Statement – Paris terrorist attack

November 14, 2015

Yet again we have seen a shocking terrorist attack in Paris.  France, the home of freedom, has been assaulted by terrorists determined to attack and suppress freedom not just in France but throughout the world.

This is an attack, as President Obama has said, on all humanity. On behalf of the Australian people, I extend our deep sympathy to the people of France. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time.

But our solidarity is with them too. When the French people left the stadium after that shocking attack, they were not cowed. They sang their national anthem proudly and that is how all free people should respond to these assaults.

Freedom stands up for itself, stands up for its values in the face of terrorism. In France, and Australia, all around the world, we stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of France and with all free peoples in the battle against terrorism.

What we know about the attack is very limited and, as I've been discussing with the heads of ASIO, the Federal Police and my senior ministerial colleagues, including the Deputy PM who is Acting PM in my absence, the Foreign Minister, the Attorney-General and the Justice Minister, what we know at the moment will undoubtedly change as more facts emerge.

As the Foreign Minister has said, this attack appears to have all of the hallmarks of a Daesh exercise, by ISIL, but more information will emerge. We believe currently that over 200 people have been injured and over 120 have been killed.

We cannot confirm whether any Australians have been killed or injured in this attack at this moment but there are many Australians in Paris. Our Embassy is working very hard to ascertain their safety.

Those concerned about their loved ones in France, or in Paris in particular, should contact the DFAT, the Department of Foreign Affairs consular numbers.

Now, can I say in terms of the domestic security situation in Australia, we have discussed this at considerable length today in what is the early hours of the morning here in Germany, where I am at the moment.

The advice I have from the Federal Police and from ASIO is that the alert level remains as it has been since September last year. The security agencies do not believe that there is any evidence at the moment to justify any increase in that alert level. So we should be reassured by that.

But above all, we should be reassured, Australians should be reassured, that we have the finest security agencies in the world. We have a government that is utterly committed to protecting the safety of Australians at home and so far as we can abroad.

We are working very closely with security agencies in other countries, of course , particularly now with the security agencies in France. And we are ensuring that Australians are protected in our own country by updated counter-terrorism legislation, as has been seen in the Parliament last week.

Protecting Australians, protecting freedom, is a global battle. It is a global struggle for freedom against those who seek to suppress it and seek to assert some form of religious tyranny; a threat in the name of God but is truthfully the work of the devil.

Australians are solid in their support for freedom, we are solid in our support for the people of France. They have our thoughts and prayers at this terrible time.

But above all, they have, as they have had on so many other occasions, the absolute solidarity and commitment of the Australian people to support them and all free nations in this battle against terrorism.



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