Mongel dog cop killers get eye-balled by colleagues, family and friends of slain police officer Bryson Anderson and ball their eyes out.
By court reporter Karl Hoerr
One by one, those closest to Bryson Anderson rose to speak at the sentencing hearing for Mitchell and Fiona Barbieri.
The 45-year-old Detective Inspector was fatally stabbed during a siege of a home at Oakville in Sydney’s north-west.
His 13-year-old son told the court he has been denied the rite of passage of having his father teach him to shave.
“I had to learn this skill alone, without him by my side,” he said.
He spoke about his difficulties enjoying cricket, something he used to share with his father.
You should save the tears that you have shed from the dock. You will not be forgivenBryson Anderson’s brother, Warwick Anderson
His mother, Fiona Barbieri, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of mental illness and showed little emotion.
The officer’s brother, Warwick Anderson, addressed Mitchell Barbieri directly.
“You should save the tears that you have shed from the dock. You will not be forgiven,” Mr Anderson said.
Widow Donna Anderson said she had lost her best friend.
“I never contemplated how it would feel to be on the other side of a police investigation,” she said.
Colleagues who witnessed the attack spoke of their guilt and extreme difficulty returning to work.
Sergeant Adam Fitzgibbon said: “At times, I question myself. How did I let this happen to Bryson?”
Senior Constable Neil Constable said Detective Anderson had praised his work just hours before he was murdered.
“He told me to keep it up and keep locking up the crooks,” he said.
Justice Robert Allan Hulme appeared visibly moved by the statements.
“It’s simply astounding that such a senseless act can have so many victims,” he said.
The sentencing hearing continues.
Mother and son to stand trial for stabbing murder of Sydney police officer Bryson Anderson
A mother and son have been committed to stand trial for the stabbing murder of Sydney police officer Bryson Anderson.
Fiona Barbieri, 46, and her 20-year-old son Mitchell Barbieri are accused of killing Detective Inspector Anderson when he was called to a neighbourhood dispute at Oakville in Sydney’s north-west in 2012.
They are charged with murder and wounding with intent to resist arrest.
In Central Local Court magistrate Chris O’Brien has ordered them to stand trial in February 2014.
Police say they went to the property in December 2012 after an urgent call from a neighbour.
The officer was one of a large contingent of police called to the Oakfield home to attend a heated dispute between neighbours.
They say the Barbieri’s fired arrows at them from the house.
Officers say when the Detective Inspector tried to negotiate with them he was stabbed in the neck by Mitchell Barbieri and his mother Fiona Barbieri hit the officer with a hammer.
Magistrate O’Brien said after hearing the evidence there is a “reasonable prospect” a jury would “convict the accused”.
The mother and son have not yet entered a plea to the charges but will be required to in February.
Outside court members of his family told reporters they are pleased the Barbieri’s will stand trial.
Police officer in tears
During the committal hearing today police officer Constable Hannah Watson broke down in tears while giving evidence.
She told the hearing she thought her duty officer had been punched, because she could not see a weapon in Mitchell Barbieri’s hand.
When the officer began sobbing the court was adjourned to allow her to compose herself.
One officer described Fiona Barbieri screaming at police to leave, using foul language.
In court two new charges of resisting arrest were laid against the mother and son.
‘He deserves to f****** die': Court hears how police-killing mother and son shouted as their victim died… before emailing Russian president Vladimir Putin demanding asylum
- Fiona Barbieri, and her son Mitchell, pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson in 2012
- Following her arrest, Fiona defended their actions as self-defence during a police interview
- The Barbieris had also sent emails to Tony Abbott and Mr Putin, saying: ‘We have every right to defend ourselves, our family and our property’
- Inspector Anderson died after he was stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell Barbieri following a siege at their rural Oakville property
- As he lay dying, the court heard that Fiona was heard yelling, ‘it’s his own f****** fault… he deserves to f****** die’
- His family remember him as a larrikin with a great sense of humour
- He also volunteered as a firefighter and in the Special Olympics
A Sydney mother, who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a police officer in 2012, sent emails to the Prime Minister and the Russian President in which she defended herself and demanded asylum.
Fiona Barbieri, 47, and her 21-year-old son Mitchell, attended their sentencing hearing in Sydney’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, where the full details surrounding the death of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson were revealed.
Inspector Anderson died after he was fatally stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell Barbieri following a siege at a rural Oakville property in Sydney’s north-west on December 6, 2012.
The police interview of Fiona Barbieri after her arrest in 2012, following the death of a policeman at her property in Sydney’s north-west, was shown to Sydney’s Supreme Court on Wednesday
The 41-year-old and her 21-year-old son Mitchell (pictured) pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson
During a police interview following the Barbieri’s arrests in 2012, the 47-year-old mother who is believed to have been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, told officers that Inspector Anderson had been killed in self-defence before demanding asylum in Russia.
In the footage of the police interview attained by Channel Nine, Fiona is heard saying: ‘what happened at our house today, where we were ambushed by an army of police officers, was self-defence.’
She is then handed a telephone by the officers who allow her to call the consulate, to whom she says: ‘It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia.’
According to Channel Nine, Fiona was advised by the consulate to forward her request via email, after which she refused to answer further questions from the policemen.
In the police interview, Fiona is handed a telephone after demanding asylum in Russia. Police allowed her to call the consulate, to whom she says: ‘It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia’
‘We are living here in convict Australia, corrupt convict Australia, and we have been doing our best to get out,’ she told officers.
‘The New South Wales police force is corrupt – that is what we have been standing up against and that is why we are in here today.’
Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Fiona and her son had been embroiled in a long-running dispute with their neighbour, which had been fuelled by Ms Barbieri’s paranoia.
On December 6, the tension spiralled out of control when the Barbieris spotted that Mr Waters was installing flood lights on his property.
Fiona – swinging a baseball bat – and Mitchell – armed with a crossbow – confronted the electricians working for Mr Waters.
Mitchell fired two arrows, narrowly missing them both, before he and his mother retreated into their home.
As the first police arrived, the court heard the Barbieris sent an email to a number of politicians, including then opposition leader Tony Abbott and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying: ‘We have every right to defend ourselves, our family and our property.’
Just over an hour later, it had become a ‘siege situation’ with Fiona and Mitchell screaming at police to ‘f*** off’.
Det Insp Anderson ordered the door to be kicked in and was stabbed twice by Mitchell – once in the cheek and fatally to the chest, Mr Tedeschi said.
As he lay dying, the court heard that Fiona was heard screaming, ‘it’s his own f****** fault.. he fucking deserved it… let the dog c*** die… he deserves to f****** die’.
The policemans wife Donna, said her husband absolutely adored their three children
Bryson Anderson with his wife Donna and children from left to right – Darcy, Cain and Olivia
On the morning they were due to stand trial last week, Mitchell pleaded guilty to the officer’s murder, while his mother – who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia – pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of substantial impairment.
Under legislation passed before parliament, a person convicted of the murder of a police officer while on duty faces a mandatory life sentence.
But Mr Tedeschi said this was not a situation where life imprisonment should apply as Mitchell was influenced by his mother’s delusions.
‘He (Mitchell) had been under the influence of his mother … and her delusions had to some degree been transferred to him,’ Mr Tedeschi said.
Olivia, Cain and Darcy could not speak highly enough of their deceased father
Instead, he said the crown would be seeking a ‘very lengthy’ sentence.
Earlier in the month, Inspector Anderson’s family honoured the man who was a much-loved husband and father of three.
Bryson’s widow Donna Anderson and their three children Olivia, Darcy and Cain could not wipe the smiles off their faces when they told fond stories of how Bryson was always the larrikin of the family.
‘There was the policeman side to him which was incredibly serious – he took his job very seriously -but there was the family side of him where he was just the clown in every family gathering,’ Donna told Channel Nine’s ACA.
‘He just absolutely adored his kids,’ she said. He was a typical dad – he loved dad jokes and if he could embarrass the kids in front of their friends that was even better.’
Police officers and family attend the funeral of the slain officer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta in 2012
The family privately continue to struggle with their loss, and it will be some time before they finally come to terms with the tragedy
His three children could not speak highly enough of their father.
‘He would totally just love life – it was awesome,’ his only daughter Olivia said. ‘Yes, he liked to embarrass us.’
His eldest son, Darcy said he was a great dad who was always a joker.
‘He photo bombed a lot – my first cricket game in my photo – he was in the background,’ he said.
‘Cricket is my life – me and dad built the pitch out the front in 2003 I think.’
‘We got tonnes of dirt and just rolled it and got it all padded down and I just keep mowing it in.’
‘He would totally just love life – it was awesome,’ his only daughter Olivia (left) said. ‘Yes, he liked to embarrass us’
Bryson’s family described him as a joker who had a great sense of humour
‘He was always a joker – he photo-bombed a lot,’ his youngest son Cain said.
