work very closely with the United States Administration to ensure that our economic and strategic and security interests are a focus of this US Administration. In terms of trade, Australia has a strong trade agreement with the United States. I can’t envisage that that would be changed in any way.
JOURNALIST: So when he talks about things like military disengagement from Asia, is that just rhetoric or does that have real concerns for you for our regional security?
JULIE BISHOP: We intend to be deeply engaged with the new Administration to ensure that there is a focus on our region. The United States has been the guarantor, indeed the defender of the international rules-based order that has seen relative stability and security in our region. We will seek to engage with the United States to ensure that there is still a significant presence in our region and I believe that other nations, other friends, allies and partners of the United States will likewise seek to be so engaged.
JOURNALIST: Minister, we know the kinds of comments, the kinds of harsh comments he’s made about women, about minority groups – our own Prime Minister has described them as loathsome. How do you engage with someone whose public stance runs so counter to who we are as a nation?
JULIE BISHOP: This has been a very divisive and bitter and, at times, bruising campaign and I think both candidates have acknowledged that. Australia will work constructively with whomever the people of the United States choose as their President because it’s in our interest and the interests of our region, indeed, the interests of the globe, that countries do so.
JOURNALIST: And just on that point Minister has the Government made contact with Team Trump and are we likely to see him visit Australia any time soon?
JULIE BISHOP: Well clearly our Prime Minister will wait until victory has been claimed by one of the candidates, presumably Donald Trump, and of course our Prime Minister would seek to make contact with the President-elect as soon as possible. In the meantime, President Obama is the President with full constitutional and executive authority and so we will continue to work with the Obama Administration. The transition teams are likely to be very busy appointing the some 4000 political appointments that have to be made over the next few months. We will engage when we can, as early as we can, with the new Administration once the leading figures, the senior figures, are known.
JOURNALIST: Minister thanks so much for speaking to SBS.
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