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Warren Truss on #MH370

Warren Truss on #MH370

Transcript of Interview—Today Show

Interview WTC020/2015 30 July 2015

Topic: Wreckage on La Reunion Island

Lisa Wilkinson: …Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have desperately hoped for news, and for a miracle. But today it appears their wait is over. Investigators are almost certain the wreckage discovered on an Indian Ocean island is that of the missing aircraft, and there were reports this morning that a suitcase from the missing plane has also washed up on the island.

For more we’re joined now by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport Warren Truss, and Jeanette Maguire, whose sister Cathy Lawton was on board flight MH370. Good morning to both of you. If I can start with you, Deputy Prime Minister, it’s been a long and heartbreaking wait for these families, when do you expect to find out whether or not this piece of wreckage is from MH370?

Warren Truss: Well it’s looking increasingly likely that the piece of wreckage is a small part of the wing of a Boeing 777, then once that has been confirmed it is a matter of linking that to MH370. That will certainly take a little bit of time.

The photographs that are available provide a lot of information which should help the confirmation that this is a part of a 777. I understand the wreckage will be moved by the French authorities to Toulouse for closer investigation, but that shouldn’t delay the identification because there’s quite a large amount now of photographic evidence in that regard.

So then it will be another step to move to linking the wreckage with MH370, it’s certainly possible for the currents to have moved that piece of wreckage to that location. Indeed, we had always predicted that if wreckage was to make landfall it would be likely to be in that Madagascar area, and so that is a possibility, but still needs to be confirmed.

Lisa Wilkinson: So if that is the case, what is the next step for investigators?

Warren Truss: Well the Malaysians and the French will take control of that element of the investigation. From Australia’s perspective, we’ll continue to search in the area that’s been identified as the most likely part of the Indian Ocean that the aircraft went into the sea. That search is being delayed a little bit now because of the poor weather conditions, but will certainly resume again strongly after the spring weather arrives in that area.

Lisa Wilkinson: Okay, Deputy Prime Minister, we thank you very much for your time this morning.

Warren Truss: You’re welcome.

Lisa Wilkinson: Let’s go now to you, Jeanette. You lost your sister Cathy and your brother-in-law Bob on flight MH370, what’s it been like for you learning that this could possibly be part of that wreckage of MH370?

Jeanette Maguire: Good morning. It’s a very bittersweet feeling for all of the family, it’s quite emotional. We’re really hoping for answers that we get from this wreckage that it is MH370 so that we have some idea and another part of our puzzle as to where our family and everyone else on board has gone, and have ended up, unfortunately.

Lisa Wilkinson: What sort of contact do you have with Malaysian Airlines so far from the disappearance of the flight, and what have you heard since this wreckage has been found?

Jeanette Maguire: I have contact with Malaysian Airlines every week, and have had that since day one of the disappearance. We get a phone call just to keep us up to date with any information. Unfortunately, that information generally is the same as what we’re getting from the JACC office, which is fine, but at least they’re doing the right thing in keeping us in contact. Sorry, I’ve missed the second part of that question?

Lisa Wilkinson: Just if there’s been any contact since this piece of what’s believed to be part of MH370 has been found?

Jeanette Maguire: Yeah, so when we saw the media yesterday morning I contacted DFAT straight away, and the JACC office responded with an email as to what the process was, and nothing was obviously confirmed at that point. We’ve since had previous emails to state that…pretty well what Mr Truss has said, that the- it’s under the French authorities and that it has to go away and be analysed and have some more information. We’re staying as optimistic and as positive as we can be, but we’re just going to have to wait for that information to come through for us- we have to deal with the fact.

Lisa Wilkinson: What’s the last 16 months been like for you, Jeanette, simply not knowing?

Jeanette Maguire: Horrific. Horrible. Putting on a brave face and trying to get on with our normal life. It’s a new normal, and for everybody it’s been very, very difficult; both emotionally, financially, and just trying to get ourselves on track and do what we can.

Lisa Wilkinson: Well, Jeanette, we can’t even begin to imagine the sort of agony that you’ve been going through, and we really hope that in the weeks and months ahead that you experience as much strength as you possibly can.