While being dedicated to his family and career, he also managed to squeeze in volunteering with the Special Olympics, travelling to Vanuatu to give gifts to children and also volunteering as a firefighter.
‘He would come home from the police sometimes he would only be there for an hours or so and then the bells would go off and he would go out to a fire call and he did that for nine years,’ Donna said.
During the committal hearing last year, a number of police officers broke down as they recalled the murder.
At Detective Inspector Anderson’s 2012 funeral, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the decorated officer was admired by his fellow officers for his tenacity and determination, as well as his empathy and compassion.
‘He showed initiative and leadership; intelligence and perseverance; dedication and humility; and, memorably, a ready smile and an engaging way.
‘Bryson drew people to him, without guile and without effort.’
The matter will return to court later this month.
Mother and son Fiona and Mitchell Barbieri plead not guilty to Sydney policeman Bryson Anderson’s murder
Fiona and Mitchell Barbieri formally entered their pleas in the NSW Supreme Court this morning ahead of their trial later this year.
The 46-year-old and her 20-year-old son were charged after the death of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson at Oakville on Sydney’s north-western outskirts in December 2012.
Inspector Anderson was part of a large contingent of police called to attend a heated neighbourhood dispute.
Police say the Barbieri’s fired arrows at them from their house.
Inspector Anderson then tried to negotiate with the pair for several minutes, when he was allegedly stabbed in the neck by Mitchell Barbieri and hit with a hammer by Fiona Barbieri.
The 45-year-old officer was rushed by paramedics to Windsor Hospital but died soon afterwards.
The Barbieris have also pleaded not guilty to additional charges laid late last year of wounding with intent to resist arrest.
In an earlier hearing a fellow officer who witnessed Inspector Anderson’s death broke down in court as she recalled the events.
Constable Hannah Watson told the court she initially thought her duty officer had been punched, because she could not see a weapon in Mitchell Barbieri’s hand.
Mother, son admit to killing police officer Bryson Anderson
A mother and son have pleaded guilty to killing a New South Wales police officer called to their home in Sydney’s north-west.
According to police, Mitchell Barbieri, 21, and his 47-year-old mother, Fiona, barricaded themselves inside their Oakville home when New South Wales police officer Bryson Anderson responded to an urgent call from neighbours in December 2012.
They say the pair fired arrows at the officer and attacked the 45-year-old with a knife and a hammer.
Mitchell Barbieri pleaded guilty to murdering Anderson, while Fiona Barbieri pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Prosecutors accepted her guilty plea to the lesser charge because she had “a substantial impairment brought about by an abnormality of mind” at the time.
The pair made their pleas in the Supreme Court the day their six-week trial was due to start.
They will return to court next week for a sentencing hearing.
Anderson, who held the rank of Detective Inspector, was one of several officers who attended the Barbieris’ home after reports of a feud between neighbours.
Colleagues say that when he tried to negotiate with the family, he was stabbed in the neck by Mitchel Barbieri and hit with a hammer by his mother.
EVENTS CAN BE FOUND HERE http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/events
All women live in safety free from all forms of men’s violence.
Making women’s safety a man’s issue too.
Globally, White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. Originating in Canada in 1991, White Ribbon is now active in more than 60 countries.
White Ribbon Australia observes the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, annually on November 25. White Ribbon Day signals the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (December 10).
Thousands march in Melbourne against family violence amid calls for health officials to do more
One woman is killed by a violent partner each week in Australia.
Two of the leading figures in the fight against family violence, Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay and Rosie Batty, led more than 1,000 people through the streets of Melbourne today in a march to stop violence against women.
On the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Mr Lay said Australia could not arrest its way out of the situation.
“I think that for far too long family violence and resolving family violence has been left in the hands of police,” he said.
“We cannot simply arrest our way out of this. We need to change attitudes, it’s in the schooling, it’s in families.
“Clearly, fathers and mothers have got a responsibility to teach their children about gender inequity, teach their children to treat each other decently.
“They are partly responsible for this, no doubt.”
There were also calls for doctors and health officials to do much more to stop family violence, with new research published in The Lancet.
Professor Kelsey Hegarty, who co-authored the Lancet paper, is a GP and the head of primary care at the University of Melbourne’s Department of General Practice.
She said the health system needed to be more focussed and streamlined when it came to addressing family violence.
“What we’re really looking for health professionals to do is provide a first line response that listens, validates, acknowledges what women and girls have been through in terms of violence against women and provides them with a pathway to safety and healing,” she said.
“To do that we need to strengthen the role of the health sector.”
Health sector ‘lacks awareness, training’ in family violence
In January 2013 Professor Hegarty called for GPs to be trained to recognise signs of domestic violence.
Since then, she said the health system had been slow to recognise the need for change.
“I think there’s been a large movement in the awareness in community campaigns with the development of Our Watch and other activities through White Ribbon,” she said.
“So I think people are becoming more aware that domestic violence or family violence is a problem in our community.
“What we haven’t found is the health sector responding.
We haven’t got very large awareness as a result of a lack of training among health care providers.Professor Kelsey Hegarty
“We haven’t got regular training or supervisional mentorship in medical nursing or public health or other curricular on a regular basis.
“We haven’t got very large awareness as a result of a lack of training among health care providers.”
Professor Hegarty said substantial system and behavioural barriers existed in the health system.
“We haven’t got an enabling policy environment,” she said.
The Lancet paper examined five country case studies, including India and Spain, and how they responded and dealt with family violence.
Professor Hegarty said developing low-income countries such as India had made progress in addressing family violence in conjunction with their HIV-AIDs strategy.
“In fact, it’s been interesting to look at people who have done violence interventions attached to health interventions for HIV,” she said.
“That’s been showing some promise in a way we haven’t had those epidemics like that, and therefore I think health has been a little bit behind.”
She said Australia had a large focus on the national plan, which has been excellent to prevent violence against women and children.
“(But) it needs a whole spectrum across the ecological model from the community,” she added.
“(An) ecological model goes from a community to an individual, and often a health practitioner is seeing someone at an individual level. We need everybody to be activated.”
White Ribbon Day sparks more than 1,000 events across Australia in campaign against domestic violence
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has praised the involvement of Australia’s military in White Ribbon Day, saying it sends a signal that strong men protect others and do not condone domestic violence.
Speaking at a White Ribbon Day function in Canberra, Mr Abbott said shocking statistics associated with domestic violence crimes prompted the Government to allocate $100 million as part of an action plan to combat violence against women.
“It’s really good to see the participation of our armed forces in White Ribbon Day … because the presence of our armed forces, the presence of our police is a sign that tough, strong men protect others, they don’t persecute them. That the toughest and the strongest men are peacemakers, not brutes,” he said.
“Every week a woman dies somewhere in our country in a domestic context. One woman in three will experience violence at some stage of her life.
“One woman in five will experience sexual violence at some stage in her life. It’s just wrong. It must stop,” he said.
“Government has a role to play, that’s why this Government is investing some $100 million in our Second Action Plan to combat violence against women.”
Army chief Lieutenant-General David Morrison told a White Ribbon breakfast in Adelaide stories about the ANZAC spirit also needed a greater focus on the women who were involved.
He said many stories about World War I focused on stories about Anglo Saxon men.
“Unless they’re (women) included in the story, I think what we run the risk of is compounding this idea that Australia is a man’s country, a man’s world, where men get ahead,” he said.
“Men are promoted on their potential, women are only ever promoted on their proven performance. I don’t think we’re going to progress as a nation if that’s the case.”
Luke Batty death brought issue home for victims
White Ribbon ambassador John Caldwell told the ABC’s Breakfast program the tragic death of 11-year-old Luke Batty at the hands of his father earlier this year had brought the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.
“When I saw his (Luke’s) photo and I thought, ‘that could have been me,’ and never before have I really thought of myself as one of the lucky ones, but that made me feel like I was one of the lucky ones,” Mr Caldwell said.
Mr Caldwell was nominated as Australian of the Year for Victoria in 2014 and said the nomination of Luke’s mother Rosie Batty for Australian of the Year in 2015 helped to highlight why the issue of domestic violence should be taken seriously.
It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours.White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies.
“I grew up in Melbourne in a house that was plagued by domestic violence,” he said.
“I guess as a kid hiding under the bed I always felt so helpless and now as an adult, I don’t need to. I get to take back the power that I lost as a kid, but also to educate other children that you don’t have to stay silent yourself.
“Even for kids, there are people you can talk to. As a child, hiding under a bed hearing screams outside and not sure what you will find when you eventually walk out – I used to liken it to, as the eye of a cyclone. It would go quiet. Is it safe to go out? And then it erupts again.”
