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Transcript of doorstop interview of the Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Foreign Affairs and International Security Minister : Mascot Airport, Sydney: 13 December 2004: Delegation to China; budget cuts; China FTA; International Atomic Energy , Ukraine elections; North Korea. \n



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Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer

Kevin Rudd MP Shadow Foreign Minister

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, MASCOT AIRPORT SYDNEY E & OE - PROOF ONLY

SUBJECT: DELEGATION TO CHINA, BUDGET CUTS, CHINA FTA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, UKRAINE ELECTIONS, NORTH KOREA

RUDD: Well Wayne Swan, the Shadow Treasurer and I are travelling to China today and we’ll be there for about a week. Part of our reason for going is because China looms for Australia not just as a dynamic economy but one that will be critical to Australia’s economic future in the year and the years ahead. In China we hope to have discussions with a range of senior Chinese officials both about their plans for the future economy but also where China sees its foreign policy evolving in the year ahead as well.

Over the weekend we have witnessed the Taiwanese legislative elections. That has an impact on the way China views its future relations with Taiwan as well.

We look forward to discussions with provincial and central government officials on these questions. So, given that event I will also be having discussions with Central government officials on foreign policy questions as well as Wayne’s natural interest in the economy.

SWAN: Well the budget cuts in the papers this morning are the price that the Australian public are going to have to pay for Peter Costello’s $66 billion spending spree. We heard nothing about these cuts during the election campaign yet now there is speculation about cuts to families, health and education.

I think one thing you can say about the Howard government is that they give with one hand before the election and they take even more back with the other after the election.

We’ll also be looking on this trip at Australia’s very poor export performance - thirty six trade deficits in a row, the worst since World War 2. This trip will be an opportunity to look at Australia’s export performance and look at ways that we can improve the economy in this country, not just for today, but for tomorrow.

JOURNALIST: How important is the free trade agreement with China?

SWAN: Well we’ll be looking at all of the issues involved in a free trade agreement but our colleague Simon Crean is following this issue closely. There’s a scoping agreement coming up that the government is developing and we will examine the results of that early next year.

13 December 2004

RUDD: Simon also intends himself to travel to China early in the new year, specifically for discussions with his Chinese counterparts on this question, but as Wayne has just indicated, the scoping study which is due in March will be an important stepping stone in our deliberations on the FTA for Australia as well.

..1/3

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd, would Alexander Downer make a good head of the IAEA?

RUDD: I think the big challenge is to work out what is wrong with the current head of the IAEA. I haven’t heard anyone so far say that Mohammed ElBaradei has performed badly in that function. If it is the Howard governments view that the current head of the IAEA is not doing his job then I think they should tell Australia and tell the world why and give evidence of that.

I suppose the other question is about the matter of weapons of mass destruction. I thought the current head of the IAEA, not to mention Hans Blix, had a pretty good record when it comes to WMD unlike others who seem to suggest that WMD existed in huge stockpiles which turned out not to be the case.

JOURNALIST: Are you concerned by the reports that Mr ElBaradei is being bugged by the Americans?

RUDD: I don’t comment on intelligence related matters but I simply say this: if the Howard government is of the view that the current head of the IAEA isn’t up to the job then they’ve got a responsibility to tell the Australian people and the international community why that is the case, what it’s done wrong and what Mr Downer would offer better.

Also, just on that question, remember the head of the IAEA and the head of the weapons inspection mission to the UN, Hans Blix, expressed skepticism all along about stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, unlike Mr Downer, unlike Mr Howard.

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd what are the implications of.. (inaudible)?

RUDD: This is a most disturbing development. If corroborated I

think it has profound implications in international community views of the way in which the democratic process has been conducted in the Ukraine. A week or so ago I spoke with the Office of the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, on this matter. I know the European Union is viewing developments in the Ukraine with great concern. This most

recent development causes all friends of democracy around the world to view with grave concern these recent developments in the Ukraine.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)?

RUDD: Well, each time I go to China I have discussions with our

friends in Beijing about cross strait relations. Let’s be very clear. If cross straits relations were ever to go really bad, and if it were ever to go really wrong, the implications for the region and the world strategically and economically, would be huge.

Cross straits relations are a big concern in Beijing, they’re a big concern in Taipei, they’re a big concern in Washington and they should be a big concern in Canberra. This most recent development in terms of the Taiwanese legislative elections will of course be something that we’ll be discussing in Beijing with our Chinese counterparts. It’s an important matter for Australia’s future both strategically and economically.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)?

..2/3

RUDD: Well North Korea remains still a time bomb as far as regional stability is concerned. We still don’t have final confirmation yet of the resumption of the fixed party talks process that the Chinese have been hosting. I would hope in our meetings with Chinese foreign ministry officials in Beijing to provide absolute Australian support on both sides of politics in this country for the rapid resumption of the diplomatic negotiation process with Pyongyang so we have a peaceful solution in the Korean Peninsula. The alternative is too horrible to think about.

Thanks very much.

