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Transcript of press conference: Sydney: 31 August 2015: Private sector engagement in the aid program; air strikes in Syria; Cambodia refugee resettlement; the Treasurer; Dyson Heydon; Canning by-election

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Press conference - private sector engagement launch

Subjects: Private sector engagement in the aid program, air strikes in Syria, Cambodia refugee resettlement, the

Treasurer, Dyson Heydon, Canning by-election.

Transcript, E&OE


31 August 2015



Good morning. Thank you for being

here. I have just launched a Ministerial statement called


Shared Value through Partnership which reflects the Australian

Government's commitment to working in

partnership with the private sector

in the delivery of our foreign aid program. We know that the private

sector is

essential to driving economic growth and economic growth

is the key to lifting standards of living and lifting people

out of poverty in our region. So this partnership

between government, NGOs and the private sector will be part


what we call the new aid paradigm - a new and creative and

innovative way of ensuring more effective aid delivery

in our region.


So this is

essentially pushing the responsibility for the aid budget onto the

private sector?



Not at all. This is harnessing

the skills, the expertise, the understanding of supply chains, of the

delivery of goods and services in our region - with the

government. Our aid program will continue, but what we will

do is

leverage the skills and funding and resources of the private

sector with the Australian Government's

substantial commitment

so that we can get better outcomes. The private sector is already

doing a lot in the

development space. By partnering together we

can align our objectives and get better outcomes and so it's


win/win for government, for NGOs, for the private sector, but

most importantly for the developing countries and the

people within

those countries who have an opportunity to be lifted out

of poverty, to be living in a country with a

sustainable economy

rather than relying on hand-outs. And the fact is foreign aid is

dwarfed by foreign direct

investment, remittances and private

sector input and investment in countries. This is using our aid

budget in a

much smarter and more creative way.


Minister, why

should more European countries carry out air strikes against ISIL in

Iraq and Syria?



Over 40 per cent of the people

currently seeking asylum in Europe are from Syria and we need a

united front to defeat the terrorist organisations that are

driving the displacement of so many people. It's

absolutely essential that ISIL or Daesh, Al Nusrah and other

terrorist organisations are contained and then

defeated. They

are currently operating in Syria, in Iraq. They are

responsible for driving the majority of people out

of this region

and people are seeking asylum in Europe. So it's quite

obvious that we need to work together in a

global coalition to

defeat terrorism that is causing so much misery around the world.


Which countries in

particular do you think could play a larger role?



All countries that have an

interest in ensuring that people are not displaced and not persecuted

and not subject to war and conflict would of course be welcome

to join the Coalition. Already there are about 60

countries that

are providing support in one way or another to the US-led Coalition.

But there's more countries can

do in terms of supporting the air

strikes which are proving effective in stopping Da’esh from

claiming territory off

sovereign governments and from

inflicting so much barbaric violence on the populations.


Today's announcement

is about using foreign aid more efficiently and yet today we're


about Cambodia saying it's not going to take more than four

of the people who've been moved from Nauru and


government has spent $4 million on that. Is that now a

collapsing deal?



That is not correct. You are

relying on an alleged statement of one official. I had a very


meeting with Foreign Minister Hor Namhong in Kuala Lumpur

recently, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit.

We had a very

productive, constructive discussion about how Cambodia can continue

to work in partnership with

the Australian Government

and others. Cambodia is part of the Bali Process. Cambodia

is committed to a

regional solution and has committed through a

Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Government


resettle some asylum seekers who are found to be

genuine refugees. Cambodia is an aspiring country, it wishes


increase its GDP, it wishes to harness the skills of foreign workers

and in this way they can resettle people into

Cambodia and help boost

their GDP.


And yet the human

rights organisations say that the human rights there are

being trammelled and

that we shouldn't be supporting it?



Human rights organisations are

very quick to continue to condemn countries for their past.


is determined to put its past behind it, and to build its capacity to

be a developed country and just as

other countries in South

East Asia have gone from developing to developed countries, and

they can be very

difficult and painful journeys, so Cambodia and

other countries wish to become a developed country and we

should give them

every support.


How fast do you

think Cambodians will take on asylum seekers?



Obviously Cambodia is determined

to ensure that the people they do take are integrated well into

their society, into their communities and so that's what they

have done with the first four but we're working closely

with them. As I said I had a very productive meeting with the Foreign

Minister in Kuala Lumpur recently.


Joe Hockey still

seems to be a drag on the Government. Is it time to cut him loose?