Mr Caldwell said nobody came to help despite people knowing what was happening and White Ribbon Day was about breaking that silence.
“It was known what was going on outside of the house and nobody would do anything, and that’s why White Ribbon Day is so important, because it is a male-led campaign,” he said.
White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies said more than 1,000 events would be held across Australia to promote White Ribbon Day, including a walk through Melbourne’s CBD by members of both the Melbourne and Richmond Football Clubs as part of the Walk Against Family Violence.
“It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours,” she said.
NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said several hundred people, mostly men, had marched from Randwick to Coogee in Sydney’s east in an event co-hosted with Randwick Council this morning.
He said those present, including many police officers, pledged an oath to help reduce violence against women.
“The oath is all about never ever condoning or committing acts of violence against women in any form. It’s about having those conversations with men acting as role models for other men,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said domestic violence cases were the single biggest crime police attended.
Phone app hidden function to protect domestic violence victims
In a bid to help protect victims of domestic violence, a free Australian mobile phone app was been launched in time for White Ribbon Day.
Buzz News looks like a regular news app on a mobile phone, but has a hidden function that allows people to secretly contact friends and call for help.
Developed by the Lisa Harnum Foundation, the app was named after the woman who was murdered by her partner Simon Gittany in Sydney in 2011.
Foundation executive director Aileen Mountifield said the phone app could save lives.
“If a perpetrator is used to checking his partner’s phone all that will come up is news, entertainment news, sports news, local news, national news,” she said.
“So that’s a deterrent hopefully that he won’t go to the help button because under the help button she would have stored her safe contacts, so if in distress all she has to do is open the app and press send.”
Legislation announced today has been named Daniel’s Law after Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe, who was murdered in 2003 by a convicted sex offender on parole.
Although details have not been finalised, it was believed all of the information published about a sex offender would be publicly accessible.
The NT Criminal Lawyers Association slammed the idea, saying naming and shaming made it harder for offenders to rehabilitate without making anyone safer.
Western Australia has an online sex register but access has several tiers of restrictions.
It is not yet clear how approximate the location information for the NT register will be. Mr Elferink said the website would include the “regional whereabouts”.
We truly hope that the introduction of Daniel’s Law will prevent another family going through the pain and grief we experienced following Daniel’s death.Bruce and Denise Morcombe
“We’ll list them by geographical region reasonably close to where [people] live. It is not a system of exact addresses,” he said.
“They will be able to see who the sexual predators are in the community. They’ll be able to recognise the sexual predators and protect their children.
“We believe that the public’s right to know takes precedence over the privacy concerns for serious sex offenders.
“The initiative will allow individuals and families to familiarise themselves with important details and be more vigilant about named serious sex offenders living in and around the area.”
Daniel’s Law modelled on Megan’s Law in US
The NT chose to pursue its own legislation after a proposed national sex offenders register was knocked back at the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting, according to Mr Elferink.
“From our perspective if it’s not done at a Commonwealth level then we’re going to do it in the NT and proudly so,” he said.
“Does a government make this information available or not? The answer from the NT is ‘yes, yes we do’.
“There is no guarantee a website would have protected Daniel. We know we should pull out all stops as a society and as a community to create for parents an environment to protect their children.”
He said the NT system would be modelled on Megan’s Law in the United States – the informal name for sex offender registration and community notification laws, which have been passed at US federal and state levels.
However, unlike Megan’s Law, Daniel’s Law will not list offenders’ exact address.
The Attorney-General said the Government had not yet decided on the definition of “serious sex offender”.
“We’ll create a definition which is appropriate and then have further flexible arrangements to make sure the right people are placed on our serious sex offenders website.”
He said parents were in a better position to protect their child when they were armed with detailed information.
“While the Northern Territory Police will continue to track and monitor around 200 sex offenders in the community, this tool is designed to deliver information to the community about the most serious offenders in an easy, user-friendly way,” he said.
‘You’d hate to be the last state to have a register’
Daniel’s parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe, who have been calling for the introduction of a national child sex offender register, said they hoped the NT register would spread across the country.
“Of course sometimes one can imagine the paedophiles and the predators on the NT sex offenders register may well not want to be in the NT any longer,” Mr Morcombe said.
“They may migrate to other states and territories.
“You’d hate to be the last state to have a sex offenders register up and running. You’re going to get truckloads of people you don’t want in your state.”
The couple, who were in Darwin for the announcement, said they commended the NT’s decision.
“The NT has taken a leadership step,” Mr Morcombe said. “They were the first to do so.
“This is for ordinary Australians. It is to get the good people at arms length from the predators.
“We want protection for our kids.
“Daniel’s Law we are confident will assist in the mission to make sure kids of Australia are safe.
“We think it is breathtakingly simple but at the end of the day will make a massive difference for children right around the country.
“I am sure the feedback from that will migrate to other states and they’ll say, ‘Why not us?'”
Daniel disappeared when he was 13 while waiting for a bus at Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in 2003.
His remains were found in bushland eight years later.
His convicted killer, Brett Peter Cowan, had a long history of sexually abusing children.
He had been arrested and sentenced in 1989 for two years in jail after molesting a boy in a public toilets.
Four years later, while living in a caravan park in Darwin, Cowan attacked a six-year-old boy. He later pleaded guilty to gross indecency, grievous bodily harm and deprivation of liberty.
He was sentenced to seven years’ jail and released on parole four years later.
‘Terrible idea will turn people into vigilantes’
Public online sex registers make it harder for offenders to rehabilitate, increase the chance they will re-offend, and do not make anyone safer, according to NT Criminal Lawyers Association president Russell Goldflam.
He said the NT Government’s proposal was “terrible”.
From our perspective if it’s not done at a Commonwealth level then we’re going to do it in the NT and proudly so. Does a government make this information available or not? The answer from the NT is ‘yes, yes we do’.John Elferink, NT Attorney-General
“Laws like this have been tried in the US, mainly over the last couple of decades,” he said. “They don’t result in anyone being safer or the level of recidivism being decreased.
“There are some real costs. They are expensive to run but more importantly is they can get in the way of people being rehabilitated.
“This can result in people going underground instead of engaging with those who can assist them to stop reoffending
“In a place like the the NT we expect anyone who is going to be put on the register will leave the NT and go somewhere else. That doesn’t help anybody. It just makes it harder to keep track of them.”
He said the system would further stigmatise, prejudice and stereotype convicted sex offenders.
“A very significant range of laws operate to protect the community from people who may be at risk of reoffending,” he said. “There is already a register, already a provision for for identifying offenders, already laws to detain serious repeat sex offenders.
“Where these laws have been passed in the US – and they have in some places included exact places where people live – vigilantes have murdered people on the list or people they believe are on the list, even if they weren’t child sex offenders.
“The Attorney-General says this will make people be more vigilant.
“Our concern is this will make more people into vigilantes.”
Courtesy of Australian Women’s Weekly…
Toni McHugh: ‘My future with Gerard included his children’
The mistress of convicted wife-killer Gerard Baden-Clay believed she would eventually build a life with him and his three young daughters.
In an exclusive interview with The Australian Women’s Weekly, Toni McHugh has opened up about how she and the now convicted murderer had high hopes of setting up house together and getting shared custody of his children.
McHugh, who was engaged in a four year affair with Baden-Clay when he violently killed his wife of 14 years, Allison Baden-Clay, says she always considered the couple’s children when they discussed a life together.
“The future I was planning with Gerard, it actually included them. It included Allison! I thought we would all get to the point where we all, you know, shared custody, like adults and got on,” she told The Weekly.
The former real estate salesperson also shared unsettling details about the moment she came close to Allison’s body.
“We drove over that bridge, and she was under there, and later that day, maybe around noon, we heard a woman’s body has been found, and I knew straight away – instantly – that it was Allison,” Ms McHugh said.
When asked whether or not she felt responsible for Allison’s untimely death, McHugh, who describes herself as ‘Australia’s Monica Lewinsky’ – the most famous White House intern in history, said ‘No’.
“It is horrible to have it said that you are the motive (for murder),” she said.
“But no, I’m sorry, he wasn’t thinking about me. He was thinking about himself.”
While McHugh admits she’s still trying to come to terms with what’s happened, she is now planning to write a book about the case.
“I’m the only one who can tell this story,” she said.
Gerard Baden-Clay was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years behind bars for killing Allison and dumping her body in Brisbane’s Kholo Creek.
Read more of this story in the August issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Please NOTE This Community is too important to let any individual ruin it for others!
From now on, bullying in any form will result in ONE WARNING FROM ME (ROBBO) and 2nd time will result in an instant ban from the site.