ENDS Mon 13 Dec 04

Contact Matt Linden: 0407 430613 Alister Jordan: 0417 605 823

Wayne Swan MP Federal Labor Shadow Treasurer

Kevin Rudd MP Shadow Foreign Minister

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW, MASCOT AIRPORT SYDNEY E & OE - PROOF ONLY

SUBJECT: DELEGATION TO CHINA, BUDGET CUTS, CHINA FTA, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, UKRAINE ELECTIONS, NORTH KOREA

RUDD: Well Wayne Swan, the Shadow Treasurer and I are travelling to China today and we’ll be there for about a week. Part of our reason for going is because China looms for Australia not just as a dynamic economy but one that will be critical to Australia’s economic future in the year and the years ahead. In China we hope to have discussions with a range of senior Chinese officials both about their plans for the future economy but also where China sees its foreign policy evolving in the year ahead as well.

Over the weekend we have witnessed the Taiwanese legislative elections. That has an impact on the way China views its future relations with Taiwan as well.

We look forward to discussions with provincial and central government officials on these questions. So, given that event I will also be having discussions with Central government officials on foreign policy questions as well as Wayne’s natural interest in the economy.

SWAN: Well the budget cuts in the papers this morning are the price that the Australian public are going to have to pay for Peter Costello’s $66 billion spending spree. We heard nothing about these cuts during the election campaign yet now there is speculation about cuts to families, health and education.

I think one thing you can say about the Howard government is that they give with one hand before the election and they take even more back with the other after the election.

We’ll also be looking on this trip at Australia’s very poor export performance - thirty six trade deficits in a row, the worst since World War 2. This trip will be an opportunity to

look at Australia’s export performance and look at ways that we can improve the economy in this country, not just for today, but for tomorrow.

JOURNALIST: How important is the free trade agreement with China?

SWAN: Well we’ll be looking at all of the issues involved in a free trade agreement but our colleague Simon Crean is following this issue closely. There’s a scoping agreement coming up that the government is developing and we will examine the results of that early next year.

RUDD: Simon also intends himself to travel to China early in the new year, specifically for discussions with his Chinese counterparts on this question, but as Wayne has just indicated, the scoping study which is due in March will be an important stepping stone in our deliberations on the FTA for Australia as well.

..1/3

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd, would Alexander Downer make a good head of the IAEA?

RUDD: I think the big challenge is to work out what is wrong with the current head of the IAEA. I haven’t heard anyone so far say that Mohammed ElBaradei has performed badly in that function. If it is the Howard governments view that the current head of the IAEA is not doing his job then I think they should tell Australia and tell the world why and give evidence of that.

I suppose the other question is about the matter of weapons of mass destruction. I thought the current head of the IAEA, not to mention Hans Blix, had a pretty good record when it comes to WMD unlike others who seem to suggest that WMD existed in huge stockpiles which turned out not to be the case.

JOURNALIST: Are you concerned by the reports that Mr ElBaradei is being bugged by the Americans?

RUDD: I don’t comment on intelligence related matters but I simply say this: if the Howard government is of the view that the current head of the IAEA isn’t up to the job then they’ve got a responsibility to tell the Australian people and the international community why that is the case, what it’s done wrong and what Mr Downer would offer better.

Also, just on that question, remember the head of the IAEA and the head of the weapons inspection mission to the UN, Hans Blix, expressed skepticism all along about stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, unlike Mr Downer, unlike Mr Howard.

JOURNALIST: Mr Rudd what are the implications of.. (inaudible)?

RUDD: This is a most disturbing development. If corroborated I

think it has profound implications in international community views of the way in which

the democratic process has been conducted in the Ukraine. A week or so ago I spoke with the Office of the British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, on this matter. I know the European Union is viewing developments in the Ukraine with great concern. This most recent development causes all friends of democracy around the world to view with grave

concern these recent developments in the Ukraine.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)?

RUDD: Well, each time I go to China I have discussions with our

friends in Beijing about cross strait relations. Let’s be very clear. If cross straits relations were ever to go really bad, and if it were ever to go really wrong, the implications for the region and the world strategically and economically, would be huge.

Cross straits relations are a big concern in Beijing, they’re a big concern in Taipei, they’re a big concern in Washington and they should be a big concern in Canberra. This most recent development in terms of the Taiwanese legislative elections will of course be something that we’ll be discussing in Beijing with our Chinese counterparts. It’s an important matter for Australia’s future both strategically and economically.

JOURNALIST: (Inaudible)?

..2/3

RUDD: Well North Korea remains still a time bomb as far as regional stability is concerned. We still don’t have final confirmation yet of the resumption of the fixed party talks process that the Chinese have been hosting. I would hope in our meetings with Chinese foreign ministry officials in Beijing to provide absolute Australian support on both sides of politics in this country for the rapid resumption of the diplomatic negotiation process with Pyongyang so we have a peaceful solution in the Korean Peninsula. The alternative is too horrible to think about.

Thanks very much.

ENDS Mon 13 Dec 04

Contact Matt Linden: 0407 430613 Alister Jordan: 0417 605 823

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