Jeanette Maguire: Thank you. And we…if I could just say a big thank you to the Australian Government, the JACC office and everyone involved with the search, those people out there searching every day. We, as the family, really appreciate that, and it’s so nice to be able to say that to them via camera.

Lisa Wilkinson: Jeanette, thank you very much.

Jeanette Maguire: Thanks for your time. Thank you.

Transcript of Interview—SkyNews—News Day

Interview WTC021/2015 31 July 2015

Topics: Wreckage on La Reunion Island, TPP, Bronwyn Bishop and Adam Goodes

Laura Jayes: Welcome back to News Day. Well it’s a case, an aviation disaster that’s really baffled the world until now. And authorities are becoming increasingly confident that washed-up debris is linked to the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Authorities will examine that suitcase that’s washed up on Reunion Island to determine if it may have come from the airliner, but it has been handed to police and investigators and the arrangement have been made to retrieve it, but the Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss is co-ordinating the Australian arm of the search for MH370. He’s playing down speculation that the suitcase is related to this aircraft. I spoke to him a little earlier, and I began by asking him about this latest clue.

Warreen Truss: Well I think it’s less likely that the suitcase is related to the MH370 incident than the aircraft part that has been identified. The aircraft part is almost certainly a small piece of the wing of a Boeing 777, and MH370 was, in fact, was conducted on a Boeing 777. But the luggage didn’t seem to have any marine life on it, so it’s a little more doubtful that that is associated with the incident.

Laura Jayes: What is the process of confirmation now then? How long will it take to actually get that confirmation that this is a part of MH370?

Warreen Truss: Well this is a matter that’s in the hands of the French authorities, because La Reunion Islands are French territory. The Malaysians also have a primary interest because Malaysia is the flag of the MH370 aircraft. So this will be in their hands. It’s my understanding that it’s intended to move the aircraft wing part to Toulouse in France for further investigation. But there are a lot of photographs now which may aid a much earlier positive identification. The key thing is for the part to be looked at by experts to confirm that it is a part of a Boeing 777, and then the next issue is to try and identify whether this part actually came from the aircraft that operated flight MH370.

Now I don’t think that should necessarily take a long time, but it is possible that there’s nothing on the part that specifically links it to the individual aircraft.

Laura Jayes: So Australia- well, the French and Malaysians are taking over this investigation in term of the debris that has washed up, but what is Australia’s ongoing capacity? I understand we’ve offered our ongoing assistance, but how will that- what form will that take?

Warreen Truss: Well our primary role will continue to be the search. The search is being undertaken in Australian search area, and so our primary effort will continue to concentrate on locating the aircraft. If this wreckage is confirmed to be a part of MH370, it helps to confirm that we’re searching in right place; it will certainly confirm that the aircraft came to grief in the Indian Ocean. The currents from our search site move broadly towards the area of Reunion Island—not directly, the currents move north and then across the Indian Ocean and then south, which is consistent with debris being found on the northern side of La Reunion Islands.

So, those are all further guidance that we’re searching in the right place. That will be our main effort, our main responsibility, but we’ll continue to use our expertise in this field wherever we can, and as requested by the Malaysians and the other countries that are interested in this whole search exercise. This has been a major international effort, we have skills, and we will certainly do what we can to contribute in relation to identifying this wreckage. But our primary role will be focused on actually searching for the aircraft on the bottom of the ocean west of Western Australia.

Laura Jayes: And Mr Truss, you say you believe you’ve been looking in the right spot—well, will this debris, if it’s confirmed to be MH370, help you at least narrow the search, and do you know how much you can narrow the search? Is there possibly a chance that our searchers have been over the area where the crash might be and have simply missed it?

Warreen Truss: I’m not sure that this finding will actually enable any refinement of the search area. It is 16 months since the aircraft disappeared. This piece of debris has travelled a very, very long way. So I don’t think it will be possible to back-trace where it came from. We’re still going to have to rely on the satellite data to refine the area; we continue to do that, we’re confident that we’re searching in the right place. The equipment we have is the best in the world, and if the aircraft is there and we pass over any wreckage we should be able to find it. And I’m confident that will happen. There is still a significant part of the priority search area that we haven’t yet looked at. The weather conditions are not good at the present time and so we’re not able to spend a lot of time in the search area. But as winter passes there’ll be another renewed effort and we have committed to cover double the area of our original search, and I’m still confident that we’ll be able to find the aircraft in that area.