We are here to discuss important things, not to make personal attacks. Admin (ROBBO) will be the one who determines whether or not a message is deemed as bullying or inappropriate. Thank you for your cooperation
(Robbo, owner and operator of aussiecriminals)
Make no mistake this, is a terrorist attack on 298 citizens of the world, but sad and importantly for us here, on 28 Australians and their family and friends…
This was originally a page I made yesterday but I can’t stick pages to top of site.
MH17: Investigators find large part of plane and more bodies at Malaysia Airlines crash site
Investigators have found a previously undiscovered part of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 along with more bodies more than a week after the Boeing 777 was shot down over eastern Ukraine.
It is understood the location of the bodies has been marked with a white flag, but investigators do not have the facilities available to handle human remains.
The discovery has highlighted an urgent need for the area to be thoroughly searched, but continued fighting in the surrounding region has hampered the efforts of investigators.
A spokesman for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Michael Bociurkiw, says the piece of fuselage that was found “appeared out of nowhere”.
“The most significant find today was we went into a heavily wooded area and found a huge piece of fuselage,” Mr Bociurkiw said.
“I think this is the part of the plane that came down which … travellers would say resembles an airline. The windows were still intact and if one wanted to they could even climb inside and be covered.
“It almost appeared out of nowhere because there were no tell-tale signs, no broken branches, nothing to indicate that a piece of fuselage had landed there.”
Mr Bociurkiw said investigators were also closely examining the area of the crash site where the cockpit had landed.
“The other thing the investigators took an interest in was the cockpit area because there are still personal and professional belongings of the crew in there,” he said.
“There is also a lot of sensitivity around human remains … and for the second day in a row we did come across more human remains, not much, but it does indicate that they are there and … that a very detailed sweep of the entire area will probably be needed to make sure nothing is missed.”
The head of the Dutch police mission in Ukraine, Jan Tuinder, says it remains difficult to get access to the crash site.
Pro-Russian rebels have continually caused problems during the investigation, blocking access to the site and harassing recovery workers.
“The process is not over. There are still remains [at the site] and it’s very hard to get there because there are some – and I would say it’s not politically correct – but there are still some lunatics there,” Mr Tuinder said.
“It’s very hard for us to get to the remains.”
However, the OSCE says there were no incidents overnight, as they were joined by experts from Australia and Malaysia.
Australian specialists join teams working to identify remains
Meanwhile Australian specialists have joined teams in the Netherlands working on the identification of remains from the MH17 crash.
Three Australian officials, including a forensic specialist, have also visited the crash site for the first time, which is now officially the responsibility of Dutch investigators.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this morning signed an agreement with her Dutch counterpart, Frans Timmermans, allowing Australian investigators to work at the site.
The Government says it will help Australian officials move around and give them legal cover in Ukraine.
“I feel confident that with the legal and operational matters underway that we’ll be in a position to start work on the site without much further delay,” Ms Bishop said.
Asked whether families should prepare themselves for a delay of weeks or even longer before the bodies of the 298 victims are sent home, Ms Bishop said: “We’re not talking about weeks, we’re talking about days.
“I am very optimistic after today’s meetings that we will have had in place the legal and operational framework that will enable our mission to be carried out as soon as possible,” she said.
The Government has sent 50 Australian Federal Police officers to London, with a view to possibly joining an international force, but no decision has yet been made.
Another 74 bodies have been flown into the city of Eindhoven, where they will be examined by forensics experts for identification.
An RAAF C17 and a Dutch military plane were used to transport the second group of bodies to Eindhoven.
A formal reception was once again staged on the tarmac and crowds gathered at the air base’s gates to pay their respects as the procession of hearses passed.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian people face fresh elections in October after their prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned.
Both parties have now pulled out of the government, causing it to collapse. However, in 30 days the president will be able to call fresh elections with the aim to get rid of the old administration.
MH17: Devastation as human face of tragedy becomes clearer
The attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has claimed the lives of 28 Australians, who were among the 298 passengers and crew on board.
A Catholic nun, an estate agent, a teacher, a husband-and-wife pair of doctors, a businessman and his three grandchildren are just some of those Australian lives lost.
They were returning home but never made it. For their families and friends, life will never be the same.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke for many when he said the tragedy was “a grim day for our country and a grim day for the world”.
“We bleed for them, we grieve for them and we will do everything we can.”
Here are the Australians so far feared to have lost their lives
Malaysia Airlines MH17: Devastation as the list of Australian victims is revealed
A Catholic nun, an estate agent, a teacher, a husband-and-wife pair of doctors, a businessman and his three pre-teen grandchildren. Just some of the Australian lives cut short by the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Twenty-eight Australians were returning home with Malaysia Airlines, but never made it. For their families and friends, life will never be the same.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke for many when he said the tragedy was “a grim day for our country and a grim day for the world.” He said: “We bleed for them, we grieve for them and we will do everything we can.”
Here are the Australians so far feared to have lost their lives.
Sister Philomene Tiernan, New South Wales
In a letter to students, principal Hilary Johnston-Croke said the school was devastated by the loss of Sister Philomene who had been attending a retreat in Joigny in France.
“Phil was a very much-loved staff member and friend,” she said.
“We are devastated by the loss of such a wonderfully kind, wise and compassionate woman who was greatly loved by us all.”
Father Tony Doherty, who had known Sister Philomene for 30 years, has told the ABC’s AM the school community is in mourning.
“I think the first thing that you were struck with was her gentleness and her courtesy,” he said.
“Her character was quite an immediate sensitivity to people and who they were, so there’s been a wave of grieve that’s met this tragic news in the last day.”
Michael and Carol Clancy, New South Wales
NSW retirees Michael and Carol Clancy, who were on board flight MH17 on a European trip, are being remembered as outstanding local teachers.
The couple aged 57 and 64 were from Kanahooka, south of Wollongong.
Mr Clancy, the former deputy principal of Albion Park Public School, had a passion for teaching disabled children.
His longtime friend and former principal, Jim Cooper, says he suffered chronic arthritis and would teach while enduring extraordinary pain.
“The sad part for us as well is we were all planning to get together with a group of friends tomorrow actually for a birthday party so it’s going to be a very sombre affair,” he said.
Mrs Clancy was also teacher and is being remembered for her community work.
Albert and Marie Rizk, Victoria
Albert, a real estate agent, and his wife Marie were on the final stretch of a European holiday.
The Sunbury pair, and parents of two, were heavily involved in the local Sunbury Football Club over the past decade.
The couple have been described by friend Ken Grech as “beautiful” people.
He said the Rizks had called their son James the night before the flight to notify them of a change to their travel plans.
“[They tried to] move it forward because the interconnecting flight was a nine-hour stay so they thought if they could change their flight they would do so, but unfortunately that didn’t occur,” Mr Grech said.
“It hasn’t really sunk it yet that their parents aren’t going to walk in the front door at home,” he said.
Nick Norris, Mo Maslin, Evie Maslin and Otis Maslin, WA
The 68-year-old Perth native and three of his grandchildren were on the flight’s manifest and were understood to be travelling to Western Australia from Amsterdam.
Mr Norris was a long-time member of the South of Perth Yacht club and had worked in remote Aboriginal communities in education.
Mr Norris’s 24-year-old son Brack said his father had been accompanying the children: Mo (12) , Evie (10) and Otis (8) Maslin home to Australia.
Their parents had remained in Amsterdam for a few more days but Mr Norris, a father of four, was bringing them home to return to school.
Son Brack described the situation as “surreal” and thought it was “ridiculous” when a sister called from Sydney to tell him about the crashed plane.
“I couldn’t believe it … I love my dad extraordinarily and they were amazing kids,” he said.
The parents of the three children are receiving consular assistance in Amsterdam and are believed to be making their way back to Perth.
Roger and Jill Guard, Queensland
Pathologist Roger Guard and his wife, GP Dr Jill Guard, were returning from a holiday and medical conference.
Toowoomba Hospital Foundation chief executive Peter Rookas said the pair were well respected in the community.
“Roger and Jill went off on a holiday and then attended a medical conference and were actually returning with doctors from that conference on MH17, so we have lost some absolutely brilliant people,” he said.
Howard and Susan Horder, Queensland
Howard and Susan Horder were retirees from the state’s Sunshine Coast.
The couple’s sons released a statement saying they are devastated by the loss of their parents.
“Howard and Susan touched the hearts of many and will be missed,” the statement read.
“They lived a happy life and provided much love and care for all those around them.”
Liliane Derden, ACT
A mother of two daughters, Ms Derden from Hall in Canberra’s north, has been identified as being on board flight MH17.
Ms Derden was a public servant who worked with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Canberra.
The NHMRC issued a statement honouring Ms Derden.
“The CEO and staff of the NHMRC are deeply saddened by the loss of our valued colleague and friend,” the statement read.
“Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time.”
ACT Acting Chief Minister Andrew Barr said it was devastating news a Canberra resident was on the flight.
“It’s devastating news for the family and friends of that ACT resident and indeed our sympathies go to not only to the families here in the ACT who are impacted, but across Australia and indeed around the world.
“It’s a great tragedy and it’s certainly hitting home here locally.”
Helena Sidelik, Queensland
Ms Sidelik, 56, was returning home to the Gold Coast after a holidaying in Europe before she died in what colleagues have described as an “incomprehensible plane disaster”.
Her brother Hans Sidelik says she had been to a wedding in Amsterdam and had spent three weeks holidaying in Greece.
He says his only sister will be greatly missed.
“Very very funny person, loved life, not afraid to speak up and just enjoyed life,” he said.
A statement from colleagues at Vision Personal Training said: “We will truly miss your smiling and infectious personality that we have all become super fond of.”
“May your spirit and soul live on within every one of us that you touched, may you be blessed to soar high above the clouds and smile down on us with double scotch and water and may you rest in peace for eternity,” it added.
Frankie and Liam Davison, Victoria
Toorak College, at Mount Eliza, has confirmed that teacher Frankie Davison and her husband Liam were travelling on the flight.
Principal Helen Carmody described Mrs Davidson as a much-loved teacher, colleague and friend.
“Frankie was an inspirational teacher and the most amazing person,” she said.
“She was kind, generous, and truly warm and giving to everybody – she was a very, very popular teacher and was well-loved by all the students, parents and staff.”
Mary and Gerry Menke, Victoria
Business owners Mary and Gerry Menke from the small coastal community of Mallacoota in far eastern Victoria were among the passengers on flight MH17.
The couple were involved in the abalone industry and were producing pearl jewellery.
“They work in a unique part of the world – a very beautiful part of the world,” she said.
“You know, abalone’s out in the ocean and Mary owns the local beauty and hairdressing shop in Mallacoota.
“Mallacoota’s not a very big place so it’ll be a great loss for that community.”
Elaine Teoh and Emiel Mahler, Victoria
Victorian-based finance workers Elaine Teoh and Emiel Mahler have been remembered as “beloved” staff at IG Australia.
As foreign nationals, Ms Teoh – who was Malaysian – and Mr Mahler – who was Dutch, have not been counted on the official toll of Australians killed in the disaster.
“IG Australia wishes to send its deepest sympathies … to the families of our colleague and former colleague Elaine Teoh and Emiel Mahler,” it said.
Ms Teoh graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Commerce in 2008.
On social media, David Teoh Qi-en said he had confirmation from Malaysia Airlines that his sister was on board the flight.
“While I understand public opinions and comments on MH17, I urge my friends to remain wise and calm when talking about it and also [to] keep my family and I in prayer as we are going through these tough times,” he wrote on Facebook.
Emma Bell, Northern Territory
Emma Bell, a teacher at the Maningrida College in Arnhem Land, was among three Territorians killed in the incident.
Ms Bell’s friend Bernard Price says her students will be upset at the news.
“She sort of had an infectious nature that rubbed off on everyone,” he said.
“Especially out here, from an education point of view – I’d sort of describe her as one of the very few who actually get it when it comes to Indigenous education.”
Ms Bell had been teaching in the Maningrida community for nearly 18 months.
Wayne and Theresa Baker, Northern Territory
Married former public servants Wayne and Theresa Baker from Darwin were returning home after holidaying in Europe.
The couple have two adult sons still living in the Top End.
Mrs Baker’s mother Angela Turnbull remembers her daughter as a loving and devoted person.
“She loved her job – she only just retired from her job in March in Darwin and their plan was to do a lot of travelling,” she said.
“She was a very devoted mother .
Ms Turnbull says the couple lived in the Darwin region for most of their adult lives.
“Before they got married, they moved up there and then they came home and got married and moved back up there because [the] work situation was better than down here,” she said.
Arjen and Yvonne Ryder, WA
Married couple Arjen and Yvonne Ryder from Albany in the state’s south were on board flight MH17.
Mr Ryder worked for the Department of Agriculture while his wife was a teacher.
Ruhi Furdowsian, who worked with Mr Ryder for many years, has paid tribute to his friend and colleague.
“The memory I have of him is his lovely smile and approachable attitude that he had,” he said.
“He was a very hard-working person, always on time, always dedicating his life and time to his work.”
Edel Mahady, WA
Edel Mahady who was on board flight MH17 was an administrator at a West Australian Catholic school.
Malaysia Airlines plane MH17 ‘shot down’ on Ukraine-Russia border
- 25 minutes ago July 19, 2014
- Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over eastern Ukraine
- Surface-to-air missile used
- 27 Australians were among the 298 on board
- Pro-Russian separatists blamed, but have denied attack
- The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has told of the difficulty of investigations into the downed MH17 flight, saying it will be weeks before there are answers for the victims’ families.
He said Australian officials have been deployed to the region.
“Yesterday we saw the smouldering wreckage on our screens, today we have seen some of the faces of the dead,” he said.
“As a nation we need to prepare ourselves for difficult and painful weeks ahead as we strive to find out precisely what has happened and who is responsible.
“My aim is to get justice for Australia, in particular to get justice for the dead and the living. The only way to get justice is if there is a thorough investigation and that means getting access to the site as swiftly as possible … it’s imperative that the site is made available to investigators without molestation and hindrance as fast as possible.”
Abbott said the area is controlled by rebels and “bodies remain strewn over the fields of Eastern Ukraine”.
He emphasised just how dangerous the situation is.
“Overnight, a monitoring mission from the organisation for the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe did gain temporary access but it was driven off by gunfire presumably from the Russian-backed rebels.
“This does highlight though the difficulty and danger of this mission.”
Attempts to contact the Russian government have been unsuccessful so far.
The Ukraine government had said it would give Australia all the support it needed to access the site to retrieve bodies and protect evidence.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will be heading to the US to champion Australia’s campaign at the UN Security Council for an independent comprehensive international investigation with access to the site, debris, black box and any possible witnesses.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have deployed six officers to Kiev and more are on their way, including a five-member emergency response team. Australian Federal Police investigators are also on their way, and more are ready to be deployed as the situation develops.
Contingency arrangements have been put in place to repatriate the bodies, he added.
“Although I must caution this is likely to be weeks, rather than days ahead.”
Ms Bishop noted that for the investigation to proceed, a cease fire around the crash site would be required.
Qantas and Virgin have offered their support for any Australians travelling to the site.
Meanwhile, the Government doesn’t want the MH17 disaster to distract from its G20 agenda despite growing pressure for Australia to bar Russia from attending the forum later this year.
The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has overshadowed the opening of the G20 trade ministers meeting in Sydney on Saturday, where top officials from the world’s 20 richest nations including Russia have gathered to discuss economic growth.
Treasurer Joe Hockey said there was a “steely determination” to find out who was responsible for the disaster but also not to allow it to distract from the task facing G20 ministers.
“There’s no doubt the events are tragic, just tragic,” Mr Hockey said in Sydney ahead of the G20 meeting.
“But we have to move on with the world, bring those people to justice that were responsible for that horrendous act, but also not allow it to distract us from the challenge of creating a world that has greater prosperity and freedom.”
Nearly 300 people — including 28 Australians — were killed when MH17 was shot down in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border. Suspicion has fallen on Russian-backed rebels, prompting calls for Moscow to be punished with trade sanctions.
Trade Minister Andrew Robb, who met with his Russian counterpart Alexey Ulyukaev ahead of chairing the G20 meeting, didn’t rule out the prospect of trade sanctions if Russia didn’t play ball.
“These are things we need to consider in the goodness of time,” Mr Robb said.
“It is a matter of how Russia responds, co-operates and is proactive in seeking answers.”
Malaysian prime minister’s grief
The step-grandmother of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was on board MH17, the country’s defence minister confirmed.
Hishammuddin Hussein, a cousin of Najib’s, said 83-year-old Siti Amirah was “on the flight”. Siti Amirah was also Hishammuddin’s step-grandmother.
“Pls pray 4 her,” he wrote on his Twitter feed above a photo of her in an Islamic headscarf.
The defence minister’s tweet today confirmed an earlier report in the Star newspaper that said Siti Amirah had embarked alone in Amsterdam on board flight MH17 en route to the Indonesian city of Jogjakarta.
She was scheduled to transit at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
A top pro-Russia rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has given a bizarre version of events surrounding the Malaysian jetliner crash – suggesting many of the victims may have died days before the plane took off.
The pro-rebel website Russkaya Vesna quoted Igor Girkin as saying he was told by people at the crash site that “a significant number of the bodies weren’t fresh,” adding that he was told they were drained of blood and reeked of decomposition.
