MMM Melbourne Hot Breakfast - Interview with Eddie McGuire, Mick Molloy and Luke Darcy

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: Can you bring any sense or any understanding to us as to what the hell has gone on in Las Vegas in the last 24 hours?

JULIE BISHOP: Good morning Eddie, Luke and Mick. I think we're all deeply shocked by this horrific massacre in Las Vegas and I've been extending our sympathies to the families of the victims, at least 58 at this stage, and our thoughts are with those who have been injured, at least 515. Our thoughts are with the American people, for this is the deadliest mass shooting in US history. I've contacted the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to extend our sympathies and offer whatever help we can. I've been in contact with out Consul-General in Los Angeles throughout the night and we are making urgent enquiries with local authorities to determine if any Australians are directly affected. At this stage we are not aware of any Australians who have been killed or injured in the shooting but given the large number of people involved, this situation could change, and we are contacting hospitals and working with the local authorities.

As for making sense of it, well the Las Vegas police have confirmed that the suspect, the perpetrator, Stephen Paddock took his own life. He appears to have acted alone, the motive for the shooting isn't known. ISIS have claimed responsibility for the attack but the FBI say that Paddock had no links to the terror group, so obviously the investigation is ongoing. We've increased our consular staff in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, they are contacting hospitals, working with local authorities to check if any Australians have been admitted to hospital but none at this point. We've had about 150 calls from Australians worried about their loved ones who are or have been in Las Vegas, and I do urge anyone who has concerns about their loved ones to contact them directly, or if they can't to ring out hotline on 1300 555 135. Eddie, about 365,000 Australians visit Las Vegas each year, it's been estimated, so there could obviously be quite a number of Australians in the vicinity, but at this stage we don't have any information to suggest any are among…

JOURNALIST: Three quarters of the AFL are there at the moment, Julie. Quite a party spot at the moment.

JULIE BISHOP: Well that's right, it is a very popular tourist destination. The Las Vegas Visitor Authority says about 3.5 million tourists visit Las Vegas per month, so this is obviously a very crowded concert, a lot of people involved, between 20,000-30,000 people in the vicinity and that's why the casualties are so high, 58 killed and 515 injured that we know of at this stage.

JOURNALIST: Hey Julie, the mass murderer, Stephen Paddock, has been linked to his partner, an Australian woman who lived on the Gold Coast for 10 years, has been some of the reports around. Have you got any more information on that?

JULIE BISHOP: The US authorities were making enquiries of us about an Australian woman, Marilou Danley, in connection with the incident, but they have advised that they don't believe she was involved in the incident. We understand that she was not in the United States and the Las Vegas police have now said that she's no longer a person of interest. There are reports that her ID was used by the perpetrator, Mr Paddock, but the local authorities are still investigating the incident so we may hear more about that at some later date.

JOURNALIST: Julie, can we just pivot for a moment. You mentioned Rex Tillerson there, your counterpart in the United States, he's at odds with the US President Donald Trump at the moment. Donald Trump's basically saying North Korea, there's no point doing any negotiations with them, you've come out and supported Rex Tillerson's proposition that diplomatic ties must be strengthened if anything with North Korea at the moment. How's all that going? It's obviously a dangerous situation in world politics but is it as dangerous as we're reading at the moment?

JULIE BISHOP: There's no doubt that North Korea's actions present not only a regional security threat but they are a global security risk. North Korea have undertaken numerous illegal ballistic missile tests, probably about 88 in all, that are in direct violation of UN Security Council resolutions. They have now carried out at least six nuclear tests and the last one was said to be a thermonuclear device, so if that were ever deployed it would have catastrophic consequences. I believe that we have to continue to exert maximum diplomatic and political and economic pressure on North Korea to compel it back to the negotiating table. I mean the consequences of any kind of military action or the detonation of any of North Korea's weapons would be utterly catastrophic. I think the President was referring to the fact that all past negotiations with North Korea have failed, every agreement in the past has been broken by North Korea, they have failed to honour any negotiated outcome, but that doesn't mean we stop trying. I support Secretary Tillerson's efforts to include China in trying to find a solution, and as a member of the Security Council, a permanent member of the Security Council, China has a unique responsibility to ensure that the resolutions of the Council are upheld. We must hold North Korea to account and deter it from carrying out any more of these tests, but also compel it back to the negotiating table.

JOURNALIST: Julie, thank you for joining us this morning. As we said, we know, what is it over there? It's 4:00am, 4:30am over in Perth where you are working. You work non-stop and you do a great job for us and we really appreciate you joining us on MMM's Hot Breakfast.

JULIE BISHOP: Thanks very much Eddie, thanks guys.

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