Channel 7, Sunrise - interview with David Koch and Natalie Barr

  • Transcript, E&OE

NATALIE BARR: Julie Bishopjoins us now from Canberra on Sunrise. Good morning to you Minister. Let's start with this very disturbing video. Is there anything the government can do to stop this kind of behaviour?

JULIE BISHOP:Well, I think Australians are entitled to be shocked and outraged that children as young as six are being enlisted by these irresponsible, reckless adults and are being forced to submit to an ideology before they are even old enough to form their own judgments. It's an ideology that preaches hatred against the country in which they live.

I understand that the New South Wales Government has already looked into this matter and it's been referred to their Department of Family and Community Welfare. I think it's entirely appropriate, but this is why the Australian Government has been introducing new laws to cover this offence of the promotion of terrorism. This is the kind of video that gives rise to our concerns.

DAVID KOCH: So, Minister, will you take action against the two blokes waving the flag? Teaching the slogans, bringing the kids up on the stage there?

JULIE BISHOP: Until the recent legislation passes through the Parliament, these are the bills that we have been discussing in recent weeks, the Foreign Fighters Bill until that passes through the Parliament and gets the appropriate Royal assent, we don't have an offence called the promotion of terrorism. Once we have the laws available to us, then these are the sort of matters we will be able to investigate. This is what our Federal Police will be able to investigate and see if there is an offence that can be prosecuted.

But we have been saying for a very long time now that foreign fighters and this threat of extremism does pose a significant security threat to Australia and that's why we are taking significant action through changes in the laws and doing all we can to stamp out this kind of extremism.

DAVID KOCH: When will those laws be passed?

They have been through the Senate and I hope they will pass through the House of Representatives today.


NATALIE BARR: Then the police can go and investigate. That is good news.

There have been reports of course this morning of the death of this most senior Australian member of Islamic State, Mohammad Ali Baryalei. Do you have confirmation that he is dead?

JULIE BISHOP: Our security agencies are still working to confirm whether or not he has been killed. If that is the case, he will be the 16th Australian who will have been killed in this conflict in Iraq and Syria. And that is why we are urging people, Australian citizens, not to travel to Iraq and Syria and to not take up with ISIL or other similar terrorist organisations. For not only are they putting their own lives in mortal danger, they are adding to the suffering of the people of Iraq and Syria and it's also against the law in Australia to take up arms and fight with a terrorist organisation.

DAVID KOCH: Yeah. So you are saying at least 16.


DAVID KOCH: We are saying good riddance. Do we target them?

JULIE BISHOP:Well certainly try and find out as much as we can about their whereabouts. We certainly share information with other intelligence agencies. It is a serious crime to leave Australia and take up with a terrorist organisation and as we have seen in Iraq and Syria, not only is it a crime, it puts your life in mortal danger and we know that 15 Australians have already been killed. This would be the 16th.

DAVID KOCH: Do our troops hunt them down?

JULIE BISHOP: Our troops are not in Iraq and Syria, Our Special Forces are waiting to go in and their task will be to support and train and advise the Iraqi Defence Forces to protect their citizens.

DAVID KOCH: You pass that information on to Iraqi forces who then go and hunt them down?

JULIE BISHOP: We share intelligence on matters of security and we are certainly assisting the Iraqi government take back its territory and stamp out terrorism in Iraq and Syria and of course, that's why the Australian Government is urging people not to go overseas to fight with ISIL and other terrorist organisations.

NATALIE BARR: Have you got an update on when our Special Forces will be going into Iraq and helping the local troops?

JULIE BISHOP: Well Nat, these are operational matters. We don't discuss the troop movements for obvious reasons. You don't flag to others where your troops will be at any particular time. But we are working through a number of processes. But the Iraqi Government is very grateful that we have offered our Special Forces to train and assist and advise.

I was in Baghdad recently, I met with the Prime Minister of Iraq. He expressed deep gratitude that Australia was prepared to assist them. Iraq is in a very complex challenging environment. They are losing territory, they are being subjected to the most grotesque atrocities by ISIL and it's outrageous that Australian citizens would be taking part in the conflict over there.

NATALIE BARR: Yeah, isn't it? You just cannot understand it. Thanks very much, Minister, Julie Bishop for joining us on Sunrise this morning.

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