Air travel warning
Pilots and aircraft operators are being warned by the Australian aviation regulator to avoid flying over eastern Ukraine, following similar advice from US and European air safety agencies.
No Australian planes are presently scheduled to fly above eastern Ukraine where MH17 was shot down by a suspected surface-to-air missile, killing all 298 people on board.
“Australian air operators and pilots considering operations in eastern European airspace (should) take into account all available safety notices and bulletins regarding flights in the Ukraine region,” the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said.
“Particular attention should be given to notices issued by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency.” US aircraft have been prohibited by the country’s Federal Aviation Administration from flying above parts of eastern Ukraine. “The restricted area includes the entire Simferopol and Dnepropetrovsk … regions,” the FAA said.
“This action expands a prohibition of US flight operations issued by the FAA in April, over the Crimean region of Ukraine and adjacent areas of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.”
First photo of pilot
Details of the pilots of downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have been revealed.
The plane with 298 people on board, including at least 28 Australians, was downed about 12.15am Sydney time yesterday.
The flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but was shot down in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.
The two captains on the plane were Eugene Choo Jin Leong, 45, and Wan Amran Wan Hussin, 50, according to a list.
A photograph of Leong shows him alongside a motorbike. A family member of Leong’s, who did not want to be named, confirmed that he was on board the plane. Meanwhile, Captain Wan Amran Wan Hussin’s wife reportedly told the New Straits Times that he had contacted her minutes before he boarded the flight.
The mother-of-two was shocked to learn what had happened when she randomly checked her phone.
“I had just finished my prayers and decided to checked my handphone as the battery had earlier gone flat.
“I was shocked to see a message from my children’s ustaz (religious teacher) informing me that a Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed.
“I was taken aback and immediately switched on the television to see what was going on.”
Nationalities of victims
Malaysia Airlines has released a new list of the nationalities of passengers who lost their lives on MH17. It lists 27 Australian lives lost — while the number according to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is 28, including a dual-citizen.
• Netherlands: 189
• Malaysia: 44
• Australia: 27
• Indonesia: 12
• UK: 9
• Belgium: 4
• Germany: 4
• Philippines: 3
• Canada: 1
• New Zealand: 1
Four passengers’ nationalities have not yet been verified.
Day of mourning
Several hundred members of an exclusive Sydney school community have gathered at a church in the city’s east to hold a special mass for a much-loved teacher killed in the MH17 attack.
Sydney nun Sister Philomene Tiernan was on board the Malaysia Airlines flight
Sister Philomene worked for more than 30 years as a teacher and director of boarding at Catholic school Kincoppal-Rose Bay and was remembered fondly by students yesterday.
“The impact of this is just unbelievable in the whole community,” a year 12 student who did not want to be named said. On a cold Saturday morning several nuns, students and their parents and associates of the school arrived at Saint Mary Magdalene church in Rose Bay for a special mass.
Parish Priest Monsignor Tony Doherty said the special prayer service, which began at 9am, would “focus our grief and loss of such an extraordinary woman.”
The world has been rocked by the tragedy, with people attending a range of memorial sites.
‘Ban Putin from G20’
Australia should consider uninviting Russian President Vladimir Putin from the Brisbane G20 meeting over his government’s “reckless and stupid” actions leading up to the MH17 disaster, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says.
Mr Shorten said he was fully supportive of the Australian government’s strong stance over the apparent downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
“For an outside nation to have supplied these Ukrainian rebels with this weaponry of war and murder is a very, very reckless and stupid act,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.
“It is in the interests of resolving what has happened that all of the great powers, including the Russian Federation, support what was said at the United Nations Security Council last night.” The council called for a thorough investigation of the crash. Mr Shorten said the Australian government should consider barring Mr Putin from the upcoming G20 meeting in Brisbane if the country did not support the investigation.
“If the Russian Federation will not co-operate to help resolve and get to the heart of what has happened here, I don’t think Australians would welcome them coming to the G20,” he said.
Prince William has expressed his sympathy for all those affected by the disaster, noting in particular the impact on Australians.
Speaking at Australia House in London, the Duke of Cambridge spoke of his great sadness.
“For all of us who have lost fellow countrymen and women in the tragedy, words cannot do justice to our sense of loss,” he said. “For Australians, for our Malaysian brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth, the crash is a particularly cruel tragedy, coming so soon after the loss of MH370.” He said his family’s thoughts and prayers were with everyone affected.
The Duke was at Australia House to unveil a statue of Matthew Flinders, the first explorer to circumnavigate Australia.
Australian High Commissioner to London Alexander Downer also spoke about the tragedy, asking for a moment’s silence for those killed.
Obama speaks out
US President Barack Obama has sent his condolences to the families of victims. He has also paid tribute to AIDS researchers and activists who were bound for an international conference in Melbourne.
The president phoned Prime Minister Tony Abbott to discuss the tragedy.
“The president expressed condolences on behalf of the American people to the Australian families who lost loved ones on board the flight,” a statement from the White House said today.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has warned the Australian death toll may still rise as investigators work to uncover the identities of 41 victims of the MH17 disaster who are not yet accounted for.
Speaking on Sky News last night, Ms Bishop also confirmed a 28th Australian death is that of a dual citizen.
The Foreign Minister has issued a stark warning to Russia as it becomes increasingly clear that pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are responsible for bringing down the jet.
Using language that is more direct than is custom in international relations, Ms Bishop made it clear Australia would use its position on the United Nations Security Council to push for an international investigation and warned Russia not to stand in the way.
“Russia has a crucial role to play in all of this. If, as Russia claims, Ukraine is responsible for this, I expect Russia to support a thorough investigation”, she said.
Ms Bishop’s words were backed by the UN Security Council, which passed a unanimous motion calling for a full and thorough investigation.
“The members of the Security Council called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability,” the council said in a unanimous declaration.
The UN statement expressed the council’s “deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims, and to the people and governments of all those killed in the crash.”
Council members stood in a moment of silent tribute to the 298 victims at the start of an emergency council meeting. The council called for an investigation “in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability.”
It stressed the need for “immediate access by investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident.”
Ms Bishop also said she had been unable to get in touch with her Russian counterpart, who is on holidays, and was told by the Russians she could not speak to a more junior representative.
The comments came after Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier condemned the initial response of the Russian Ambassador to the MH17 disaster.
Mr Abbott said it was “highly probable” MH17 was “shot down” by what appeared to be a Russian-backed rebel missile.
Yesterday afternoon, the Prime Minister revealed the first response from the Russian Ambassador was to blame Ukraine forces for the tragedy — a response he called “deeply, deeply unsatisfactory”.
The ambassador had been summoned to speak in Sydney with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was seeking assurances Russia would co-operate with investigators and Australia would get access to the crash site.
Mr Abbott repeated his statement made in Parliament that the disaster was a crime and not an accident.
Australia was working for a binding UN Security Council resolution to secure an independent international investigation, he said.
“It’s very important that we don’t allow Russia to prevent an absolutely comprehensive investigation.”
Mr Abbott said Australia was eager to take a leading role in the investigation, given the high number of Australians killed.
“These people were innocent people going about their lives … And they have been killed by Russian-backed rebels … Possibly with Russian supplied missiles.”
He had strong words for those that supplied the rebels with the missile.
“Anyone who gave such a weapon to people who were absolutely incapable of using it … Should feel a sense of shame.”
He said Russia’s involvement would be a test for that country. “There can be no excuses, no buck passing.”
Mr Abbott said there would be a national day of mourning and ordered flags at government buildings to be flown at half-mast tomorrow.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said anyone with concerns for friends or family can call the hotline on 1300 555 135.
Malaysia Airlines says there were 298 people on board, not 295 as originally stated. At least 28 of the victims are Australian.
Among the dead are Victorian couple Albert and Marie Rizk, who are believed to have missed an earlier flight and ended up on MH17.
Mr Rizk, a local real estate agent, and his wife, who have two children, were due to return home from Europe today after spending a month abroad on holidays.
Other victims are 27-year-old Melbourne student Elaine Teoh, Sister Philomene Tiernan — a teacher at eastern Sydney’s Catholic girls’ school — and Perth management consultant Nick Norris, who was travelling with his grandchildren.
Denis Napthine, the Premier of Victoria, said it was likely there were permanent residents of Australia travelling on other passports who were also killed in the crash.
The airline confirmed that those on board included 28 Australians, as well as 154 Dutch, 43 Malaysians, 12 Indonesian (including one infant), nine from the UK, four German, four Beligum, three Filipinos, one Canadian. The nationalities of 41 others on the plane were still unknown.
Government minister Ian MacFarlane has played down the possibility that Vladimir Putin could be excluded from the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.
