Melissa Clarke: … I'm joined by the Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Steve Ciobo. Thanks very much for joining us today.
Steven Ciobo: Pleasure Melissa.
Melissa Clarke: … The Prime Minister having confirmed an Australian was killed in that terrorist attack in Tunisia. How concerned should Australians be about their safety when they're travelling overseas? Steven Ciobo: I mean, look there's up to a million Australians living overseas any year. Australian's are great lovers of adventure and great lovers of travel. We of course need to be mindful that we live in a more dangerous age unfortunately. The government's rolled out of course, a $670 million package in terms of national security. There's only so much, in terms of limited ability that we can have influence in international different countries overseas, so that's a challenge. Australians need to be alert, but not alarmed, and unfortunately here our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the dual Australian Columbian citizen who was from New South Wales, but who died.
Melissa Clarke: Is it concerning that this terrorist attack took place in Tunisia, which is one country in the Middle East, North Africa area which had been seen to perhaps be more stable and a safer
place than many of its other neighbors?
Steven Ciobo: Well unfortunately we are seeing a bit of a rise in the number of radicalised Islamic elements throughout the Middle East and North Africa. You know we have Boko Haram, we've got of course Daesh or ISIL in the Middle East. There are unfortunately ongoing, more than pockets, areas of land where they're very active and this is a real ongoing threat. The problem that comes from these radicalised groups is of course they spread that message as well. We've seen that in terms of that pitch being made to predominately young Australian men, who unfortunately are picking up on some of those concepts, and that is part and parcel of what causes a threat here in Australia.
Melissa Clarke: Moving to another area in your portfolio, but a very different one. The response to Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, the Australian government is certainly putting a lot of effort into trying to support Vanuatu. Given the extent of the damage, how long do you estimate that contribution is going to need to be made? Steven Ciobo: Well I think for as long as is required. We’re a close friend of Vanuatu. The pacific is of course our neighborhood; I think it's very important that Australia plays a key role in that regard.
We've got about 155 volunteers in Vanuatu that are playing a role. We've got a 27 person team, a medical assistance team to help run a 40 bed, effectively hospital ward over there to help with triage and all those types of requirements. We've got another 27 people, sorry another 56 people I should say, in an urban search and rescue effort as well. We are lending a lot of support and I think we stay there until the jobs done.
Melissa Clarke: … Steve Ciobo, thanks very much.
Steven Ciobo: Pleasure.
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