Today Show, interview with Karl Stefanovic

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins us now. Minister, good morning to you. Firstly do you have an update on the conditions of the Australians?

JULIE BISHOP: We do know that three Australians have been affected, as your reporter has indicated. One is in hospital and is recovering and I've spoken with her family; a second Australian, the young man, is on his way home; and there is a third Australian and we are working hard to determine the circumstances in relation to the third Australian, and we are making enquiries. I spoke to our High Commissioner, Alexander Downer a short while ago, and the three Australians are the only ones that we know have been affected in terms of physical injury, but obviously at any one time, there are about 130,000 Australians living in the United Kingdom, many in London, so we continue to offer consular services to anyone who might need it or anyone who is still trying to track down loved ones, family or friends.

JOURNALIST: Do you have any detail on the third Australian at all?

JULIE BISHOP: We are still trying to determine the circumstances and we are making enquiries.

JOURNALIST: Okay. Should Australians be now at this point rethinking their travel to the UK?

JULIE BISHOP: We have updated our Smartraveller advice. Our advice is to keep away from the London Bridge area, to follow the directions of local police and to monitor our travel advices that will be updated regularly. We have not updated it to suggest that people should not travel to the United Kingdom, but all of our travel advices are under constant review, as these terrorist attacks can take place anywhere at any time, as we know an attack took place in Manchester just a few weeks ago. There have been attacks in European cities, Middle Eastern cities, so Australian travellers have to exercise a very high degree of caution. Likewise, in Australia, we urge people to be careful, to watch out for their personal circumstances, but the Australian Government and our law enforcement, security, intelligence agencies are doing everything we can to keep Australians safe, both at home and abroad.

JOURNALIST: Prince Harry arrives this week in Australia. Are there any special considerations being given to security measures for him?

JULIE BISHOP: We always have significant security in place for visiting dignitaries that might attract a lot of media attention. For example, I'm hosting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis here in Sydney today, and, of course the security in Sydney is quite intense at present.

JOURNALIST: Okay, Tony Abbott has said this morning that he wants to activate commando units to lead in major domestic counter-terror incidents. Your thoughts on that?

JULIE BISHOP: The issue of defence support for national counter-terrorism arrangements and efforts is already under consideration. The ever-evolving threat of terrorism, the different way it evolves now – we are seeing the use of everyday items like vehicles and knives – means that we have to keep our response under constant review. So the issue of Defence involvement is already under review and of course we'll take into account the coroner's report after the Lindt Siege and the events in Manchester and now London, but also earlier attacks in Paris, in Brussels and Ankara. This informs our thinking and our response to this ever-changing threat. The mindless savagery we have seen in London is designed to shock people and to divide communities and so we must be resolute in our determination to defeat terrorism and defeat the ideology that inspires so many people, and the voices of moderate Islam must be louder than the voices of radicalisation and savagery and brutality.

JOURNALIST: You think they haven't been loud enough?

JULIE BISHOP: They have to be louder. The entire community has to condemn terrorism and these mindless, senseless savage attacks must stop.

JOURNALIST: Foreign Minister, thank you for your time. I know you've got to run. Thank you.

JULIE BISHOP: Thank you.

- Ends -

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