“It’s not a security forum and therefore while we need to be mindful that an investigation does have to take place and we do have to obviously see exactly what’s happened here, in terms of the G20, it is an economic forum not a security forum.”
In the US, Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state, and possible presidential candidate, said in a television interview that indications pointed to Russian-backed side and action was needed to “put [Vladimir] Putin on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by”.
“The questions I’d be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It’s obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning [to target such a plane].
“And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents.”
One of those on board was HIV researcher Joep Lange, who was on his way to Melbourne from the Netherlands to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference, AIDS2014.
As many as 100 of the passengers were thought to be headed to Melbourne for the conference. Organisers have confirmed it will go ahead as planned
“The International AIDS Society (IAS) today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today,” a statement from the International AIDS Society said.
“At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.”
The event is to be held in Melbourne from July 20-25.
Earlier, Ukraine’s Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko was quoted as saying the plane had been shot down by a ground-to-air missile.
According to CNN senior US officials have concluded the plane was shot down but were divided over the origin.
“One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday,” CNN is reporting.
A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit.
INTERCEPTED PHONE CALLS
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has reportedly released recordings of intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence officers and members of terrorist groups that took place about 20 minutes after the crash.
One call was apparently made by Igor Bezler, who the SBU says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
Igor Bezler: “We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).”
Vasili Geranin, a colonel in the main intelligence department Russian Federation armed forces then asks: “Pilots. Where are the pilots?”
Bezler replies: “Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking.”
A second call was between militants nicknamed “Major” and “Greek” about 40 minutes later.
“It’s 100 per cent a passenger (civilian) aircraft,” Major is recorded as admitting that he had seen no weapons on site. “Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.”
Australian Federal MP Christopher Pyne said there was no doubt that the plane was shot out of the sky. But Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that at this stage it had been unable to verify the cause of the tragedy.
Earlier Mr Gerashchenko told the Wall Street Journal pro-Russia rebels had set up a ground-to-missile battery near the Russian border by the town of Snizhne.
“They clearly thought that it was a military transport plane that they were shooting at,” he said. “They were the ones who did this.”
The plane appeared to have broken up before hitting the ground, and the burning wreckage — which included body parts and the belongings of passengers — was scattered over a wide area.
It came down near the town of Shaktarsk, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, and shocking photos of bodies among the wreckage have been posted on Twitter.
“Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border,” the carrier said in a statement on Facebook.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism and called for an international investigation into the crash.
Some are blaming Russia for allegedly supporting the separatists but a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said allegations that Russia had been involved in the incident was “stupidity”.
Mr Putin has blamed Ukraine for the crash, “Undoubtedly, the government in whose air space this happened bears responsibility for this terrible tragedy,” a Kremlin statement says.
Putin reportedly opened a meeting with his economic advisers by calling for a moment of silence over the crash.
“This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy,” he said, according to the statement.
The village of Grabovo is currently under the control of the separatists and the area has seen severe fighting between the two sides in recent days.
Ukraine is a country in crisis. The region where MH17 went down has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists in recent days. Ukraine has been in crisis ever since pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in February by a protest movement among citizens wanting closer ties with the European Union. Russia later annexed the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine, and pro-Russians separatists in the country’s eastern regions began occupying government buildings and pressing for independence. Moscow denies Western charges it is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest.
In a statement, Mr Poroshenko said the plane “disappeared from radar screens”.
“In recent days, this is the third tragic accident after the Russian territory were downed aircraft AN-26 and SU-25 Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do not exclude that this aircraft was also shot down, and stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit any action to defeat the purposes of the air,” Mr Poroshenko added.
A defence expert told the BBC that shooting down a plane at that height would have required a long-range surface-to-air missile — possibly guided by radar.
Oleg Tsarev, one of the leaders of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, told Time that the rebels did not shoot down the plane.
“We don’t have weapons that can take down a plane from that altitude,” he said, minutes after news of the crash broke.
But there are reports that rebels did have an anti-aircraft military station and the Russian state media even congratulated the rebels on their new Russian-made Buk missile launchers seized from a Ukrainian air force base.
“The Donetsk resistance fighters have captured an anti-aircraft military station,” the Kremlin’s main television network Vesti announced three weeks ago.
Since then there have been regular downings of Ukrainian aircraft including an AN-26 military transport plane, which was shot down on Monday. Its four crew members were taken hostage after they ejected from the aircraft, rebels later confirmed.
According to The Telegraph, the DPR also posted a Twitter picture of a missile system that it captured when it overran a Ukrainian army garrison on June 29.
A spokesman told Voice of Russia radio at the time: “The forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic assumed control of A-1402 (regiment’s) military base” and boasted of capturing the Buk launcher.
A similar weapon was reportedly seen by an Associated Press journalist on Thursday in Snizhne.
As news spread of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight, the separatists deleted the Twitter photo of the captured missile system.
A raft of global airlines, including Air France, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, swiftly responded to the disaster by saying they had been avoiding airspace over eastern Ukraine due to safety concerns.
Qantas has confirmed that it has not flown the route across the Ukraine in recent months because it recognised the risks presented by the separatist conflict, during which the aircraft were being shot down.
They were further advised on Thursday to avoid Ukraine’s airspace
In France, a statement by junior transport minister Frederic Cuvillier said he had advised “French airlines to avoid Ukraine’s air space as long as the reasons behind this catastrophe are not known.”
Flight MH17 departed Amsterdam at 12:15pm (Amsterdam local time, 8:15pm AEDT) on Thursday and was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6:10am (Malaysia local time, 8:10am AEDT) the next day.
A Malaysian official tonight told a news conference the flight path was approved by the International Civilian Aviation Organisation and was in unrestricted airspace.
The plane disappeared from radar when flying at 10,000 metres cruising altitude, Interfa-Ukraine reports.
The Daily Beast reported the plane’s “black box” was on its way to Moscow for “investigation”.
But the head of Ukrainian Emergency Situations has since reportedly claimed that search efforts at the scene are being hampered by “armed terrorists”.
In response to the disaster Thai Airways said its flights to Europe have been rerouted to avoid Ukrainian airspace.
The company didn’t say when the route changes were made effective or how many flights were affected.
America’s FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has also banned US flights from entering the airspace of eastern Ukraine. Via Mashable.
“The FAA has made official what most airlines were already doing: American flights are barred from entering the airspace of eastern Ukraine “until further notice,” the agency says. Flights were already officially barred from Crimea and surrounding areas.”
The crash comes just four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which remains missing
Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak said he was “shocked” by the reports. “We are launching an immediate investigation,” he said.
The Kremlin said US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had discussed the crash over the phone.
He said US would offer any assistance it could to determine what happened.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.”
A statement from the White House said there needed to be a “full, credible and unimpeded” investigation and urged all concerned — Russia, pro-Russians separatists and the Ukraine — to agree to an immediate ceasefire so investigators could gain access to the crash site.
Malaysian airlines flight MH17: Tony Abbott says ‘Russian-backed rebels’ likely to blame on ‘grim day’ for Australia
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the deaths of 300 people on board a downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet is a grim day for the nation and a grim day for the world.
At least 27 Australians are among the dead after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
The plane was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, where many of the passengers were due to catch connecting flights to Australia.
Today Mr Abbott said the plane seemed to have been shot down “by Russian-backed rebels”.
He indicated he believed that Russia or Russian arms played a part in the disaster.
“This look less like an accident than a crime,” he told Parliament.
“The bullying of small countries by big ones, the trampling of justice and decency in the pursuit of national aggrandisement, and reckless indifference to human life should have no place in our world.”
“Our hearts go out to the families of all the dead.”
Mr Abbott said Russian ambassador to Australia Vladimir Morozov was being summoned by Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop to seek assurances that the Russian government would fully cooperate with the investigation.
Australian officials are seeking to get access to the crash site and a DFAT team is being sent to Ukraine’s capital Kiev.
“Australia will be working at the United Nations Security Council for a binding resolution calling for a full and impartial investigation with full access to the site, with full access to the debris, with full access to the black box and with full access to all individuals who might be in a position to shed light on this terrible event,” he added.
‘Tyrannical, wild act’, says Shorten
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the shooting down of MH17 was shocking and bewildering.
“Travelling at six miles’ height, this is unimaginable. This is a violation of the rules of civilisation. This is a tyrannical, wild act,” he said.
Mr Shorten said the Government had Labor’s full support.
“The missile that brought down MH17 and the missiles that have claimed numerous other Ukrainian aircraft could not possibly be made by the people who’ve possibly fired them,” he said.
“These separatist terrorists are obtaining these instruments of murder from elsewhere.”
Mr Shorten said it was time for national unity.
“It is a time for temperate responses, for cool heads and measured action,” he said.
“That is indeed the strongest possible response that Australians expect from us.
