Topics: Australia – China relationship; Disrespectful Greens; US recession;

Journalist: Could we just have your comments on Penny Wong meeting with Wang Yi today?


Simon Birmingham:  I welcome the fact that the government has been clear that Australia’s national and strategic interests haven’t changed with a change of government. And that means the Government should be holding firm in relation to the clear policies and positions that Australia has taken over recent years. But I do also welcome China being willing to come to the table and have dialogue. It was counter-productive for China to refuse to have dialogue with Australia at ministerial level previously and it is welcome if China is now willing to have that dialogue.


Journalist: Is the new government changing the tone of the relationship with China and is that a good thing?


Simon Birmingham: Well, look, I’ll let others assess questions of tone. What matters are questions of substance. New government has been clear that Australia’s strategic and national interests have not changed. They’ve stated that publicly. I understand they’re reinforcing that to China. That’s welcome. There have always been areas of mutual benefit that we should be able to work together with China on. We’ve done that in the past. We should be able to do that in the future.


Journalist: Are the U.S President’s comments on Taiwan reckless, in the past few days?


Simon Birmingham: Australia and the US have been crystal clear, along with many other nations for a long time, that we strongly oppose any unilateral change to the status quo in relation to Taiwan. Joe Biden responded to hypotheticals in relation to what could occur if there were such a change. I acknowledge those remarks of course, where Australia would engage with the US and other partners were such situations to unfold, but they are hypothetical scenarios.


Journalist: We’ve heard the Greens carrying on about how King Charles is not their king and attending protests and stuff. What do you say about that?


Simon Birmingham: The there are many well-meaning Australians who voted for the Greens, but the complete disregard and disrespect the Greens show should be a message to those Australians. Don’t flirt with the radicals.


Journalist: This is the former finance minister with the situation in the US. There are fears it could head into a recession. What do you think that could mean for Australia and is there anything that could be done here to prevent heading down that path?


Simon Birmingham: The Coalition Government left Australia’s economy in a very strong position with historic low unemployment, with a strong budget position relative to the rest of the world. It’s now for the new government to make sure the strength they inherited is maintained through these rocky times. Thanks, guys.