JULIE BISHOP: It is a general request and we are working through the processes of ensuring that we have the diplomatic clearances in place.
JOURNALIST: When are you expecting those clearances to be made?
JULIE BISHOP: Within days.
JOURNALIST: So expecting possibly by the weekend for Australian fighter jets to be taking to the skies in Iraq?
JULIE BISHOP: First there would need to be a National Security Committee meeting than there would need to be consideration by Cabinet and we would take advice from military, intelligence, security chiefs.
JOURNALIST: Any meetings scheduled in the next day or two?
JULIE BISHOP: We will call a meeting when it is necessary to consider a specific request.
JOURNALIST: Is our foreign aid having to be cut to pay for the deployment in Iraq?
JULIE BISHOP: There has been no such discussion in Cabinet along those lines.
JULIE BISHOP: There has been no such discussion in Cabinet and no proposal has been put to be considered.
JOURNALIST: Has there been a discussion that more money will be needed [inaudible] to pay for the increase in security?
JULIE BISHOP: I’m sure the Treasurer and the Finance Minister have taken that into account. They will also take into account savings measures that we took to the last election and that we proposed in the Budget and we will be looking to the other parties to support those savings measures.
JOURNALIST: Ms Bishop one of the more inflammatory issues around at the moment is the talk of banning the burqa here at Parliament, do you support banning the burqa in public areas as well?
JULIE BISHOP: I don’t believe there is any proposal to ban the burqa. The issue is a security one. People must be able to be identified if they are coming into Parliament House. I identify myself every morning coming into Parliament House and I think the guards know who I am but I still identify myself. So anybody coming into Parliament House must be able to be identified – that is the issue, it is a security matter, it has nothing to do with religious clothing.
JOURNALIST: [inaudible] but this could be construed as a religious issue?
JULIE BISHOP: It will only be construed as a religious issue if the media keeps reporting it as one.
JOURNALIST: It is not just us, it is people like Jacquie Lambie and your own colleague Cory Bernardi, George Christensen, Brett Whitely – it is not the media.
JULIE BISHOP: But I’m not raising it.
JOURNALIST: But your colleagues are.
JULIE BISHOP: But I’m not.
JOURNALIST: But would you support the people who are wearing the burqa having to identify themselves but still be able to wear it?
JULIE BISHOP: Of course people must identify themselves coming into Parliament House. That is self-evident. It is a security issue and people have to be identified. I can’t see the issue – as I’ve said – I identify myself everyday coming into Parliament House, that is as it should be. So it is a security issue.
JOURNALIST: Do we need a new US-style homeland security agency?
JULIE BISHOP: I have not seen a proposal along those lines and in order to make that sort of significant re-organisation of the bureaucracy we would have to identify failures in the current system and I’m not aware of any failures that would give rise to a new bureaucracy but if there is a proposal I will consider it.
JOURNALIST: And yet the PM wasn’t alerted by his own Department about the crash of MH17 until too late he would argue – was that a failure?
JULIE BISHOP: That is a matter for the Prime Minister and Cabinet and I don’t think that is a matter for border protection, intelligence and defence and customs agencies that would give rise to a discussion around a homeland security department. If there is an issue between the Prime Minister and his Department well that may be so, but does not reflect more broadly on the question about a homeland security department.
JOURNALIST: Is that proposal off the table do you think?
JULIE BISHOP: There is no proposal on the table.
- Ends -
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