JOURNALIST Foreign Minister, can we ask for your response to the attacks in Brussels?
MINISTER BISHOP The Australian Government condemns these horrific terrorist attacks. We have offered our support to the Belgian Government to assist in any way we can to track down those responsible for these atrocious attacks on civilians. We are working closely with the Belgian authorities to ascertain whether any Australians were involved in any of the attacks, whether any Australians have been affected. To date there is no information to suggest that that is the case. Our Post in Brussels has been working assiduously to account for all Australians that we know that are in Brussels at this time and we urge anyone who is on Belgium to register with the Australian Government through the Smartraveller website, that’s smartraveller.gov.au, so that we can assure their loved ones that they are safe. Our thoughts are with the people of Belgium at this time and it was a reminder that we must redouble our efforts to counter terrorism wherever it occurs and in whatever form.
JOURNALIST Is there any chance that Australia will increase the threat level there? Is that being considered?
MINISTER BISHOP Australia has already changed our advice on smartraveller to advise that people should reconsider their need to travel. For those who are in Belgium they should stay calm but listen to the advice of local authorities and act accordingly.
JOURNALIST What lessons for Australia?
MINSITER BISHOP The lessons continue to be the same after every attack. No country is immune. This is why we are assisting in the coalition fight against terrorism at its source in Syria and Iraq. That’s why Australia has increased the level of cooperation with countries in our region. That’s why we have legislated to ensure that our security and law enforcement agencies have the powers they need to tackle terrorism. That’s why we’re working on deradicalisation programs. We are adopting a whole of government approach to ensure that the Australian people are as safe as can be.
JOURNALIST And what measures are being taken at Australia’s airports and at various other places?
MINISTER DUTTON Obviously the government has ramped up our investment at Australian airports over the course of the last couple of years. We’ve stood up counter terrorism unit officers of the Australian Border Force at our nine international airports. And we’ve been able to work with ASIO with the Australian Federal Police and with other authorities to do all that we can to keep Australians safe and if anybody has any information at all they should contact the proper authorities, contact the police and provide that information, but we are working as hard as we can at our Australian airports and people who travel at our airports over the last couple of years will have seen the increased presence of Australian Border Force officers working with Australian Federal Police and other agencies to make sure that we can keep Australians safe.
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