CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: The election shows that the elite in the left have not taken into account the community and most importantly the silent majority. The silent majority in America has definitely had its say. Can I also say that as Minister for International Development and the Pacific, our relationship with the United States is a long standing one, it is one that has strong economic grounds and strategic grounds, and people-to-people links, and I have no doubt that the strength of that relationship will stand us in very, very good stead with the work that we will now do with the Trump Administration.
REPORTER: What do you think the implications are though, of our alliance with the Pacific Nations area if Trump does follow through on some [inaudible] and even some of the things he said about Asian Nations and China, what do you think the implications are for our relationship with Pacific Nations if that happens?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: The relationship with the United States is a very strong one; it is one of our strongest relationships. Of course the United States has interests, they have interests in the Indo-Pacific area, and I am sure that once the realities of the situation and realities of different relationships do come to the fore, I have no doubts that the United States will continue its engagement most especially in the Indo-Pacific, where of course the United States has direct interests.
REPORTER: Minister you have a special responsibility for the relations with Pacific Island countries are on the front line of climate change, do you think that nations such as Tuvalu and Kiribati who are dealing with that day-in-day-out will be disappointed that the US has elected a president who does not believe in climate change and is not taking those risks seriously?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: The reality is that disasters will continue to happen in the Pacific area; this is one of the most disaster-prone areas on earth. And so the work we are doing most especially with the Green Climate Fund is to encourage support for Pacific countries through different funding arrangements to undertake climate smart projects. Irrespective of what people’s views may be of the causes, the reality is that there will be another cyclone, there will be another storm that will come along, so it is really important that we address climate smart projects, whether they be water management, whether they be in sanitation, whether they be in building that better as we are doing in the Pacific. The reality is that we will continue this work. We are very committed to this work and our work is very much one to ensure that we build back better; that we build resilience in Pacific countries.
REPORTER: But obviously Trump’s election has implications for the Paris Agreement.
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Well there are a number of mechanisms that are in place, obviously we have both financial and multi-lateral relationships that support the countries of the Pacific in dealing with disaster management and building resilience in the Pacific and as I said irrespective of what the news may be in relation to causes or otherwise, the reality is that we are assisting countries and will continue to assist countries in the Pacific to build their resilience so that when the next cyclone comes along they will be better placed to deal with that.
REPORTER: To what extent do you think that Hillary Clinton’s loss is a setback for women trying to break through the glass ceiling?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: The reality is that the American people have spoken and I’d like to think that anyone standing for office stands for office on their merits. That has been strongly my view. I think that the fact that Hillary Clinton would have been the first female president of the United States, of course that would have been a good thing, but the reality is that the American public have elected Mr. Trump for a series of reasons and I think that in the end we will work with the administration that comes in, as I have said our relationship is a very strong one. We would have worked with President Clinton, just like we will work with President Trump.
REPORTER: The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are working on a White Paper strategy for Australia’s foreign policy at the moment, how will Trump’s election influence our strategic policy outlook going forward?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: We have been working over a considerable period of time in preparation for either a Clinton administration or a Trump administration. The Department of Foreign Affairs’ Minister Bishop has indicated she has been working for a considerable period of time, so for us we welcome the process now being completed. We welcome now President-elect Trump’s comments about working, and working with allies. Australia has been a strong ally of the United States. Ours is a long-standing one and I am sure that any White Paper would reflect the strength of that relationship.
REPORTER: What does his election mean for the South China Sea Dispute?
CONCETTA FIERRAVANTI-WELLS: Well I will leave commentary in relation to that to Minister Bishop. Suffice to say that we have encouraged and will continue to encourage the parties to that dispute to resolve their differences. Thank you
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