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Transcript of interview with Gary Adshead: 6PR Mornings, Perth: 31 August 2015: Da'esh; Syria, Peter Greste; Canning by-election; Dyson Heydon.

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6PR Mornings, Perth - interview with Gary Adshead

Subjects: Da’esh, Syria, Peter Greste, Canning by-election, Dyson Heydon.

Transcript, E&OE

31 August 2015



The front of the Australian newspaper today, the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

talking about

what’s next in relation to Islamic State, or Da’esh as she likes

to call the organisation. The Foreign Minister joins

me on the line.

Thanks very

much for your time Minister.



Good morning Gary.



Okay, you’re talking specifically about whether Europe could be doing more. Why

is that,

because of the amount of people that are leaving some of the countries

impacted by Islamic State?



Well Gary there’s a humanitarian crisis in Syria of unprecedented proportions

and because of the

conflict between the Assad regime and the fact that his

regime used chemical weapons against his own people,

the conflict with ISIL or

Da’esh, as it’s called in the region, al-Nusra and other terrorist

organisations, the fact that

Turkey has also entered the conflict, means that

millions of people from Syria are leaving and millions in

surrounding countries

are also heading to Europe.

I understand

that about 40 per cent of those seeking asylum in Europe are from Syria. So

clearly we need to solve

this problem at its source so that people aren’t

displaced. So we need both a military and a political solution in

Syria and

also a military solution in Iraq. The longer term goal is to ensure that national

sovereign governments

are in control of their own territory and can protect

their people from terrorism and protect them from these terrorist


So that’s why we’re in Iraq, working with the Iraqi government to build the

capacity of their security

and defence forces and why we’re taking part in air

strikes on these military bases occupied by Da’esh and why

the United States

has asked us to consider expanding our role to include air strikes over Syria,


essentially it’s one theatre of conflict. The border between Syria and

Iraq is now open to these terrorist

organisations and they’re launching attacks

on the people of Iraq from Syria.



So you don’t think that perhaps further air strikes and more countries getting

involved could add

to the displacement of people, to the people move…..



No, I believe the sooner we are able to defeat Da’esh the better it will be. It

will provide a great

opportunity to restore some kind of peace in some of these

war torn nations that have been absolutely ridden with

conflict and so one of

the major sources of the displacement of people is the terrorism activities of

Da’esh. So if we

can defeat Da’esh and if that could be done sooner rather than

later, then we can get on with ensuring that these

countries are able to come

up with a political solution and have inclusive governments that represent

the interests

of all of the people.



Are you saying that there’s intelligence as well that Da’esh are involved in

the people




There is certainly concern and evidence to that extent, that the terrorist

organisations are profiting

from the people smuggling trade. They are getting

funding through drug trafficking, people smuggling, weapons

trades, black

markets in a whole range of areas and so this is also a concern. There are also

concerns that the

terrorists are targeting some people who are fleeing from

countries as potential foreign terrorist fighters. So it’s a

very toxic mix of

these sophisticated terrorist organisations and vulnerable people fleeing areas

of conflict.



I suppose a lot of people would expect that there are European countries who

are actively

involved, and not just obviously in air strikes, but clearly on

the ground in Iraq with training and so on, but what are

our European

counterparts doing in relation to air strikes at the moment?




are about 60 countries as part of a broader coalition providing support to the


Coalition. There are about 30 countries who are more deeply involved,

Australia is one of those, and then there

are a handful of countries that are

supporting the United States with air strikes and it depends whether it’s over

Iraq or over Syria, but most certainly France, the Netherlands, Denmark, other

countries are taking part. In Syria,

the other partners include Middle Eastern

countries, UAE, Jordan and Bahrain has also been involved.



Okay, in terms of what’s next, are you any closer to deciding whether or not

from a legal point of

view, from a legal standing,

Australia should take

part in air strikes in Syria?



We are considering the United States request very carefully. There is not only

the legal basis, and

of course we have to have a credible legal basis in order

to do this. The United States have legal advice as do

other countries that air

strikes in Syria come under the legal principle of collective self defence of

Iraq and the Iraqi

people. Indeed the Prime Minister of Iraq, has pointed to the

fact that Da’esh is operating out of Syria to attack the

Iraqi people as a

reason why the air strikes should also be over Syria so we’ll take our own

legal advice on that.

Turkey, I mentioned before, Turkey is now taking part in

air strikes over Syria based on individual self defence

because they believe

they are directly threatened and also through the collective self defence of

Iraq principal, but

we also have to look at our capability, our capacity to

take part and the strategy and what outcome we could

expect if Australia were

to be involved.



