The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and the Minister for Health, Peter Dutton, offer condolences to MH17 victims, their families and the delegates to the International AIDS Conference, which begins in Melbourne on Sunday, 20 July.
"Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all those on board,” Minister Bishop said. "This is a terrible tragedy. Whilst we cannot be certain of exact details yet, it appears that a number of people on board the plane were on their way to the International AIDS Conference. We acknowledge that this will be a great loss to the international community working to eliminate HIV/AIDS. Even as we mourn the loss of those on MH17, we recognise the importance of coming together to continue the fight against HIV/AIDS.”
Health Minister Peter Dutton said the loss of life in this terrible incident would make a huge impact on a great many families and friends of those on board.
"Like many Australians I was deeply shocked to hear about this tragedy, in particular about the Australians involved and those attending the AIDS 2014 Conference.
“The Conference is an opportunity for the global community to come together to discuss our achievements in fighting HIV/AIDS, and to affirm our commitment to eliminating the disease. We grimly acknowledge that some members of this community appear to have been lost in the unspeakable tragedy that occurred overnight."
Anyone concerned about the welfare of Australian family and friends should first attempt to contact them directly.
If you are unable to contact them and remain concerned about their welfare please contact the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on + 61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or within Australia on 1300 555 135 (local call cost).
Malaysian Airlines has established a call centre in Malaysia ph. + 603 7884 1234, or call the Malaysia Airlines Amsterdam office in the Netherlands on ph. +3120521 6262.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555