We Cannot Be Complacent: Malcolm Turnbull On Orlando Shootings

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has responded to the overnight shootings in Orlando, Florida, in which 50 people were shot and at least as many more injured.

Turnbull described the killings as “an act of terror and an act of hate”.

Later in the day, after he had spoken to the US Ambassador to Australia, John Berry, Turnbull said: “This was a murderous attack on gay people in this nightclub. Many people of course could be victim of an attack like that. We don’t have all the details but it was clearly directed by a murderous hatred of gay people exercising their freedom to gather together.”

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Statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

We are all shocked and deeply saddened at the worst mass shooting in American history, which took place in Orlando Florida overnight.

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, has described it as an act of terror and an act of hate.

We offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to the dead, the wounded, their families and their loved ones.

This attack, which has killed at least 50 people in a gay night club and injured as many more, is an attack on the gay community and it is an attack on all of us – on all our freedoms, the freedom to gather together, to celebrate, to share time with friends.

I have spoken this morning with the United States Ambassador to Australia, John Berry, and formally conveyed to him Australians’ sympathy, condolences and resolute solidarity in the face of this shocking act of hate and terror.

In times of such horrific, senseless violence it is natural to reflect on our own safety and security.

Our intelligence and security agencies are among the most professional and vigilant in the world. We have implemented stronger laws to give them the tools they need to keep us safe. They have disrupted 9 terrorist attacks in Australia since September 2014.

We are rigorous in our efforts to ensure that guns are not illegally imported into Australia and that our strong gun control laws are strictly enforced.

And we all work hard to preserve the mutual respect that makes us one of the most liberal and diverse multicultural countries in the world.

But we cannot be complacent.

There are people outside our country, and some within it, who hate the freedoms that we enjoy and would seek to threaten them and undermine them with violence.

I know that I speak for all Australians when I say that we stand in resolute solidarity with the people of the United States. Together, at home and abroad, we continue the fight against terrorism and stand up for the values of our free nations.

Transcript of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull doorstop in Townsville.

TURNBULL: Since we returned from Magnetic Island I’ve had the opportunity to speak with John Berry the United States Ambassador to Australia and convey to him directly the condolences, the sympathies and the resolute solidarity of the Australian people in the face of this murderous attack, an attack of hate and an act of terror in Orlando, Florida in the gay nightclub in Orlando overnight.

This was a murderous attack on gay people in this nightclub. Many people of course could be victim of an attack like that. We don’t have all the details but it was clearly directed by a murderous hatred of gay people exercising their freedom to gather together.

John Berry the Ambassador and his partner Curtis feel this attack personally as well, in his capacity as Ambassador to the United States. John told me how he has many friends in Florida. He does not know whether they were caught up in this attack.

This is a vile attack on freedom, but as I said earlier, it is an attack on freedom of all of us, on every single one of us. This is an attack by somebody who hates the freedoms that we enjoy in our free societies. That’s why we stand in solidarity with the people of the United States.

We know that Daesh or ISIL have claimed credit for this attack.

There is some evidence that the killer was linked with Islamist extremism. That is not yet settled. So as I said – further will be known as the facts become clear, but what is clear is that this is a shocking assault on freedom. In this case on assault on people gathering together in a gay nightclub exercising their legal rights to gather together just as we all exercise our legal rights to do so, and should be entitled to do so without fear of being gunned down.

There is no place for any tolerance of extremism. It is something that we stand against at home and abroad, whether in the Middle East with the United States and our allies, or here at home where our intelligence agencies, our police services, our security services, are relentless and rigorous in ensuring that we keep Australians safe.

JOURNALIST: In the hours after the attack Donald Trump sent out a Tweet essentially claiming vindication for his anti-Muslim message. What’s your response to that?

TURNBULL: Look I’m not going to buy into commenting on American politics. I would simply say that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States on this day today in solidarity and as we do in the Middle East and as our intelligence services cooperate every hour of every day in the battle against extremism in the battle against terrorism.

JOURNALIST: Could I take you to something different on national broadband policy? Labor has announced their policy. They have embraced among other things the use of HFC. Could I trouble you for your opinion as a former Communications Minister so involved in this?

