Interview with David Koch, Sunrise 2016 Australian Olympic Team Welcome Home Ceremony, Sydney

24 Aug 2016
Prime Minister

DAVID KOCH: Prime Minister, thanks for joining us.

PRIME MINISTER: Thank you, it is great to be here.

DAVID KOCH: Did you fall in love with the Olympics over the last two weeks and how do you think we went?

PRIME MINISTER: I think we went well. I know there has been a bit of criticism and complaints that we could have done better but can I say today, we should just be filled with joy and congratulations for our team. They’re all champions, every single one of them and we should just be filled with pride at how well they swam, ran, cycled, rowed, sailed. Every sport that they participated in they gave their utmost, you know I think we should be proud of every single one of them.

DAVID KOCH: Hear hear - I could not agree more. A lot of people are grumpy about this though saying: “oh it’s a waste of money.” But when you look at the expectations and the joy, the inspiration they give to young Australians - Little Athletics registrations will go through the roof, swimming regos will go through the roof over the next couple of weeks. Do we need to in fact give them more funding to keep up with the leading nations?

PRIME MINISTER: Well there’s always a debate about that and obviously resources are scarce. We’ve invested, the Government has invested around half a billion dollars in the lead-up to Rio so there is a very substantial level of Government support and of course private sponsorship. I know the Seven Network is a great supporter, QANTAS here at the airport is obviously a great supporter as well. But you know it continues to inspire.

DAVID KOCH: Absolutely.

PRIME MINISTER: I mean when Tom Burton won that gold medal in the laser, with that very brilliant tactical manoeuvre, every little boy and girl laser sailor in Australia will be wanting to emulate that.


PRIME MINISTER: Every single one. Every swimmer will want to be swimming like Mack Horton and Kyle Chalmers. And you know - the women’s relay - I mean it inspires so many young people. It is a great example and of course then the gold medals – or the medals of any description – that are unexpected, that people aren’t expecting, Chloe Esposito, what an extraordinary that is.

DAVID KOCH: And you can’t put a value on that inspiration, we talk about childhood obesity, we talk about wanting out kids to get out there - there is no better way to do it than being inspired Olympians who succeed. And that is the benefit to the country, isn't it?

PRIME MINISTER: I believe it is. I think it is more important than ever that we get our young people, our kids to become active. You know, we’ve had an enormous public health win - we are still winning it, against smoking. The next big challenge is obesity and obviously where do you start? You start in childhood obesity. Eating right is critically important, but exercise is important too. That is why our Sports Minister is also our Health Minister, Sussan Ley and she is here today with Lucy and me and all of us here to welcome the athletes’ home.

DAVID KOCH: I’ve got to say, you have been inspired by the Olympians. You may need that Olympic spirit as you go back to Parliament next week. You have got a real mob there to try and control.

PRIME MINISTER: You need a lot of dexterity. I was just with, Lucy and I were just talking to Jessica Fox, you know who won bronze in the canoe slalom and getting around all of those poles.

DAVID KOCH: Just like politics.

PRIME MINISTER: She said that one of the keys is using your core and I think that is important too.

DAVID KOCH: And a big paddle, a big stick.

PRIME MINISTER: That’s right – a big paddle. [Laughter]

DAVID KOCH: While we have got you, the news out today - the French submarine manufacturer and the leak coming out about the subs they are building for India, does that concern you? Considering they are going to be building our submarines?

PRIME MINISTER: All leaks of classified information like that are of concern. I will make a couple of points. The submarine that they are building for India is not the submarine we will be building for Australia. It is a completely different model. It is a different submarine. The information is some years old now. So, the submarine that we will be building with the French is called the ‘barracuda.’ It is a completely different submarine to the ‘scorpion’ they are building for India. We have the highest security protections on all of our defence information, whether it is in partnership with other countries or entirely within Australia, but clearly it is a reminder that, particularly in this digital world, cyber security is of critical importance. That is why we have recently announced a comprehensive cyber security strategy. I have a cyber security adviser. We are totally focused on maintaining it. But it is getting tougher than ever before.

DAVID KOCH: And the Bureau of Statistics comes under that as well? Cyber security?

PRIME MINISTER: I can tell you the Signals Directorate, who I believe are the best in the world, were very very critical in sorting out that failure and fixing it.

DAVID KOCH: Prime minister, you have to go. Give them a big hug for us.


DAVID KOCH: And see you soon.

PRIME MINISTER: And well done to the Seven Network – you know - I'll give you a little plug - you can watch all of these events again and again and again because you have got them all on your site and your YouTube channel.

DAVID KOCH: Perfect.

PRIME MINISTER: So you can continue to watch the Olympics indefinitely.

DAVID KOCH: And you can be our Channel Seven ambassador. And I can declare, Sam, we have no commercial agreement with the Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER: That is true.

DAVID KOCH: Thanks a lot.


SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE: Thank you, Mr Turnbull.