EDDIE MCGUIRE Quite horrific, it has been 12 months of course since the Malaysia Airline was shot down and 298 people, we must never forget that, 298 people were murdered in that incident that happened. Now we are finding out more and more information is coming to light. A video that was shot by the people on the ground, and it would appear to be mistaken identity, but then we see the various people going through, looting and coving up the evidence, hiding the black box recorders etc. etc. I don’t think there is any shadow of a doubt about what has happened now. The Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop joins us on the line from Canberra this morning.
Good morning Julie.
JULIE BISHOP Good morning Eddie.
EDDIE MCGUIRE Julie, your reaction? You obviously knew this was coming through and it has now hit the public. How do we react to a situation like this? It sort of confirms everything we already knew in a lot of ways, doesn’t it?
JULIE BISHOP Eddie I can’t verify the authenticity of that film footage but you only have to watch it to be revolted by it. It’s just sickening to see it and 12 months on I’m sure it will add to the grieving of the families and loved ones of those who were killed aboard MH1712 months ago. It is consistent with the advice we received from the outset, that this commercial aeroplane with 298 innocent civilians on board was shot down by a surface-to-air missile., that pro-Russian separatists were involved, that it occurred in Eastern Ukraine which is essentially a warzone. And here we are 12 months on, seeking the support of the UN Security Council to establish an International Criminal Tribunal so that those responsible for this atrocity can be held to account and brought to justice.
LUKE DARCY Do you hold much hope for that Julie? We understand how challenging that will be. As you said, pro-Russian separatists in that part of the world, how difficult is it going to be to actually get anyone before that court that you talk about?
JULIE BISHOP The first thing that we have to do is ensure that we have got the prosecution framework in place, so that’s why we are calling for the establishment of an International Criminal Tribunal, and we believe that it can be established now before the report of the preliminary investigation is released – that’s the investigation by the Dutch Safety Board. We think that we need to set up the Tribunal now, so that when the Dutch Safety Board release their report, which presumably will include reference to this film footage, then the prosecution can get its work underway immediately.
The saying ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ – that is why we need to act now to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted at the earliest possible date. I’m not suggesting for a moment that this will be easy, we have to take it step by step, and the first element is to get the Tribunal in place. That will need the full support of the UN Security Council, the permanent five members, also the temporary members, and of course the composition has changed since we were on the Security Council 12 months ago.
EDDIE MCGUIRE What does the Government do, if anything, to try and just help the poor people, the families back here when they pick up the paper today and see – 12 months, as if the anniversary wasn’t hard enough thing for them to go through – but to see people rummaging through their effects, basically looting the scene there, it’s just a horrible situation for them, isn’t it?
JULIE BISHOP As it happens we are holding a national memorial service here in Canberra today and about 200 family members and friends will be attending. There will be a short service in one of the courtyards as the Prime Minister unveils a plaque with the names of all Australian residents on board that fateful flight, and there will be a longer service in the Great Hall and the Governor General will be attending, a number of speeches will be made.
It will be a very difficult day for the families, and we continue to grieve with them. The loss is incalculable, it must be so difficult for them, the suffering inflicted on all of the families across the board, beyond comprehension. We continue to provide consular support. You might recall that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade allocated a consular person to each family, each group and they have remained in contact with them. Some have needed the support, others not so much. I’ve maintained contact with some of the families and I can tell you their grief is inconsolable. This footage coming out today will only add to the burden that they are already carrying.
EDDIE MCGUIRE Julie, once again congratulations to you, your Department and the Australian Government on the magnificent way that you’ve worked through this last 12 months.
LUKE DARCY Absolutely, and we always appreciate you taking the time out Julie to join us here on the Hot Breakfast.
MICK MOLLOY We do and Julie while we are passing out the congratulations I’d like to congratulate you on one of your other fine moments which involved getting Peter Greste out of incarceration over there in Egypt. Now my question to you plainly before you go is can you do the same for Bernard Tomic? As we speak today he is incarcerated in Miami, I mean, a lot of people.. what are you doing for Bernard, as we speak, to get him out?
JULIE BISHOP There is a limit as to what one person can achieve.
LUKE DARCY I think on that note that’s probably enough for the Foreign Minister.
EDDIE MCGUIRE The chance for Julie to become leader one day, the Prime Minister of Australia, has gone now you are going to leave Bernard Tomic in the can.
JULIE BISHOP I didn’t say that, I just said that there is a limit to what one person can achieve.
EDDIE MCGUIRE Now you stared down Putin, you’ll stare down anyone, are you strong enough Julie Bishop – I’ll put this directly to you – Foreign Minister of Australia, are you strong enough to come and stare down me tomorrow afternoon at the football? I know you are a West Coast Eagles fanatic.
JULIE BISHOP And we are number two on the ladder, we’ve got an unchanged line-up Eddie, so it’s going to be a pretty fierce contest with the Pies. I’m looking forward to it, now whether I can get to Melbourne and actually stare you down is another question.
EDDIE MCGUIRE Don’t you have a helicopter?
JULIE BISHOP Do not even go there. But I reckon it’ll be a great game. Why is it at Etihad and not at the G?
EDDIE MCGUIRE Good question, maybe next year.
JULIE BISHOP C’mon Eddie!
EDDIE MCGUIRE Don’t worry we want to play at the MCG. We don’t want to play at Etihad.
JULIE BISHOP Nothing wrong with Etihad, no judgment, but I would have thought the 2nd and 7th teams, particularly Collingwood with its following in Victoria, and we can rustle up a pretty good crowd too.
LUKE DARCY He used to have some pull back in the day Eddie but that’s gone.
EDDIE MCGUIRE Unfortunately they sold us out for the soccer.
LUKE DARCY Thank you Julie. It’s been great to catch up with you as always.