Subjects: Flinders Street Attack.
Good Morning to you Minister, thanks so much for being with us.
Now we understand that police are expected to interview the suspect today, do we know anything more about a possible motive?
Obviously the police are still conducting their investigations, both the Federal Police and the Victorian Police. The Victorian Homicide Squad leading the investigation, they’re looking at every aspect as you would expect in these investigations and there’s a lot of detail to trawl though. So once they’ve done that then obviously the interview takes place and this is something that will continue on for some time.
I understand people want all of the detail now, but we do need to let the police do their work and we’ll find out more detail in the not too distant future.
Yes, absolutely, let’s hope so.
As we know, Minister, this is the second attack in the same area in a year. There’s an issue, a lot of people looking at whether enough is being done in terms of security bollards in the street, but I guess you can’t barricade every pedestrian street in the city, so what’s the solution here?
Well Matt, we’re obviously putting more money into the intelligence gathering which is incredibly important because, you’re right, you can’t protect every place of mass gathering whether it’s a – as we’ve seen overseas – a movie theatre or within a theatre district, a tourist hotspot, at a shopping centre, in a food court, wherever it might be, that’s just the reality of this barbaric attack and the way in which they conduct their attacks by these terrorists and people that would want to do us harm.
We’ve seen it around the world where people use vehicles and bollards have gone up, that can work in some places, but in a city like Melbourne where you’ve got trams, where you’ve got a lot of traffic, foot traffic, any places where there is a mass gathering; it is hard to try to accommodate for every possible likely attack or event.
All right Minister, understanding you’ve only been in the portfolio for a couple of days, but the message from you and the Prime Minister yesterday was basically ‘keep calm and carry on’ which is a fair enough message, but I suppose to enable people to be able to do that, we want to all feel as if the government, the authorities, are doing everything that can possibly be done.
So other than intelligence what else is your plan within this portfolio to try and keep us safe?
Monique over the last three years now and only just within the last week the 81st person was charged. So 81 people over the course of the last three years have been charged with terror related offences.
There have been 14 planned attacks that have been thwarted by the authorities and there’s an unprecedented level of cooperation between the Federal, State and Territory agencies. Officers from ASIO, the Australian Federal Police are working very closely with their counterparts, in this case in Victoria, but right around the country and as I say we’ve put about a billion and a half dollars additional money in over the last couple of years; so there’s a huge picture here, a lot of work that’s taken place.
In the end the most important aspect to all of this is the information that the public can provide. If people do have information they should call the National Security Hotline on 1 800 123 400 because it may just be that little snippet of information that leads to the 15th event being stopped and lives being save. Over the Christmas-New Year period it’s incredibly important, so please if you have any information call the police as quickly as possible.
Minister, you know all of those advances and all of that additional money is, of course, extremely welcome, but I think the chilling thing here is – as we’ve seen many lone wolf attacks across the world – is that there is not a lot of planning that goes into this. A lot of these things can be conceived and then carried out in the space of a day, so how do you possibly guard against and protect people from these types of attacks where there isn’t a lot of chatter in advance?
Matt, it’s a good question. It’s important to recognise – as we saw in London only a few months ago – that the response time is very quick once an event takes place. I mean the heroic actions of the off-duty police officer in Victoria will be spoken a lot about, rightly, and he’ll be properly acclaimed, as will other people, just normal people, going about their business who respond and try and neutralise that threat as quickly as possible.
So you’re right, there will be many events that will be stopped, but there will be some that get through, tragically, and the response times are important and that’s some that the police authorities have been working on day and night.
But in the end I want to assure people every possible thing is being done to keep people safe, but people need to be aware of their surrounds, if they’re in a public place and they see something suspicious raise those concerns with the police or with a security officer at that location.
All right Minister, Peter Dutton, thanks so much for being with us.
Thanks guys have a great Christmas.
You too, merry Christmas to you.