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Peacekeepers determined to complete RAMSI mis -

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Peacekeepers determined to complete RAMSI mission: Ellison

Reporter: Mark Bannerman

MAXINE McKEW: Just a short time ago, I spoke to Justice Minister Senator Chris Ellison. He spent
the day in the Solomons with Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and had just flown back into
Canberra.

MAXINE McKEW: Senator Ellison, it can't have been an easy day for you and Commissioner Mick Keelty.
What can you tell us about the sentiment at the moment among the members of the multinational force
in the wake of this tragedy?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON (JUSTICE MINISTER): Well, obviously it's been an emotional time for them, and
we had a service today in the Solomons for Adam Dunning. It was a great service. It's obvious that
he was very much loved and a fine young man who had great leadership potential. But it's firmed the
resolve, I believe, of all the people up there in relation to the RAMSI mission, and they are
certainly determined to see this mission through to its successful completion.

MAXINE McKEW: And the investigation into the killing of Adam Dunning - Mick Keelty said this
morning that there are already some concrete leads. What can you tell us?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Well, look, I can't go into the operational aspects, but I can say that I'm
pleased with the progress of the investigation. Needless to say, we're totally committed to
bringing to justice the perpetrators, and I'm very pleased with the progress of it. We've flown up
there a team of experts, and we've had great cooperation from the Solomon Island authorities, and I
must say, the community has been fantastic up there. They are totally behind us, as are the other
participating countries in RAMSI.

MAXINE McKEW: One theory that has been put forward is that it could be Malaitan rebels who are
responsible. Did you get any intelligence today on their activities?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Look, I can't go into the briefing that I have had, but it's early days. But
we are happy with the progress of the investigation. Of course, this has just heightened our
resolve to see the successful completion of this mission. Young Adam Dunning was doing a great job
and was tragically killed in the line of duty.

MAXINE McKEW: Indeed, but you would agree there would be no shortage of people in the Solomons who
would still want to thwart the peace process?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Look, we met with the PM and other ministers, and they indicated their total
support for what we're doing. They indicated to us in no uncertain terms that they believe that
there is a very small minority who want to see us out of there, and obviously so because they're
the crooks. We're intent on maintaining law and order in the Solomons and bringing those people to
justice. Now, the vast majority of the Solomon Islanders are behind us. Our personnel are doing a
fantastic job up there working with other police from the region, and I think that all Australians
can be proud of the job they are doing.

MAXINE McKEW: Senator, what about the latest decision to send an extra 100 troops to the Solomons?
Is this in any way an admission that the force strength had been reduced perhaps too far?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: No, I think that it sends a very clear message that we won't tolerate what's
gone on. We won't let these thugs get away with what they've done. They won't deter us, and it
sends a very clear message to the Solomons, to the region, that Australia is dinkum about what it's
doing. Now, the PM of the Solomons indicated to me personally today that he welcomed this
deployment of troops. Of course, we'll be reviewing that as time goes by on an operational basis.
Look, we've made fantastic progress in the Solomons. We never underestimated the danger that our
people faced. This has been a tragic reminder of that danger.

MAXINE McKEW: Any adjustments in the light of what you've just said, perhaps in terms of
on-the-ground operations, perhaps things like night patrols? Any changes there?

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Well, we're certainly having a review as to security measures for our
personnel, and I think the deployment of the troops will help, and we did take up extra personnel
with the Police Commissioner and myself. I think that will be very beneficial, but a review is
being conducted by the Australian Federal Police. They are best placed to conduct that, and we'll
be guided by their advice.

MAXINE McKEW: Chris Ellison, for that - I know it's been a long day for you - thanks very much,
indeed.

SENATOR CHRIS ELLISON: Thank you.

MAXINE McKEW: And I should add that via our Asia Pacific service, the 7:30 Report is rebroadcast
into both the Solomons and into PNG. So to all our personnel there in both those countries, a very
happy, and most especially, a safe Christmas.