TURNBULL: Yes. Well I noticed that we’ve seen another example today of Shortenomics which as you know is distinguished by being very short on economics. I see that Labor has said that they are going to extend more fibre to the premises but it’s not going to cost any more. This is what one might call in political terms an ‘oldie but a not so goodie.’ Remember Kevin Rudd said in the last election that only Kevin Rudd can deliver broadband to your home for free? That was one of Labor’s policies. The truth is that Labor completely mismanaged and bungled the NBN. It was a hopelessly failed project until we took over, until we put in new management, allowed them to develop a new business plan and execute it. They’ve beaten all their targets. They haven’t just met them they’ve beaten all their targets since the new management took charge. Do you know in the last month, just in the last month, the NBN connected more premises than Labor did in six years? We connected more premises to high-speed broadband with the NBN in the last month than Labor did in six years. Now they have no credibility on this issue. They hopelessly mismanaged the project. They wasted billions. What they are talking about today will have only one consequence – that it will cost a lot more and it will take a lot longer. This project is being rolled out. It will shortly be available, very shortly, within weeks, be available at a quarter of all Australian premises and two years later it will be available at three quarters and within a year or so of that by 2019-20 it will be complete. It is forging ahead. Remember we have connected more premises in the last month than Labor did in six years of Government. They have no credibility on this issue.

JOURNALIST: On the stadium can you please elaborate on the conditions around the Coalition’s $100 million commitment?

TURNBULL: Yes. My Government’s Cities Policy is a very big departure from previous Federal Governments’ approach to cities. It is designed to ensure that the Federal Government works constructively and effectively and every agency of the Federal Government works together in a coordinated way with both State Government and city Government in respect of a particular city – in this case, the great city of Townsville, where we are today, or indeed with respect to a region. The idea is to have a City Deal. This is what we are offering the first City Deal under our Cities Policy which we announced some time ago. What this will involve is the city. Townsville city, state Government, and the Federal Government, agreeing on the objectives to develop Townsville to ensure that it is an even more liveable, even more vibrant, even more industrious city, that there’s more job and more growth here and to ensure that having reached agreement on those objectives that we then make sure that all of our investments are coordinated to that end. There has been a lot what I would call adhockery in the way in which governments have invested in cities; some money for this, a road here a bridge there, some investment in a new development somewhere else. You need to bring everybody together. This was pioneered I might say by the British Government, by David Cameron’s government. You would bring in here in Townsville, for example, you obviously bring in local business – that’s why I’m meeting with Townsville enterprise shortly with Ewen the Federal Member – and you would also bring in the university, James Cook University. You get everybody around and you say right how are we going to develop this city? How are we going to make sure that this is more than just a stadium? This is a new development that brings in business that takes advantage, for example, of the land in the city that is going to be made available once the other big commitment that we’ve made – we’ve made a number of very big commitments in Townsville as you know but one very recently – which is to bring the rail line around to the port and take it out of the centre of the city. As you know living here, the rail line currently divides the city, bringing it around the city to the east. What that frees up is a lot of land in the centre of town. How is that going to be used in order to enhance the growth and development here? This is very exciting. It is the first time a Federal Government has looked at cities in a holistic way. Our cities, the big capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane, are of course enormous, but a city like Townsville, 170,000 people, this is a big city, and it needs vision, it needs support, it needs coordination, and that is what I’m determined to support here with our City Deal for Townsville.

JOURNALIST: Is this a template that could be used for other cities as well?

TURNBULL: Absolutely. You’re absolutely right. This is just the first. What we want to do is ensure that every city – this can apply to a region as well – but every city has a city, we have a City Deal in place, so that you have – we’re not, by the way, I’m not proposing to have the Federal Government starting to plan cities, believe me. But what I want to ensure is that our investments are coordinated so if for example we are focused on some urban renewal in a particular part of a city, make sure that as the Federal Government is looking at where its agencies are going to be located, it’s having regard to that. There are a lot of ships passing in the night not communicating with each other, with respect to cities policy. It’s vital to pull them together so that they’re talking, they’re around the same table and that’s what we’re committed to do.

JOURNALIST: The stadium only gets built if the Cities Plan is agreed to all by parties and that would include I think $130 million in private investment of some sort?

TURNBULL: Well it’s on the basis that we will have a City Deal but we’re very confident we can do that. I think both the city Government and the State Government will be highly motivated given the amount of money we’re prepared to put behind it. They’ve already seen the commitment we’ve made of well over $100 million to the Townsville Eastern Access Rail Corridor.

