Channel 7 Sunrise, Canberra - Interview with David Koch

  • Transcript, E&OE

DAVID KOCH Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins me now from Canberra.

Minister thanks for joining us. What is the government doing to prevent Australians going overseas to fight for IS? I know we stop them at the airport going out whenever we can but should we be doing more to prevent them even getting to the airport?

JULIE BISHOP Kochie we are doing all we can with programs that involve the community to prevent the radicalisation of young people. We are working with schools, with mosques, with families, with community groups but the challenge of course is those who are radicalised online. They don't come to the attention of our security agencies or their parents. It is very difficult to identify what a person is accessing online. We have focussed on online content. We will be closing down websites that are promoted by ISIL. We will be removing content that we believe is a risk to national security.

I have the power to cancel passports and so if our security agencies, our law enforcement agencies have information that someone poses a national security risk, I can cancel their passport to prevent them going overseas. That's important because we don't want them to join up with ISIL and become experienced terrorists and then run the risk of having them come back to Australia or indeed go to another country and carry out a terrorist attack.

DAVID KOCH But what about this dad who went to fight against ISIL? He still comes under the same anti-terror laws.

JULIE BISHOP It has always been an offence under Australian law to fight with a non-friendly force overseas. That's always been the case under Australian law. But I would warn anyone not to become involved in this conflict in the Middle East. All you are doing is adding to the misery and suffering of the people of Syria and Iraq and putting your own life at risk so I warn people not to become involved, not to go over to the Middle East to take part in this bloody and violent conflict.

DAVID KOCH Will he go to jail? Under these new laws will this dad end up going to jail?

JULIE BISHOP I am not going to comment on a particular case. That will of course depend upon the evidence. It will depend upon what the law enforcement agencies were prepared to do. My warning is for people to refrain from taking up arms with either side.

DAVID KOCH He has actually admitted, he has come clean, he has given evidence against himself on the Sunday Night program last night saying: "Yes, I did go", and there is camera footage of him doing it. That seems a foregone conclusion. Does he go to jail?

JULIE BISHOP It is a matter for our law enforcement agencies and our prosecutors. I'm not going to be judge and jury on an individual case but without doubt, there are laws against people from Australia fighting with non-friendly countries overseas.

DAVID KOCH Moving on to your visit over the weekend to Vanuatu - just extraordinary, the damage in that country from the cyclone. What were your impressions? How did you feel seeing all of that devastation up close?

JULIE BISHOP It is extremely widespread. It is quite devastating to see the houses and buildings and infrastructure flattened and damaged. Huge trees corkscrewed out of the ground. The devastation is very widespread. But I was delighted to see our urban search and rescue teams rebuilding schools, our medical teams at the hospital. They have treated about 600 people since last Sunday. They have provided x-rays, delivered about 35 babies, some who have been called Cyclone or Pam. They have medivaced about 30 people from outlying islands. So the Australian people there, which will number almost 600 after HMAS Tobruk arrives today, they are doing a fantastic job and I was so pleased to see the Australian support for our friends and neighbours in the Pacific. In fact I was told that when our transport planes first flew in last Sunday there was a lot of cheering and clapping from the people of Vanuatu.

DAVID KOCH Isn't that great, being a terrific citizen - international citizen in the area. That is great news. Just finally on a lighter note, not sure whether you've seen this viral video of your colleague, Christopher Pyne that is doing the rounds?

JULIE BISHOP I have seen it.

DAVID KOCH Let's just have a quick reminder.

Clip of Christopher Pyne in Star Wars skit on Insiders.

DAVID KOCH Is that a fairly accurate representation of a Cabinet meeting, Julie Bishop?

JULIE BISHOP There are some similarities there, yes, but we usually end our meetings with "May the force be with us!".

DAVID KOCH Are you giving him a bit of stick over it?

JULIE BISHOP Just a little. He is enjoying being Luke Skywalker I think.

DAVID KOCH Rather than Darth Vader's advisor.

Alright Julie Bishop. Thank you for joining us.

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