6PR Mornings, Perth - Interview with Gareth Parker
JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Gareth.
JOURNALIST: Minister, what do we know at this point?
JULIE BISHOP: We understand that in this horrific massacre in Las Vegas at least 59 people have been killed and somewhere between 515 or perhaps up to 527 people have been injured. I'm deeply shocked by this horrific massacre and I extend our sympathies to the families of the victims and our thoughts are with those injured and with the American people for this is the deadliest mass shooting in US history and I fear that the death toll may be even higher.
JOURNALIST: There were earlier reports that the shooter had an Australian partner, girlfriend, Marilou Danley. However it does seem that since those earlier reports the Las Vegas police have ruled out any involvement from her, that she was actually out of the country. Can you tell us anything about that?
JULIE BISHOP: Well first I can confirm that at this stage there are no reports of Australians being amongst the victims or those injured but given the numbers of Australians who were in the area or were likely to be in the area that situation may change. In relation to the Australian woman, the United States authorities did contact us for details. They were making enquiries about Marilou Danley in connection with the shooting but the Las Vegas police have indicated that they don't believe she was involved in the incident, that she's not a person of interest and that she was not in fact in the United States at the time. It seems that her ID may have been used by the perpetrator but the local authorities are still investigating the incident.
JOURNALIST: Is there any reason to believe at this point that Australians may be caught up in it? Do you have any specific information about that?
JULIE BISHOP: Our consular staff have been making urgent enquiries of local authorities and hospitals to ascertain whether any Australians have been amongst the numbers killed or injured and at this stage we have no information to suggest that is the case. We are not aware of any Australians who have been injured or killed as a result of the shooting but the situation remains really complex due to the large number of people affected. I've been in contact with our Consul General in Los Angeles throughout the night. We have bolstered our consulate staff in both Los Angeles and in Las Vegas and they are methodically contacting every hospital in the vicinity just to see if any Australians have been registered. It's also too early to know if any dual Australian nationals, US-Australian nationals, have been affected. It's estimated that up to 365,000 Australians visit Las Vegas in any one year. That was the figure for 2016. My message for any Australians who are concerned about their loved ones who may be in Las Vegas if you're not able to contact them then call our consular hotline 1300 555 135.
JOURNALIST: This is still an unfolding situation and I don't think it's appropriate to get too far into other debates just yet but what does the Australian Government say about the risk of travelling to the United States for leisure?
JULIE BISHOP: This is said to have been the act of a lone gunman. He took his own life. The suspect Stephen Paddock, he appears to have acted alone and the motive for the shooting isn't known. Yes the investigation is still underway and our Smartraveller advice, that's our website advice, have advised Australians, that's by social media as well, to avoid the area, let their family known that they are safe but I would encourage people to register on our Smartraveller site and exercise caution in travelling to the United States and elsewhere. No country is immune from acts of violence, no country is immune from acts of terrorism. We just have to be careful but we have to continue to go about our daily lives. In the case of Las Vegas though, of course people should avoid the area and abide by any directions by local authorities.
JOURNALIST: Thank you for your time this morning Minister.
JULIE BISHOP: My pleasure.