EDDIE MAGUIRE On Triple M’s Hot Breakfast the Foreign Minister joins us this morning, a very, very sad and busy weekend for you Julie. Thank you for joining us and taking the time on Triple M’s Hot Breakfast. Let’s go through it in order, can we firstly talk about Nepal and what is the latest you have?
JULIE BISHOP Good morning Eddie. I express our deepest condolences to all those affected by the earthquake in Nepal including the families of those who have died in Nepal and India and Bangladesh.
The latest advice from the Nepalese Government puts the death toll at over 1900 and that figure is likely to rise. To date we’ve been able to confirm the welfare of more than 830 Australians in the country. I am aware of one media report that an Australian has died on Mount Everest but that is not yet confirmed so the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu is urgently seeking to confirm that report.
Otherwise our Embassy is providing consular assistance to a number of Australians and they are seeking to confirm the welfare of all Australians in the affected areas including those who have registered on our Smartraveller website and we have activated our 24/7 Emergency Call Unit which has taken over 1250 calls to date from family and friends of missing Australians.
We have also deployed a Crisis Response Team to Nepal and that team will assist in establishing the welfare of Australians unaccounted for and it will also assist with the humanitarian assessments that need to be made to support the Nepalese Government and the international effort in response to the earthquake.
EDDIE MAGUIRE We are speaking to Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop. Julie I was quite staggered with the number of Australians in Nepal. Is it a busy time of year?
JULIE BISHOP It is a busy time. There are people who are making the trek up Mount Everest. There are people visiting Nepal for a whole range of reasons, it is a significant number. We only had a couple of hundred who had registered with the Smartraveller website and of course that is voluntary. We can’t force people to do it but I urge again if anyone’s travelling overseas they should try and register on the website so at least we can make contact. But we have been working very hard to locate as many as we can and I really should give the number of the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre. Obviously if you are concerned for the welfare of your family and friends in Nepal try and contact them first but if you can’t the number is (02) 6261 33 05, if you are overseas or within Australia 1300 555 135. That would be the number to call.
EDDIE MAGUIRE Do you want to give those numbers again there Julie?
JULIE BISHOP (02) 6261 3305 – that’s our 24-hour service or 1300 555 135 and that’s still a local call cost wherever you are.
LUKE DARCY Julie we will make sure we get that out on all of our websites www.triplem.com.au and out on Twitter and we are thinking of all the people in Nepal at the same time we are thinking of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. You’ve been very vocal in your desire to try and get the execution removed. Have you had any update? Is there still any hope at all for these two young men?
JULIE BISHOP I spoke to my counterpart Foreign Minister Marsudi again last night. I was in transit in Dubai on my way home from the ANZAC Day services in Belgium but I did make contact with her and I raised again all of our concerns. I asked her to pass them on to the Indonesian President and to their Attorney-General. I have written again to her setting out our concerns. The Prime Minister has also written again to President Jokowi.
There are a couple of legal actions still on foot. Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran’s lawyers are pursuing action before the Indonesian Constitutional Court. There is a separate investigation underway by their Judicial Commission into claims of corruption in the original trial and both of these processes do raise questions about the integrity of the sentencing and the clemency process. So I have asked again that these legal proceedings be allowed to be concluded before any action is taken and I’ve again publicly called on the President of Indonesia to reconsider his refusal to grant clemency.
I don’t believe it’s too late for a change of heart and as I’ve said on so many occasions, I ask no more of Indonesia than it has asked of other nations where Indonesian citizens are on death row, including for serious drug offences. Now I am mindful of the nationals of several other countries who are also facing execution alongside Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran and there are many in the international community, including in Indonesia who share our opposition to the death penalty and I note that the United Nations Secretary-General has now put out a statement appealing to Indonesia to refrain from carrying out these executions.
EDDIE MAGUIRE Well good luck with it all. We will speak to Peter Morrissey after 8.30am this morning, the lawyer of the two men over there. Thanks for your time this morning Julie and more strength to your arm as far as everything you are doing, particularly up there in Bali if you get something, a stay of execution would be magnificent. We know you are working your hardest. Thanks for joining us this morning.
JULIE BISHOP Thanks Eddie. Good to talk to you.
- Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
- DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555