I think that instead of

criticising Joe Hockey, people should recognise the enormous task he


in repairing the Budget that was so trashed by Labor in its

six years in office. Labor inherited in 2007 the very best


of national financial accounts of any incoming government and yet Joe

Hockey as Treasurer inherited from

Labor the very worst -

record debt, record deficits. Not only does Joe have to deal

with repairing the Budget, we're

also dealing with

irresponsible Labor senators who are refusing to pass measures in the

Senate, including their

own savings that they had identified. So Labor

should try and be part of the solution, accept the responsibility


comes with having trashed the Budget and work with Joe Hockey

and with the government to find solutions.


How would you

rate his performance out of 10?



That's a ridiculous question. I

don't go around rating performances of journalists, I don't rate

performances of actors. I'm not going to rate performances of my Cabinet

colleagues. That's nonsense.


Is an early

federal election being considered for March next year?



I don't believe so.



you've been very successful with the first roll-out in this

aid program. I just spoke with

Westpac and for an initial investment

of $500,000 it's obviously providing dividends in aid support and for

Westpac now as a commercial prospect. Do you think that's the

model you will use around the Asia Pacific to roll

out a new

form of aid that is commercially viable and should

other countries follow suit?



Well, that's a matter for

other countries. We work closely with aid agencies and


around the world to ensure that we get the most effective

and the most innovative ways of achieving development


We've had some

very successful partnerships - with Westpac, with ANZ, with Carnival

Cruises and with other

companies who are operating in the areas where

we deliver aid, and together we've been able to maximise


efforts to deliver better outcomes for the people in those

countries. So the Westpac example is a great one where

we have helped

Westpac with its financial literacy operations. Westpac are bringing

more people into the banking

system - about 80 per cent of the Pacific

are not involved in the formal banking system, they've never had

a bank

account or credit or been able to borrow or expand businesses

on loans. So in this way, working with financial

institutions such as

Westpac, we're able to introduce a whole new level of economic

activity that will underpin

economic growth in these countries.


Who would you

like to see replace Dyson Heydon if he stands down as Royal

Commissioner this




Those leading the charge against

Dyson Heydon have one motivation and that is to protect union

officials who are guilty of corrupt behaviour at the expense of the

honest union members they were meant to be

representing. Those who

are leading the charge against Dyson Heydon are determined to stop

an investigation

into systemic corruption and bad behaviour on the

part of corrupt union bosses. The work of the Royal

Commission must

go on already about 26 union bosses have been referred

for further investigation and

prosecution. So the work is designed

to support honest union workers who've had their interests and their


ripped off by corrupt union bosses and no amount

of posturing on the part of Labor should prevent this


work continuing.



Jeremy Stoljar have a case to answer as unions claim for

withholding correspondence he

had with Dyson Heydon?



I take no notice of the unions'

protestations in this regard. It's quite obvious that their sole

motivation is to derail an investigation into corrupt, illegal union behaviour.

And Labor can express all the outrage

they like, but until such time

as they focus on cleaning up the union movement from

the activities of corrupt union

bosses they have no

credibility on this subject at all.


You earlier gave

a good example of Coke in the distribution link. Would you be able to

repeat that?



What I was saying is that by

harnessing the skills and expertise of the private sector, we may


be able to get much more effective and efficient delivery

of fundamentals like pharmaceuticals into the more

remote areas

of the Pacific, including in Papua New Guinea. Already I gave

that example and one of the

companies operating in PNG has come

up to me and said that they take half empty trucks up into the remote

areas of PNG and they would be able to work with us and with the

PNG Government to deliver basic supplies into

these regions.

So it's this idea of partnering with the private sector who are

able to do things very effectively.

Government doesn't have all the

answers, the private sector doesn't have all the answers but together

we can

come up with solutions that work.


Should Scott Morrison

take over as Treasurer if there is a swing against the Government

in the

Canning by-election?



These are all hypotheticals.

I'm working very hard with our outstanding candidate in Canning,

Andrew Hastie, and I believe that the people of Canning will see in

him the kind of representative that will best

serve their interests.

He has the character, the calibre of personality, he has

the temperament, he has the life

experience to make him

an outstanding representative for the people of Canning.



that something being discussed by Cabinet Ministers?



No. Winning in Canning? Yes the

Canning matter is discussed in Cabinet. But is that what you

were referring to?


No I'm

talking about the possibility of Scott Morrison ...



Of course not.

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