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Transcript of interview with Lisa Wilkinson: Channel 9 Today Show: New York: 29 July 2015: [MH17]

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Channel 9 Today Show, New York - interview with Lisa


Transcript, E&OE

29 July 2015


Well, it is one of the biggest diplomatic challenges of her career. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

has arrived at the United Nations in New York. Her mission: to convince Russia and the world to support an

independent tribunal to prosecute those responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. 39

Australians were among those who died in the tragedy. And Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins us now.

Good morning to you Foreign Minister. Can you tell us what you are hoping to achieve with this Tribunal?


Good morning Lisa. I am in New York to shore up support amongst the nations that make up the

Security Council, 15 members at present - the permanent five and 10 temporary members - to pass a resolution

tomorrow, New York time, to establish an ad hoc independent criminal Tribunal to hold to account those

responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17.

There have been investigations underway for 12 months now and Australia has been part of a five nation

taskforce that has been carrying out the criminal investigations. That team will conclude their work shortly and we

believe that a prosecuting authority needs to be established to receive the findings of that investigation and to

pursue those responsible for the downing of MH17. We think the Security Council should establish the Tribunal so

that it is seen to have international backing and is the most impartial and independent Tribunal that we believe can

be established.

I have had about a dozen meetings today and I will continue to meet with representatives of the member nations.

There is a lot of support, a majority of support, but still any one of the permanent five has the power of veto. So it

doesn't matter whether I get all but one, if that one nation vetoes then we can't set up the Tribunal.


Foreign Minister you have been incredibly strong on this ever since it happened. The trouble is

Russia has already indicated it will veto this move. What can you do to change their mind?


I met with the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations today. I spent about an hour with him.

We had a very frank discussion. I put forward our arguments as to why the families of those on board MH17

deserve justice. We owed them nothing less than a tribunal to consider criminal investigations into the downing of

MH17. I countered every argument that he put forward as to why a tribunal should not be set up and should not be

backed by the Security Council. I asked him to seek instructions from Moscow to not use the veto because we

have, I believe, a majority of support. 17 nations, including a number on the Security Council, have agreed to co-

sponsor this resolution. So there is significant support for it and there is significant support amongst the Security

Council members and I don’t believe the veto should be used to deny justice to the families of those on board



What sort of reaction did you get? Because really the sticking point is Vladimir Putin isn't it?


At this point, that's right. No other country has indicated that it would use the veto of the five who

have the power to veto. No other country has indicated that it would use the veto. Russia has said it would but I

have not given up advocating our position. Malaysia is going to table the resolution tomorrow. Australia will speak

to the resolution but we won't be able to do that because we are not on the Security Council until after the vote is

taken. So it is very important for me to be meeting with all of the representative countries today and tomorrow to

shore up support for our resolution.


Well we wish you all strength on that. Let's go to domestic matters now - yet more revelations

this morning of Bronwyn Bishop being caught up charging taxpayers to attend weddings. Minister, as Speaker,

Bronwyn Bishop is meant to be the keeper of parliamentary standards but her sense of entitlement calls into

question her ability to do that and is really offending a lot of taxpayers. With Parliament back in just over a week,

is it time for her to resign?


Lisa, I understand that the Department of Finance has been asked to investigate a number of

these claims for travel allowance and it is doing that. I believe it is appropriate that the Department of Finance be

allowed to conduct that investigation and that Speaker Bishop respond to any inquiries or queries that the

Department of Finance has and then we can determine whether the claims were within entitlements or not. Every

Member has a responsibility to abide by the guidelines. Every Member has to account for the travel claims that

they make and in this instance I understand the Department of Finance is investigating it. Indeed Speaker Bishop

has referred a couple of instances to the Department of Finance herself. So I would like to see the outcome of that



But if that investigation is still going on when Parliament resumes is it appropriate that she sits

there as Speaker of the house? It is already a rabble in Parliament. It is only going to get worse.


I understand that the Labor Party will seek to use this to destabilise Question Time for example.

I'm sure Speaker Bishop will take that it into account as she considers her position, but I believe it is important

that the Department of Finance be able to carry out an investigation. That's what happened in the past and that

should happen in this case.


I think a lot of people would agree with you about that investigation. Finally, Christopher Pyne

said this week that there aren’t enough women in Parliament but your colleague Liberal MP Sharman Stone says

the current system in the Liberal Party makes it too difficult for women. Does the LNP need to introduce quotas

because it certainly seems to have worked in the Labor Party if their male/female ration is any indication.


Well I would actually disagree that it has worked in the Labor Party. The Labor Party introduced

an affirmative action initiative but in instances where a woman should have got the seat I can think of a number of

examples where a male former union boss came in and took the seat. So a quota is no protection against former

union male bosses claiming a seat and we have plenty of evidence of that.

I think it is important for all political parties to seek to attract to attract a diverse range of people to enter public

office. The Liberal Party has attracted a number of women to what we would call "strong Liberal seats in the past"

and women have successfully won those seats and held those seats. We have pre-selected women for marginal

seats, in a number of notable examples they have retained those seats successfully. I think all parties can do

more to attract a more diverse range, including more women.

I don't believe a quota of 30 per cent or something like that reflects what we should be aiming for. We should be

looking to represent the community. Why not 50 per cent?

I'm very mindful of the fact that we need to attract greater diversity and I, in my own role as Deputy Leader of the

Liberal Party, encourage women to stand for public office. I seek to mentor women who are already in the

Parliament. I talk to women about local councils, about state government representation, about federal

representation. So I think men and women parliamentarians need to do more to mentor women and more diverse

actors into public life.


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, we know you have a busy time there in New York and we do

thank you very much for your time this morning.


Thank you Lisa.

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