JULIE BISHOP: Fidel Castro was a significant but controversial figure of the 20th century. Many in Cuba will mourn his passing, indeed they are having a period of mourning. However his antagonism toward the West and the United States in particular did cause hardship to the people of Cuba for decades but we did welcome the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba in recent years.
JOURNALIST: Last week of Parliament this week, what are you expecting?
JULIE BISHOP: Well I’m hoping that we’ll be able to pass the ABCC legislation this week. This is a vital part of industrial law and we certainly need a tough cop on the beat, a regulator, given the high degree of lawlessness on building and construction sites across Australia. This is an absolutely essential piece of legislation for economic growth and productivity.
JOURNALIST: What does it mean for the government if it doesn’t get through?
JULIE BISHOP: Well it reflects badly on the Labor Party – they’ve already been shamed in relation to their failure to pass the Registered Organisations Act. All we were asking was for union officials to be subjected to the same standard as company directors. In the face of hundreds of claims of lawless behaviour on the part of union officials – Labor stood in the way. So we know they put the Labor interests and the union interests before the people of Australia, but perhaps, just once, they could pass the ABCC in the interests of economic growth and jobs in Australia.
JOURNALIST: Backpacker tax is obviously going to be another big one this week. 15% is what we’re hearing – is that your understanding?
JULIE BISHOP: I’m not taking part in the negotiations. That’s a matter you’ll have to raise with the Treasurer.
JOURNALIST: Tony Abbott this morning on television has been saying that we should see a return to some of the measures in the 2014 Budget to bring us up to stead and get us out of further debt. What do you say to that?
JULIE BISHOP: We have to pass measures through the Senate and there were measures that were not passed from the 2014 Budget so we’re dealing with realities in the practical negotiations that have to take place with the new Senate, post the last election and we’ll do what we can to ensure that economic growth and job opportunities is at the centre of all that we do as a Government.
JOURNALIST: Is it time for Tony to come back to the front bench?
JULIE BISHOP: There’s no vacancy.