JOURNALIST: Has a cost benefit analysis been done on the stadium?

TURNBULL: Thank you. The focus has got to be on the overall development. This is part of the problem. Look this is why – I don’t – I’ve outlined this Cities Policy before but this is the first City Deal that we are actually proposing to do right here in one particular city. It is a radical departure from the way federal governments have approached cities policy in the past. So this is very much my vision, my Government’s vision, it’s a new vision to ensure that we are much more coordinated with State Government and local Government as opposed to simply announcing – giving money for this or that in a rather adhoc way. Overall the benefits of coordinated development are very considerable. Look all cities, the more progressive cities round the world are seeking to do something like this. This is not – this is a new step for the Australian Federal Government, it wouldn’t be regarded as revolutionary in many other parts of the world.

JOURNALIST: Labor said the preference the Greens, the Liberals…

TURNBULL: You’re surprised by this? They are both left-wing parties. They sail together.

JOURNALIST: Labor’s set to preference the Greens across the country and run open tickets in South Australia. You said yesterday that by preferencing Labor above the Greens was in the national interest. What does this decision by Labor today say about them?

TURNBULL: I am not going to run a commentary on the Labor Party. I would simply say this; that the choice is very clear at this election. It is between my Government, a stable Coalition Government with a clear national economic plan that will drive stronger growth and more jobs. A good example of that is our Cities Policy clearly focused on ensuring that when we make investments in infrastructure, we do so in a coordinated way that will deliver a better cost benefit outcome. That’s the whole purpose and also deliver more liveable cities. The aim is – cities are built for people, right? And they’ve got to be – all too often that’s forgotten. We have to make sure our cities respond better and serve the needs of their residents better. The way you do that is by ensuring that you have a vision, you have a plan, a clear plan for where you want to go to, a city plan and then you have a deal between the levels of government to work together to achieve that. Now that’s all part of our national economic plan. It’s

quite clear. That’s one choice; stable government, national economic plan driving jobs and growth. On the other hand what we have is the alternative of chaos; a return to the Labor-Greens-Independent minority government steering further and further to the left. So that’s why we are putting the Greens last or certainly behind Labor because we want Australians to understand there’s a very clear choice – the Government I lead with a clear plan, stable government, forging ahead. On the other hand the chaos of the Labor Party and of course Shortenomics getting shorter and shorter on economics every day.

JOURNALIST: Does it increase the chances of a hung Parliament which someone said this morning was the whole idea of preferencing the Greens after Labor?

TURNBULL: We are focused on a stable government, my Government, majority government, the alternative is the chaos of Labor, Greens and Independents. As I said yesterday you have some of the band seeking to get back together. You have Rob Oakeshott seeking to make a comeback. Tony Windsor is seeking to make a comeback. Are we really going to go back to that? You have fantasy economics from Mr Shorten. We’ve seen what he’s said about the deficit. They owned up – what about the way they couldn’t even speak the words? They said ‘we will have less fiscal contraction than the Coalition.’ What they meant was we will run bigger deficits. They finally owned up to say they’ll run bigger deficits for four years and then miraculously because of the magic of Shortenomics they will still bounce into balance in the fifth year. It’s a bit like the magical thinking with respect to the NBN. They’re going to extend more fibre which obviously means more civil construction, more work, more materials, more digging, more civil work, so hence a lot more cost and a lot more time, but miraculously Shortenomics magic works again and it doesn’t cost any more. Come on. They continue to take Australians for mugs. What they have done with NBN just as they’ve done with the Budget has demonstrated that Shortenomics is very short on economics.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]…proponents who’ve been calling for the stadium to be supported by the Coalition for quite some time. Is it a strategic move to announce this before pre-polling opens and are you afraid you’re going to lose the seat of Herbert here to Labor?

TURNBULL: I’m committed to ensuring that we have a great outcome for people of Townsville. This is the key. Townsville is a city. It’s a great city. It could be greater still, it will be greater still, because we’ll be supporting the people of Townsville with Ewen as our Federal Member here, with City Council, with the State Government, with the university, with business, we will be getting behind all of those parties, all of those stakeholders, to ensure that there is a commitment to a strong development vision for Townsville, one that goes beyond just one, nonetheless very important, but just one particular element of infrastructure. So on that note, thank you very all very much.

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