Today Show - interview with Karl Stefanovic

  • Transcript, E&OE

JOURNALIST Joining us now is Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Minister, thank you for your time. I guess the big shock to everyone here was the low key, low technology way in which this was conducted, this attack. What lessons can we take out of Nice?

JULIE BISHOP Karl, we continue to learn from these horrific attacks around the world. We do what we can in Australia through legislation, through more resourcing, through greater intelligence to keep Australians safe at home and abroad. As this attack shows, a terrorist attack can take place anytime, anywhere. No city, no country is immune, but we urge all Australians who are travelling overseas to exercise a high degree of caution, to look out for their own safety, to avoid places where large crowds are gathering, and to follow the advice of local authorities. This is a terrible attack, but the very nature of it gives us an indication of how low key these things can be, how they can escape the law enforcement and intelligence agencies' notice.

JOURNALIST Minister, are you concerned in any way about the next couple of days? It's a huge week here in France, and some 5,000 Australians are making their way here for commemorations, 100 year commemorations, so important that they be here, 5,000 coming here. Given the situation with security around Fromelles, Pozieres, gives us an indication of what your thoughts on that are?

JULIE BISHOP There has been a high level alert about a possible terror attack in France for quite some time. There has been a State of Emergency since the attacks in November last year, and that State of Emergency has been extended. Of course Australians can make their own decisions about where and whether and how to travel overseas. The best the Government can do is to provide the most up-to-date advice. We urge them to take out travel insurance. We urge them to exercise the highest degree of caution. Ultimately it's a decision for them whether to travel, but I do point out that in France we are urging people to exercise a high degree of caution. We will do what we can, obviously our consular officials, our Embassy is working overtime. These are very challenging times, and people need to think very seriously about travelling overseas.

JOURNALIST It's such a difficult decision isn't it for Australians, because they want to go and pay their respects and we will want them to do that, but to make that big decision is very hard.

JULIE BISHOP Of course we do not want those who seek to carry out terrorist attacks to win. We have to go about our daily lives. We have to ensure we can continue to be free, open, democratic societies. We have to be able to live our lives, but we also have to be very careful. We have been warned and we do know that these attacks can occur from time to time.

JOURNALIST There is lots happening in Turkey at the moment as you would know, this evening Turkey time Foreign Minister. I just wonder if you wouldn't mind waiting there because I want to get your insight and message for Australians who are in Turkey and trying to get out. But Tom Steinfort is in Istanbul…

[Cross to Tom Steinfort in Istanbul]

JOURNALIST Back to the Foreign Minister now. Julie, there's reports of gunfire this evening, people trying to get to the airports. What's your advice to Australians there?

JULIE BISHOP I spoke to the Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu last night and he confirmed that the Government is back in control but the situation remains fluid as they attempt to arrest those they believe were in involved in the coup or plotting this attempted coup.

Our advice to Australians seeking to travel to Istanbul and Ankara is reconsider your need to travel, and also in some border areas of Turkey reconsider your need to travel, and otherwise exercise a very high degree of caution. There are chaotic scenes at Istanbul airport. I know there are some significant delays. We are doing what we can to provide consular support as are the airlines and travel agents, but if you're thinking about going to Ankara and Istanbul please reconsider your need to do so.

JOURNALIST So much mayhem happening across the world, I know you have an important meeting today, the party room comes together, how is that going to go for you?

JULIE BISHOP I intend to stand for election as Deputy Leader, so I hope today is a happy day for me, but time will tell.

JOURNALIST Any room for Tony Abbott in the party room, you have got to cut a guy a break at some point, don't you?

JULIE BISHOP There is always room for Tony Abbott in the party room. He's in the party room and as a former Prime Minister and as a former Cabinet Minister he has a contribution to make as do other members. So I'm looking forward to a positive meeting today.

JOURNALIST Alright Minister, thank you so much for your time on a busy day, I appreciate it.

JULIE BISHOP My pleasure.

JOURNALIST That is our Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

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