Minister, if I can just ask you about Peter Greste, obviously two of his

colleagues have been

jailed in Egypt for three years, Peter Greste himself, but

he’s not there, he was deported, so he doesn’t have to go

through the hell of

being put into a Cairo Prison. These other two colleagues though of his, he

says he won’t stop

fighting until he’s got them released. Is there anything the

Australian Government can do at this stage?



We have been fighting for Peter Greste to help him clear his name ever since he

was first

detained, and I’m just grateful we were able to get him out of Egypt

after the appeal and before the retrial and of

course he is now home safe in

Australia. But he’s deeply concerned about the fact that he’s now been

convicted in

his absence and that two of his colleagues have also been

convicted and now sentenced to three years. I will

continue to make the highest

level representations I can to the Egyptian government, and we will work with


countries who have a direct interest in this, including Canada. And I’ve

had a number of discussion with my

counterpart Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson

from Canada about this in the past and will continue to do so. I think it


not reflect well on Egypt. We have respected their judicial and legal

processes, we have made

representations at the political level and that did

result in the Presidential decision to release Peter Greste earlier

this year,

but we will continue to work with him and his lawyers to help clear his name.



Obviously it sends a pretty strong

message to any Australian journalist that might be being sent

to that country

at the moment, what’s the advice? You wouldn’t expect any organisation to

really send someone

there at the moment.




expect all our Australian citizens to abide by the laws of the country and of

course we provide

advice to anyone travelling overseas as to the dangers, the

risks, the threats that they might meet, but at the end

of the day people have

to be responsible for their own activities. We will provide consular and other

support as

and when Australians get into trouble, but we certainly ask them to

seek advice from the Department of Foreign

Affairs and Trade. We have a

Smartraveller website, if people log on to that they can get a pretty clear

picture of

the threats and risks of travelling in specific countries.



On the Canning by-election if I can, clearly there’s speculation today that

should things go bad

there that Joe Hockey’s job is on the line, that Cabinet

members as well as MPs have spoken to the PM about Joe

Hockey. Is that true?



Well I certainly haven’t spoken to the Prime Minister about this. My focus is

on supporting Andrew

Hastie, the Liberal candidate for the Canning by-election.

By-elections are always difficult for an incumbent

government, but this is an

election for the people of Canning to choose their representative. It won’t

change the

government, but it provides the people of Canning with an

opportunity to select a member to replace Don Randall

who so sadly died

recently. Andrew Hastie is an outstanding Australian. He will bring rare skills

and insight from

his time serving as an officer with the SAS and I believe he’s

got the character and the temperament to represent

the people of Canning. And I

do point out that a vote for Labor would endorse Bill Shorten’s mission to be


Prime Minster for the union bosses. So I think the people of Canning would

be well served by electing Andrew

Hastie as their representative.



Just on that, Dyson Heydon will decide his own fate later on today. What’s your

advice to the

Commissioner given the pressure that he’s under?



Well those leading the charge against Dyson Heydon are motivated by one thing,

and this

includes Bill Shorten, to cover up the corrupt and illegal acts within

the union movement and to protect corrupt

union bosses. This Royal Commission

is not politically motivated, it’s not investigating the Labor Party. It’s


into the allegations of systemic corruption, union bosses ripping off

honest union members. So its work must

continue on behalf of decent working

people who have been shamefully let down by union officials. And the work

of the commission is already being proven because 26 or so union officials have

already been referred for

investigation and prosecution.



Just finally, can I just throw one at you from left field, there’s reports

coming out from India, now

I know we’ve forged stronger relations with India,

given their immense workforce in terms of trade. Can I just ask

you though,

have you heard this story about how a bloke who ran off with someone from a

lower cast, the

punishment in relation to that now will be the raping of his

two sisters. Have you heard this story?



I have heard this story, clearly these allegations are appalling and we’ll be

investigating that.

Issues of human rights abuses around the world are quite

distressing and Australia takes a stand on these issues,

we’re an open liberal

democracy, we are committed to freedoms, democratic institutions, the rule of

law, we don’t

lecture or hector other countries, but we try and demonstrate

through our experience and what we stand for, that

there is a much better way

to deliver peace and prosperity by embracing human rights and freedoms for your




Obviously… the Federal Government, can they exercise their right to show their

displeasure at




Well I will

obviously have to get more details about the specifics of the allegations, but

I am aware

of the story.



Thanks very much for joining us Minister.

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