JULIE BISHOP: Good morning. The Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steve Ciobo and I have launched the 2018 program for G'Day USA. This is our annual showcase of Australian talent, innovation, goods and services and opportunities with the United States. Next year, 2018, will be the 15th year of G'Day USA which is Australia's premier public and economic diplomacy initiative to drive further investment and trade with the largest economy in the world and our close strategic partner, the United States.
STEVEN CIOBO: Thanks Julie. It's terrific to be here with Julie this morning. G'Day USA is the opportunity to showcase Australia to the United States. The US is of course, our third largest tourism market, spending $4 billion a year here as tourists, and G'Day USA provides opportunity to highlight the very best of Australia. Of course, it's broader than that though, it's not just about tourism. The work that our two countries do together in trade, investment, the fact that we can collaborate on innovation, the great work that we do around fashion and retail, and of course, there's a whole swag of Aussies that are making terrific inroads in the USA, both in terms of film and TV, but also in business. G'Day USA is an all-encompassing showcase of the best of Australia to the United States.
JOURNALIST: Margot McKinney the jewellery designer is here today. Are you wearing her earrings today, Ms Bishop?
JULIE BISHOP: Yes I am.
JOURNALIST: John Barilaro has gone on 2GB this morning to say that Turnbull should quit as Prime Minister as a Christmas gift to Australians. What's your reaction to this?
JULIE BISHOP: I couldn't disagree more. Malcolm Turnbull is dealing with the challenges that everyday Australians are facing. He has called a Royal Commission into the banking sector to ensure that there's stability and certainty in our banking sector which affects every Australian who has a relationship with a bank or has a superannuation fund. He's dealing with the issue of affordable and reliable energy. He's dealt with the issue of same sex marriage. Malcolm Turnbull is leading our nation and doing a very good job.
JOURNALIST: Has anyone raised leadership concerns with you?
JULIE BISHOP: This is not an issue that we're focussing on. What we are looking at is how we can ensure there are more job opportunities for the Australian people. In the last few years we've seen thousands and thousands of jobs created and we want to continue to grow our economy through events such as G'Day USA and other initiatives to ensure that Australians have an opportunity for a job. That's what we're focussed on.
JOURNALIST: What are the problems in the superannuation industry that the Royal Commission is hoping to address?
JULIE BISHOP: Clearly an inquiry into the banking sector must include the whole financial sector, so it's banks, credit unions, insurance companies, superannuation funds and the like. We want to ensure that we are protecting the interests of all Australians and particularly those who have superannuation funds.
JOURNALIST: Isn't the inclusion of superannuation funds simply an attack on the unions and the Labor movement?
JULIE BISHOP: If the Labor movement is obeying the law it should have no concerns. This is an inquiry into the banking and financial sector and of course that would include superannuation funds.
JOURNALIST: How concerning is it that Donald Trump has been retweeting far-right extremist material and attacking the British Prime Minister over twitter?
JULIE BISHOP: I'm not going to run a commentary on President Trump's tweets. What I'm focussed on is the relationship between Australia and the United States. It is as strong as it's ever been, we work together in the economic sphere, trade and investment, security, defence, they're our closest strategic partner. The G'Day USA platform that we launched today is again a reminder of how close our two nations are and how deeply we value our connection with the United States.
JOURNALIST: What impact would a change in US Secretary of State have on the North Korea strategy?
JULIE BISHOP: These are unconfirmed reports. I have a very good, close working relationship with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson but this is a matter for the US Administration. Secretary Tillerson has gained a lot of respect in the region and of course he visited Australia with Secretary of Defense Mattis early in the Trump Administration's term. We have a very close relationship with the Secretary of State but I would expect to work closely with all members of the US Administration as we have been doing.
JOURNALIST: Would it be disappointing to see Rex Tillerson leave the White House?
JULIE BISHOP: I would be disappointed personally, I get along very well with him, but that's a matter for the United States and we work with whomever the Administration determines should hold these Cabinet positions. I know that Steve works very closely with his counterparts in the Trump Administration.
JOURNALIST: Back on Mr Barilaro's comments this morning, is it a bit rich for someone whose own Party is been having trouble in his electorate be making these sort of comments?
JULIE BISHOP: Well, he's not in our Party Room so his comments are irrelevant.
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