JOURNALIST We're joined by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. Good morning. How concerned are you that Islamic State is now our doorstep?
JULIE BISHOP Good morning David. We have been concerned for some time that the Islamic extremist terrorists in the Middle East were reaching out to regions beyond the Middle East. We have been working with regional governments in Southeast Asia and beyond for some time coordinating our efforts, sharing information and sharing intelligence and indeed, we entered into a new Memorandum of Understanding on counter-terrorism with Indonesia here in Sydney just last month.
We have been deeply concerned for some time. This attack in Jakarta yesterday reinforces our view that terrorist attacks can occur in our region. That's why it's so important for us to continue that high level of cooperation across governments.
JOURNALIST Are you helping them with their investigations? Are our security people involved?
JULIE BISHOP We have an Australian Federal Police team in Jakarta. Yesterday I spoke to my Indonesian counterpart, Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, and offered Australia's support in whatever way we could, whatever they needed, and likewise my colleague, the Attorney General George Brandis, rang his counterpart and offered security, intelligence, law enforcement, whatever it is that Indonesia may need. So we stand ready to support them in their investigations as to how this occurred and who is responsible.
JOURNALIST What do you say to Australians looking at this today going, ‘wow, that's close, that's on our doorstep’. Should we go to Indonesia? And is Islamic State heading towards us?
JULIE BISHOP There have been terrorist attacks in Indonesia before, and as we know, tragically taking Australian lives. On this occasion I understand that no Australians have been affected by these attacks and we are thankful for that. In fact, I spoke with our ambassador overnight to ensure that all Australians who are known to be in Indonesia are accounted for and we have had no requests for consular assistance. But I should say if anyone is worried about a friend or relative in Indonesia at this time, they should try to contact them. If they are having difficulty contacting them, then call our 24 hour consular number, which is 1300555135.
Coming back to your point, of course, we are concerned about the spread of Islamic extremism. Of course we are concerned about the threat of terrorism, that's why we have been bolstering the resources, the support for our security, law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Australia. That's why we are taking part in the conflict in the Middle East, in Syria and Iraq.
JOURNALIST But we are not going to increase our presence there?
JULIE BISHOP We are already making a significant contribution, a substantial contribution with the second largest…
JOURNALIST We have been asked to contribute more and we are saying no.
JULIE BISHOP More than 40 countries have been asked to contribute. The United States understands that we will maintain our existing substantial contribution that does see us as the second largest military contributor to the coalition efforts on the ground in Iraq. We are already a significant contributor to the air campaign.
JOURNALIST So we are the second largest? That puts it in perspective doesn’t it?
JULIE BISHOP Consider the size and proximity of Australia – we are the second largest military contributor to the coalition efforts in Iraq. We are a substantial contributor to the air campaign over Syria and Iraq. So we are encouraging like-minded countries and those who are directly affected to increase their contribution.
JOURNALIST That's fair enough. All right Minister, thank you for joining us.
JULIE BISHOP Thank you, David.
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