Sarah Henderson: Good morning everyone. I’m here this morning with Marise Payne, Australia’s Foreign Minister and also Justin Giddings, CEO of Avalon Airport, and we are incredibly proud that we are here for the opening of the new international terminal, Victoria’s second international airport. This is an absolute game changer, backed by $20 million from the Morrison Government. We announced the money in this year’s Budget, the sod was turned three days later and now of course we have a new international terminal. So we are so proud of what we are doing for the local economy, for the visitor economy and this is one more way that the Morrison Government is growing a strong economy, driving jobs, driving investment and driving confidence. And we are brimming with investment and we are brimming with confidence in this region and Marise thank you so much for being here to do the honours and to open this international terminal. This is fantastic for Australia’s reputation and obviously fantastic in terms the opportunity [indistinct].
Minister Payne: Absolutely. Great to be here this morning with Sarah Henderson and Justin Giddings here at the new Avalon International Airport terminal. It is always a pleasure to be able to reinforce the message of this Government of the importance to regional Australia but also to the economy that relies on these sorts of developments. And for the visitor economy here and the small-to-medium sized enterprises that rely on tourism in particular, but also on the freight and cargo business this is seriously, to use Sarah’s words again, a game changer. It’s an enormous opportunity for the region. We all know how fabulous the region is. I’m an old Geelong Cats supporter from way back so it doesn’t take much to get me to come here and it is a great pleasure and a great honour to be here this morning. And I like to ask Justin to say a couple of words about this official event.
Justin Giddings: Thanks very much, Senator. I just wanted to quickly pay tribute to Sarah and the amount of work that has gone on. It is easy to say that, but people just don’t really understand how much we spend talking about trying to get this through. It was very, very complicated. I mean we were with the Immigration Minister probably a year ago, talking to Minister Dutton about we can get this all through and it was really complicated. And to get this through, in this way, in this time frame - it was the first second airport for a capital city in Australia and it’s a really complicated thing. Honestly we would have a conversation probably everyday about this. So I really just do just thank you, Sarah. I know it has been hard and you have been outstanding, so thank you. We really, really do appreciate it, so thank you.
Minister Payne: Great to be here. Happy to answer a couple of questions.
Question: What are your thoughts on the potential outcome from the meeting of President Trump and President Xi?
Minister Payne: Well I think the G20 outcomes are very positive. I think the statement which has been agreed by leaders is an important one. It recognises the vital, vital importance of international trade. It also acknowledges the need for reform around the WTO. I’m very pleased that the Prime Minister and President were able to meet. It of course follows a very productive meeting with Vice President Pence during the APEC period and reinforces the depth and the strength of a century old alliance between Australia and the United States.
Question: Will they be able to sort out the trade issues?
Minister Payne: They?
Question: China and America.
Minister Payne: Well I think what you will see out of these meetings is the more engagement you have, the more communication you have the easier it is - easier is a relative term, I understand that - the easier it is for that communication to contribute to better understanding and to better engagement on the issues.
We have encouraged them to communicate, encouraged them to talk. I know there have been good discussion in recent times and we look forward to productive outcomes.
Question: Labor says it is willing to pass the encryption Bill to target terrorists and child sex criminals. Is the Government open to splitting the Bill, passing that which Labor can agree to and then arguing the remainder when the parliament returns next year?
Minister Payne: Well I understand that the Bill in its current form is the Bill which was strongly endorsed by our intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities in their discussions on the legislation itself. I think it would be very disappointing if the Labor Party chose not to support this important national security legislation and not to support the agencies in what they’ve asked for. It is about making sure that they are properly equipped to address the challenges posed in the current climate around technology, around encryption in this case, and they have been very clear about what they need to do that and that is incorporated in this Bill. So we would urge the Labor Party to act responsibility in relation to national security and to support this legislation.
Question: So you wouldn't consider splitting it?
Minister Payne: Well that is a matter for the Government but the bill is before the committee as it stands and it is something we would expect Labor, in the interests of national security, based on the advice - the strong advice - from intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities, to support the legislation.
Question: Would the Government prefer to see Julia Banks out of parliament rather than sitting on the cross bench?
Minister Payne: Well, we of course welcome all members’ participation in the parliamentary process and we look forward to continuing to work with them all.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555