Laura Jayes: Have you made contact with the families of the six Australians on board though, and I know you’re confident that you will find this aircraft, but what’s your message to them? Is there a chance that this wreckage could be so deep down in the ocean that it may never be able to be recovered?

Warreen Truss: Well recovery is a different issue from actually finding it. Our first exercise is to try and find the wreckage, and we will know once that’s happened whether it’s possible to recover it, whether there’s value in actually recovering it or whether we can get sufficient information on how the incident occurred, just simply through use of photography and recovering key parts. But that’s something for the future.

I certainly agree with you that this is a time when we think especially of the families of those who’ve lost loved ones on board. They have gone through a very, very difficult year. This is another stressful time, as more information has become available, and we certainly feel for them and those who have Australian citizenship, or for whom we have a special responsibility. We’ve been in contact with them, and offered further support through these difficult times. We’re determined to keep them well-informed, to make sure that they have confidence that everything possible is being done to help find their loved ones and to give them closure through these very difficult times.

Laura Jayes: Deputy Prime Minister, a few issues around politically at the moment as well, the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations getting to the business end in Hawaii at the moment. Some of your colleagues—Nat colleagues—have threatened to cross the floor if a deal isn’t done for sugar cane growers in Queensland in particular. What are you expecting, are you trying to manage expectations of your colleagues?

Warreen Truss: Well we’ve done a lot of trade deals around the world, and many of them have not made much provision—if any provision—for sugar. And so it is important that this TPP, which is meant to be a very comprehensive agreement, does deal with the difficult issue of sugar, and particularly sugar into the United States markets.

Now Andrew Robb has given this a high priority, it deserves to be a high priority, and simply it won’t be a TPP that’s comprehensive and inclusive, unless there is a significant additional market access for Australian sugar.

Laura Jayes: Mr Truss, Bronwyn Bishop apologised yesterday over this expenses scandal that’s been ongoing for three weeks. Is that good enough for you, and can she continue as her role as Speaker of the House?

Warreen Truss: Well I think Bronwyn has done an excellent job as Speaker in the House, in particularly trying circumstances. The Parliament has been especially unruly over recent times, and she’s worked very hard to keep order. She’s a woman who’s contributed enormously to public life in Australia, and she enjoys my continuing confidence.

Laura Jayes: But are you comfortable with how she’s handled the last three weeks?

Warreen Truss: Well, she’s apologised, she’s expressed regret about what’s happened. Bear in mind, some of these things that have been talked about now happened as far back as 1999. The rules were very different way back then, and we’re trying to judge things that happened at a different time according to the standards and rules which might be in place now. There’s been a lot of changes to the rules in this area over the years. Members of Parliament certainly need to respond to community concerns in relation to travel and other expenses, and the Speaker has recognised that she made an error of judgement, she’s apologised, she’s doing a good job, and that needs to be the ultimate element in making a decision about who should be Speaker in the Parliament.

Laura Jayes: Just finally then, Mr Truss, if the rules have changed so much over the years, and there are still problems in 2015, do the vagaries need to be taken out of the expenditure legislation once and for all?

Warreen Truss: Well, I think there’s been a lot of attempts to do that over the years, it’s just that I think people have sometimes very exaggerated views of what should happen. There are some who would take the view that if a Member took a bus he was wasting money and should be walking. I think we’ve got to accept the fact that the pace of politics has moved on, Members of Parliament are expected to travel much more extensively than ever happened in the past. They’ve got to move from place to place, and do it quickly, and then be back to another venue to deal with the issues of the day.

They’ve got to be not only meeting with people, giving them time—because people are, in fact, the essence of our democracy, but they’ve also got to be able to make decisions and do their job. There does need to be some degree of flexibility in the way in which Members of Parliament can work and to do their job. And I think the public need to recognise that fact. But on the other hand, Members of Parliament have got an obligation to make sure that they do things as frugally and as carefully as they possible can.

Laura Jayes: And I do want to just ask you one more question, Deputy Prime Minister, on Adam Goodes. We saw an intervention from Mike Baird yesterday saying that the booing and the howling has to stop. What’s your view on this?