“This horrific situation can seem far removed from our daily lives but there is no question that the conflict in this disputed part of the Ukraine has now reached Australia.”
Many passengers heading to Melbourne HIV/AIDS conference
It is believed that a number of people on board the crashed flight were on their way to a Melbourne HIV/AIDS conference.
The 20th International AIDS conference is due to start in Melbourne on Sunday and run until July 25.
The International AIDS Society has confirmed its former Dutch president Joep Lange was killed in the crash.
Speaker Bronwyn Bishop is due to address the HIV/AIDS conference on Monday.
“I know there will be many empty spots,” she said.
“I think that what we’re doing is mourning with all the world and all that have been lost. We want to see justice but in a measured way.”
The shooting down of MH17 comes while the search goes on for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which vanished mysteriously on March 8.
Up to 27 Australians were among 298 people on board a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet which was shot down over Ukraine with the loss of all on board.
Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was apparently blown out of the sky by a missile near Ukraine’s border with Russia.
Dutch authorities have confirmed 27 Australians were on board the plane. DFAT says it is working to confirm that figure.
US vice president Joe Biden says the aircraft was “blown out of the sky” and it was “not an accident”.
Ukraine and the pro-Russian separatists it is currently fighting in the east of the country have both denied shooting the plane down.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said it would be an “unspeakable crime” if the aircraft was proven to have been shot down.
“If it does turn out that this aircraft was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, there is no doubt this would be – under those circumstances – an unspeakable crime and the perpetrators should swiftly be brought to justice,” he said.
However, he emphasised that there are no hard facts at the moment.
The Prime Minister said the Government was making arrangements to deploy consular staff to Kiev to provide whatever assistance they could.
Passengers on board MH17
- Netherlands: 154
- Australia: 27
- Malaysia: 23
- Indonesia: 11
- UK: 6
- Germany: 4
- Belgium: 4
- Philippines: 3
- Canada: 1
Source: Dutch officials
Media reports suggest the aircraft was downed by a Buk ground-to-air missile.
Russia’s Interfax news agency says pro-Russian separatists have claimed to have found the plane’s black box.
Malaysia Airlines said flight tracking data indicated the plane was at its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet (10,000 metres) when it disappeared.
The BBC is quoting one farm worker in the area as saying, “I was working in the field on my tractor when I heard the sound of a plane, then a bang and shots”.
Another said: “There was thick black smoke from a nearby factory. From my balcony I saw a plane begin to descend from a great height and then heard two explosions.”
The disaster comes just four months after Malaysia Airlines lost contact with flight MH370, another Boeing 777 carrying more than 200 people. The fate of that aircraft remains a mystery.
On Twitter, Mr Poroshenko described the incident as an attack by terrorists.
“We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky,” Mr Poroshenko said in a statement posted on the president’s website.
Malaysian president Najib Razak said he was “shocked”.
“I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed,” he said on his Twitter account. “We are launching an immediate investigation.”
The White House says US president Barack Obama has ordered senior US officials to remain in close touch with Ukrainian officials about the downed plane.
Mr Obama has spoken to Russian president Vladimir Putin about the crash.
“The Russian leader informed the US president about an air-traffic controllers’ report that came just before their phone conversation that a Malaysian plane crashed in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said in a statement.
Other airlines are now avoiding east Ukrainian air space, including Germany’s biggest airline Lufthansa.
“Lufthansa has decided to avoid the east Ukrainian air space by a wide margin with immediate effect,” a company spokesperson said.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17: Official statements
Malaysia Airlines MH17: Phone tap reveals pro-Russian separatists claiming responsibility for passenger plane downed over Ukraine
Ukrainian wire taps appear to have captured pro-Russian separatists claiming responsibility for shooting down a Malaysian airliner over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 289 people on board, including at least 27 Australians.
Ukraine’s Kyiv Post newspaper has posted what it says is a conversation between a separatist commander and Russian intelligence officer Vasili Geranin.
In the transcript, released by Ukraine’s security service, the separatist, identified as Igor Bezler, says: “We have just shot down a plane. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast).”
The paper also has a transcript of what it says is a conversation between two separatists identified as “Major” and “Greek”.
“The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first 200. We have found the first 200 – a civilian,” Major says, referring to the codeword for a dead person.
“In short, it was 100 per cent a passenger aircraft.
“These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.””
The paper also posted part of a third conversation between Cossack commander Nikolay Kozitsin and an unidentified militant.
“Regarding the plane shot down in the area of Snizhne-Torez. It’s a civilian one – fell down near Grabove. There are lots of corpses of women and children. The Cossacks are out there looking at all this,” the militant says.
“They say on TV it’s AN-26 transport plane, but they say it’s written Malaysia Airlines on the plane. What was it doing on Ukraine’s territory?”
Kozitsin replies: “That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f***ing flying. There is a war going on.”
Military analysts have speculated that militants mistook the passenger jet for a military aircraft.
Earlier Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said the downing of the airliner was an act of terrorism.
“MH-17 is not an incident or catastrophe, it is a terrorist attack,” he tweeted.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said it would be an “unspeakable crime” if the aircraft was proven to have been shot down.
“If it does turn out that this aircraft was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, there is no doubt this would be – under those circumstances – an unspeakable crime and the perpetrators should swiftly be brought to justice,” he said.
US vice-president Joe Biden earlier said the aircraft was “blown out of the sky” and it was “not an accident”.
Reuben Johnson from defence publication Jane’s Military says all the missile systems in the area of Ukraine where the plane was downed had been seized by separatists.
“We have some telephone recordings that were intercepted by the Ukrainian security service … that has the separatists talking to each other, saying ‘We shot down a plane’,” he said.
“So there’s not too much that’s left to the imagination.”
The conversation between Major and Greek, as posted by the Kyiv Post:
Major: These are Chernukhin folks who shot down the plane. From the Chernukhin check point. Those cossacks who are based in Chernukhino.
Greek: Yes, Major.
Major: The plane fell apart in the air. In the area of Petropavlovskaya mine. The first 200. We have found the first 200 – a civilian.
Greek: Well, what do you have there?
Major: In short, it was 100 per cent a passenger aircraft.
Greek: Are many people there?
Major: Holy sh**t! The debris fell right into the yards [of homes].
Greek: What kind of aircraft?
Major: I haven’t ascertained this. I haven’t been to the main sight. I am only surveying the scene where the first bodies fell. There are the remains of internal brackets, seats and bodies.
Greek: Is there anything left of the weapon?
Major: Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper.
Greek: Are there documents?
Major: Yes, of one Indonesian student. From a university in Thompson.
This is what Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia Airlines and others are saying about the MH17 crash. There are claims the passenger jet, with nearly 300 people on board, may have been shot down by a missile. All the passengers and crew are dead.
Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border.
Flight MH17 operated on a Boeing 777 departed Amsterdam at 12.15pm (Amsterdam local time) and was estimated to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 am (Malaysia local time) the next day.
The flight was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew onboard.
Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko
This is not an incident or catastrophe, it is a terrorist attack.
We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky.
Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak
I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
On reports MH17 was shot down:
Look, we just have all sorts of reports and claims flying around. That’s all we have at the moment – reports and claims. I’m very conscious of the fact that the Ukrainian president has made that statement (on the plane being shot down).
I believe they’ve been other statements from people in authority in Ukraine, but we just can’t say.
If it does turn out that this aircraft was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, there is no doubt this would be – under those circumstances – an unspeakable crime and the perpetrators should swiftly be brought to justice.
On what the Government can do for families:
We can assure families that at the highest levels of government we feel for them. We grieve with them, we pray for them. That’s the first thing we do, and the second thing we do is to try to provide whatever practical assistance we can in terms of counsel, in terms of repatriation of remains and so on.
This is just a very, very sad time made worse by reports that it might be a crime rather than an accident.
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs
The loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine is a tragedy.
Initial reports indicate there were 295 people on board and there are no survivors of the crash. We have grave concerns that a number of Australians may have been on board the flight. Officials are urgently working to seek confirmation with relevant authorities.
If you have any concerns for the welfare of Australian family or friends, you should attempt to directly contact them.
If you are unable to contact them and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call DFAT’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or within Australia on 1300 555 135.
Spokesman for Russian president Vladimir Putin
The president of Russia asked the prime minister of Malaysia to convey his deepest sympathy and support to the victims’ families.
US president Barack Obama
The world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia/Ukraine border, and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy.
I have directed my national security team to stay in close contact with the Ukrainian government. The United States will offer any assistance we can to help determine what happened and why.
And as a country, our thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the passengers, wherever they call home.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those on board the Malaysia Airlines airplane lost over Ukrainian airspace, as well as their families and loved ones.
Boeing stands ready to provide whatever assistance is requested by authorities.
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