Bill's Transcripts

Doorstop: Perth

E&OE TRANSCRIPT

DOORSTOP INTERVIEW

MONDAY, 31 MARCH 2014

RAAF BASE PEARCE, PERTH

SUBJECT/S : Search for MH370

BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION:
[audio cuts in] To visit the hard working men and women of a number of nations, their defence forces; their coast guard who are currently involved in the extremely difficult task of searching for MH370. I cannot begin to imagine the grief and the turmoil that the families of the passengers are going through since the disappearance of flight MH370. But the families in this most difficult time should hopefully be comforted by the fact that the remarkable men and women of the Australian defence forces, Chinese, Malaysian, the Republic of Korea, the United Sates, New Zealand and Japan, the efforts that these professional people are doing to try and answer this most troubling of mysteries, where flight MH370 is, they should be comforted by the complete hard work of all of the search teams that are working today. Part of the Indian Ocean which people are searching in is a very large area to search. There are many aeroplanes, there are war ships and civilian planes who are currently searching, but it is a very difficult task.

I am certainly convinced that if that plane, or debris from the plane can be found, if it is in this area, it will be found by these talented and committed people. This is a most difficult set of circumstances. Bad news and bad things happen to people every day around our world, but there can be no doubt that in this international age of flight and aviation, that every citizen in the world has been touched by this particular mystery and disappearance, and loss and grief of families.

 

All of us, no matter what country and what continent we live in, we fly, and we take for granted that when our plane takes off it will land us safely at our destination. I have no doubt that all of the authorities from the Malaysians, from Australians, from the United States, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and China, are doing everything they can to try and locate this plane, and I am sure that no stone will be left unturned to answer this most troubling and very, very difficult set of circumstances. Happy to take any questions if there are any.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, have you had a chance to speak to some of the search personnel and what did you have to say to them if you did?

SHORTEN: The search personnel from all of the multinational nations that are working here are, and the searchers are working incredibly hard, they are working very long hours, they are very committed to trying to help provided some comfort and at least some certainty for the families of the people who are on MH370.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, how would you describe their morale after so many days of searching?

SHORTEN: The representatives of the military and civilian agencies who are searching for this aeroplane, their morale is high, they are completely focused on the mission of trying to find answers and provide certainly for these families and indeed for people everywhere. So they are highly professional, this is what they are trained for, watching all of the nation’s cooperate together gives me the greatest piece of mind that what needs to be done is being done.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, what have you made of the international cooperation, seven nations involved and most of which is being coordinated out of Perth?

SHORTEN: What I saw today made me proud to be Australian, but it also made me very proud of the nations represented in the search, the citizens of those nations should be very proud. No one wants to be in these circumstances. Everyone wishes they knew what had happened. No one wishes that this search had to be conducted in the way it is. But what everyone should take from it is what can be done, is being done. What you have here is that if there is debris to be located, if there are answers to these troubling questions to be found, then the multi-national taskforce working here, they are the people who are most likely to do it.

 

But it is incredibly difficult, it’s a long way away from anywhere, it’s in the Indian Ocean, the circumstances and the search conditions as weather changes can be very difficult. But from what I saw today, people should be confident that we have the best people in the world looking for these answers, and that the nations who are represented here, the citizens of those nations should be proud of the efforts of their representatives in the multi-national taskforce.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, any responses to Australia’s responsibilities in covering the costs for this operation so far?

SHORTEN: Let’s focus on finding answers to these questions. The other matters about cost should be dealt with after this mission is completed. I think because we all around the world catch aeroplanes, I think this disaster has touched everyone who flies, and I think that the first order of business should be if at all possible, to find the answers to what has happened and if the answers lie in the southern part of the Indian Ocean, then we’ve got the best people possible looking for those answers.

JOURNALIST: Mr Shorten, do you see an expiry date to this search, will it just continue to go on? Is that what you would be doing if you were in charge of coordinating the search?

SHORTEN: First things first, at the moment as we speak there are seven or eight aeroplanes, there are ships, there are helicopters searching. I think that it’s appropriate that we just give our complete support to the search mission that is underway, rather than set artificial deadlines on ourselves. I think we have to have some confidence that we’ve got the best people possible who’ve been trained in their military careers and civilian agencies to do this work. We need to just get behind them. Everyone in the world is interested and committed to try and find out and answer, and at the tip of this exercise to finding the answers we see people here at RAAF Base Pearce in Perth, I think we just need to get behind them rather than necessarily start setting deadlines. What we need to do is, less theories and leave it more to the practical experts. Thanks everyone, have a lovely afternoon.

ENDS

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