Warreen Truss: Well I think that it’s appalling that there’d be any kind of racial abuse, whether it be on the football field or whether it be in day to day life. The reality is there are a large number of Aboriginal footballers, they’re very talented, and make an enormous contribution to the sport. There’s been a particular concentration on Adam, partly I suspect because he has been an outspoken individual in relation to making sure that Aborigines are respected for their talents and their contribution to our country.

Now, he should be commended for that. He should be commended for his willingness to speak out, and respected for it. And I think that there is a need for Aboriginal footballers, as well as others in the community, to sort of demonstrate and to use their success as a model for other Aboriginals so that we can indeed move forward. To ensure that black and white Australians are contributing to our country and given appropriate recognition for their success.

Laura Jayes: Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, thanks so much for your time.

Transcript of Doorstop Interview—CH 10

Interview WTC019/2015 30 July 2015

Topic: Wreckage on La Reunion Island

Question: The piece of wreckage that’s been found, what can you tell us about that at this point in time?

Warren Truss: The discovery of this wreckage, which photographs suggest could well be parts from a Boeing 777, has certainly aroused a considerable interest. It is one step now to identify where the wreckage comes from, whether it is in fact equipment from a Boeing 777, and then secondly to link it to MH370 is another step.

This is obviously a very important development and certainly, if it is indeed wreckage from MH370, it starts to provide some closure for the families of the people who were on board.

Question: Now, where is the country, West- I believe we’re still searching in a certain area off the coast of Western Australia. Is it likely to change the search area, search pattern?

Warren Truss: Well, the Reunion Islands are a very long way away from the search area, however, it is consistent with the work that’s been done in identifying the current search area, the satellite interpretations of the route path that the aircraft is expected to have taken. So discovery of wreckage in that area would not be inconsistent with that advice.

Bear in mind that if it is wreckage from MH370, it’s been in the water for something like 16 months. The photographs, they certainly show barnacles, and so that would suggest that this wreckage has been in the water for a long time.

So in 16 months, it’s something like the piece of a wing, but obviously it travelled a very, very long way.

Question: Well once there’s a bit of a study done on all the flight patterns, or things like that, is it likely that we are likely to put more resources into it, even other countries putting more resources into our search area?

Warren Truss: Well we have had good resources at the present time. Bear in mind that during the winter, the search area is a very hostile environment, and the vessels are not spending a lot of time actually on-site. But once the weather improves, then there’ll be a renewed effort to make sure that we cover the whole area, and do everything we can to discover this aircraft. If there is wreckage identified on the Reunion Island, well then that’s certainly going to add impetus to the search.

But in the interim, it’ll provide us with some additional information to those seeking to come to grips with the issue of how the aircraft was lost, and that’s the air crash investigators as well as for the families of those who perished.

Question: Well given this piece of wreckage has blown up onto this island over there, is there likely to be a little more of an intensive search around that region, as far as around the cliffs or whatever it might be, beaches [indistinct]?

Warren Truss: Well I’m sure there will be a much more thorough investigation now in that area. Bear in mind that the place where the wreckage has been found is not in Australian territory, it’s not in our search and rescue area. It’s the responsibility, therefore, primarily of the Malaysians, and then the French Government to undertake that element of the search.

But we’re certainly very interested in the photographs that have been provided for the CSIRO in Australia to try and identify if there’s anything useful to be learnt from the barnacles that show up in the photographs.

So we’ll play a key role. It’s still believed that the aircraft is resting in waters which are in the Australian search area, so this would be valuable information, and is not likely to lead to any change in the search strategy that we have at the present time.

The work that’s been done in interpreting the satellite data has delivered to us the most likely place where the aircraft lies, but tends to support the view that the aircraft has entered the water in the Indian Ocean, and the area where we are looking is certainly the prospective site.


