JOURNALIST: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joins us now from Perth. Good morning Minister and thank you for your time. I know it's chaos over there still, but have you been able to confirm whether any Australians are among the victims of the shooting?
JULIE BISHOP: First Sam, I am shocked and saddened by this horrific incident and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims, at least 58 have been killed, to those injured, at least 515 have been injured, and our thoughts are with the people of the United States for they are suffering through what is the deadliest mass shooting in US history. I have been in contact with the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to extend our condolences at this time and offer whatever assistance we can. I have been in contact throughout the night with our Consul-General in Los Angeles and she has confirmed that at this stage no Australians have been identified as being among the victims, either those killed or injured. However given the large number of people involved, we are still making it inquiries of local authorities and hospitals and the like to make sure that no Australians are involved. The situation is still very fluid but we have bolstered our consular team to make sure that we can identify all Australians who have been or may be in the area. I do urge anyone who has concerns about loved ones who may have been or are in Las Vegas to contact them directly and if they are unable to do so, to call our hotline on 1300 555 135.
JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop, I think every Australian would echo your sentiments and sympathies that you passed onto Rex Tillerson but another part of every Australian would say "You are so stupid in America, to have the gun laws that you do, you just bring it on yourself". Can you ever broach that subject with someone like Rex Tillerson?
JULIE BISHOP: This will most certainly raise again the whole debate about US gun laws, as we are aware the laws differ state by state. What we can offer is our experience, and after the mass killings at Port Arthur in the late 1990s under John Howard we implemented a national firearms agreement and this prohibited semi-automatic and automatic weapons, we had the national gun buy back scheme. We can share our experience but at the end of the day it is going to be up to United States legislators and lawmakers, the United States public, to change the laws to ensure that this type of incident does not happen again. This is the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
JOURNALIST: Did you sense exasperation from Rex Tillerson that this keeps happening in his country?
JULIE BISHOP: There have been many reports already of lawmakers raising the issue of gun reform in the United States, it is a state-by-state issue in the US but I have no doubt this incident will stir up the debate once more and it will be up to the United States legislators to make change if they deem to do so.
JOURNALIST: It is so frustrating, isn't it?
JOURNALIST: It's so beyond sad. Minister, there is an Australian connection here that we know of for sure, former Gold Coast woman Marilou Danley was the girlfriend of the gunman, now she lived in Vegas from what we know and she is not a person of interest according to police now. She has deleted or has social media accounts and apparently she is out of the country, we believe she's in the Philippines. Has she asked for any Australian assistance?
JULIE BISHOP: First, the United States authorities have advised that the perpetrator acted alone, that he had no known links with any terror group. Marilou Danley was a person of interest and they did make inquiries of our authorities about her whereabouts. She is no longer a person of interest, the Las Vegas Police Department have confirmed that. We understand that she is in the Philippines, she has not made contact directly with us. She is not a person of interest. There are reports that her ID may have been used by the perpetrator and that is how her name became involved but she has been cleared of any involvement in the incident although I'm sure that with the ongoing investigation she will need to speak to the US authorities at some point.
JOURNALIST: Julie Bishop, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.
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