Transcript, E&OE

14 June 2018

JOURNALIST:             The Government is being heavily advised not to grant access to the Chinese company Huawei for the 5G network, does the Government have security concerns about that company? 

JULIE BISHOP:           No decision has been made, but when a decision is made it will be in Australia’s national interest. The Australian public would expect no less. We have put in place legislation that maintains our national security integrity and we will continue to act in the national interest in ensuring that we get access to high quality telecommunications.

JOURNALIST:             Could curbing Huawei on the 5G network further risk inflaming relations with Beijing?  

JULIE BISHOP:           This is purely speculation. We will make a decision based on advice and it will most certainly be in Australia’s national interest.

JOURNALIST:             Will the Australian Government offer any diplomatic explanation to Israel, Afghanistan, or any country for that fact, for its troops serving overseas flying the swastika on an Australian military vehicle?

JULIE BISHOP:           It was clearly unacceptable conduct. Immediate action was taken and those responsible were disciplined. If there was a need for us to take it further we most certainly would.

JOURNALIST:             Beyond being an embarrassment, does that conduct in Afghanistan point to any flaws in the culture of the special forces?

JULIE BISHOP:           I’m not aware of the circumstances surrounding the incident but I do know that immediate action was taken and that those responsible were disciplined.

JOURNALIST:             One more question, if I could on Huawei, assuming Optus will be allowed on the 5G network, what’s the difference between a Singapore state-owned telco operating in Australia and a Chinese one?

JULIE BISHOP:           I’m not going to speculate on a decision that is yet to be made. I can assure all Australians that we will make a decision that is in Australia’s national interest, that best serves the interests of the Australian people.

JOURNALIST:             Just on One Nation, please Foreign Minister, what do you say to Pauline Hanson? She broke down a couple of weeks ago. She’s going through this period. What advice can you give her? Do you feel sorry for Pauline Hanson?

JULIE BISHOP:           I wouldn’t presume to give another political leader advice about their own party but I would urge Senator Hanson to support the Government’s corporate tax cuts. This is a significant issue of importance to the growth of the Australian economy. Our businesses have to be competitive on the international stage. We trade our goods and services around the world. We seek foreign investment into our country so we can grow our economy and ensure that we have job opportunities for Australian people. We need to be competitive and we are not – our corporate tax rate, in some cases, is double of that of our competitors. I would urge her to act in the national interest and see that corporate tax cuts as proposed by the Government will in fact drive economic growth, more prosperity, more investment, more jobs.