Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
Page: 7623

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17


Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:04): My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brandis. Will the Attorney-General update the Senate on the release of the Dutch Safety Board report into the downing of MH17?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:05): That is a very important question, if I may say so. Overnight the Dutch Safety Board released the investigation report into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July last year. The report is the result of a meticulous forensic investigation, and Australia has been closely involved in that investigation through the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The final report sets out compelling evidence indicating the type of missile and the launch site of the missile which brought down MH17. Its findings are based on a forensic technical analysis of all of the available evidence. It does not attribute responsibility for the incident. The report concludes that flight MH17 was brought down by a surface-to-air missile—to be precise, by a warhead fired from a Russian-made Buk surface-to-air missile system. It ruled out any other possible cause of the incident. The trajectory of the missile indicated that it was launched from within a 320 square kilometre area in eastern Ukraine.

I know it is difficult to find comfort for families in the face of this news. We continue to grieve for all 298 people on board, and in particular those who called Australia home. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those victims as they process the findings of this report. The Australian government thanks the investigators for their very detailed and tireless work in establishing beyond doubt the cause of this outrage.


Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:07): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Will the Attorney-General also advise the Senate of the role of the Australian government in the criminal investigation of the joint investigation team?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:07): The separate criminal investigation—as opposed to the forensic investigation I have just spoken of—is facilitated through the joint investigation team by a joint arrangement signed by Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine. It is a crucial step in securing justice for all of the victims. The investigation is being coordinated by the Dutch prosecution service. The focus of the joint investigation team is to ensure that the investigation is thorough and robust. On 20 August I met with the Dutch Prosecutor General, Mr Bolhaar, when he and officials from the Dutch police and prosecution office came to Canberra to discuss investigations with the government and the Australian Federal Police, and I took the opportunity to assure them of the Australian government's full cooperation in the investigation.


Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:08): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the Attorney-General also advise the Senate of the steps taken to prosecute crimes that may be connected with the downing of MH17?


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:08): On 29 July last year, Malaysia, on behalf of the countries represented on the joint investigation team, tabled a draft resolution on the establishment of an ad hoc international criminal tribunal to prosecute crimes connected with the shooting down of MH17. We are deeply disappointed that Russia used its power as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to veto the draft resolution. Those responsible for crimes connected with the shooting down of MH17 will not, however, be able to hide behind the Russian veto, for the members of the JIT remain resolute that the perpetrators be held to account. UN Security Council resolution 2166 demands that those responsible for the outrage be held to account and requires all states to cooperate fully with efforts to establish their accountability. We are determined to play our part to do so.