Transcript of Press Conference, Sydney Airport

Interview WTC018/2015 30 July 2015

Topic: Wreckage on La Reunion Island

Warren Truss: … objects, probably aircraft parts, being discovered on the La Reunion Islands in the Indian Ocean. Photographs of the wreckage suggest that the objects could be part of the wing flaps of an aircraft, perhaps a flaperon, which has lead to speculation that the parts may come from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. MH370 was operated by a Boeing 777, and the photographs suggest parts that are not inconsistent with a Boeing 777. But there are other possibilities. It will require examination by experts to establish positively that the parts are, indeed, from a 777. It’s another step then to establish that the parts come from the particular 777 that operated MH370. Work is being undertaken by the various agencies to try and advance that investigation. There are a number on the parts, 657BB; that is not a serial number or a registration number, but it’s possible that it could be a maintenance number and that might help an early investigation.

I’m informed that it is a realistic possibility that wreckage from MH370, if it entered the Indian Ocean in the place where our current search operations are being undertaken, could have reached the Reunion Islands in the 16 months since the incident. Indeed, areas around Madagascar, not very far from the Reunion Islands, were identified as a likely landfall if there were parts of the aircraft left floating. Now this kind of work is obviously going to take some time, although the number may help to identify the aircraft parts—assuming that’s what they are—much more quickly than would otherwise be the case.

On a day like today when we receive information about aircraft parts being discovered, there is particular stress on the families of the 239 people who lost their lives in this disaster. We think especially of them. At an Australian level, we have sought to make contact with all of the families, and have, in most cases, to keep them informed of this latest development. And we will continue to ensure that their interests are foremost in the way in which we deal with the issue.

I should point out that while Australia has a particular responsibility in relation to the search for MH370 on the assumption that we are searching in the Australian sea and rescue area, the Reunion Islands are French territory and so the responsibility for primarily investigating this debris rests with the French and, of course, the Malaysians who are the flag carriers of the aircraft. Nonetheless Australia has again offered our assistance in this investigation; we’ve asked the CSIRO and the Institute of Marine Research to have a look at the photographs and assess whether the barnacles that are evident in those photographs are consistent with something that was floating in the oceans for 16 months or more, and to give us any other advice that might assist in the examination.

The information that we have is consistent with the search that’s being undertaken at the present time. It supports the satellite data and the identification of the area in the Southern Indian Ocean as the most likely place where the aircraft could have entered the waters. Of course, a piece of debris could have floated a very, very long way in 16 months, and it is a very, very long way from the Reunion Islands to the place where we think the aircraft entered the water.

Now, this is obviously a very significant development, it’s the first real evidence that there is a possibility that a part of the aircraft may have been found. It’s too early to make that judgement, but clearly we are treating this as a major lead and seeking to get assurance about what has been found and whether it is indeed linked to the disappearance of MH370.

Question: What’s the next step for investigators from Australia? You said that you’d offered help, has that been taken up [indistinct]?

Warren Truss: Well we’ve taken our own initiative in relation to the photographs to make them available to the relevant scientific institutions. But the management of this new information rests with the French, and they will make decisions about how any evidence is handled, and then how that can be linked to the work that the Malaysians are doing as the flag carrier of the aircraft.

Question: And how have the families reacted to the calls?

Warren Truss: Well obviously this is important news for them. They’ve waited a very, very long time for any kind of news. Even this is not yet at a stage where anything positive can be said to them, and so they have an anxious wait again. And I feel very much for them, they’ve been through a lot. Not knowing, not having the opportunity for closure is certainly an enormous burden for the families, and we respect very much the difficult situations they’re going through at the present time.

Question: Does the discovery change or affect the search that’s being conducted by Australia?

Warren Truss: No. We still believe, on the availability of all the information that’s been done, that the search area is the right one. We’ve refined the boundaries of that search area on a number of occasions as ongoing work is continuing in relation to the satellite data that we have to try and more precisely locate the resting place of the aircraft. That work will continue. In the winter we haven’t been able to maintain the same level of intensity in the search because the weather conditions are very poor on that part of the planet. But when the weather improves there’ll be a major effort in the same area that we’ve been working on in the past, the southern part of the identified area. That will remain our target area, and if there has been a discovery of any wreckage associated with the aircraft it is so far away that you cannot reverse its path and with any degree of reliability know where the aircraft entered the water. It’s just too far away, too long ago. But we do know that it is credible that wreckage from the search area could have reached the Reunion Islands by now, and so we can’t rule it out on those grounds.

Question: So in lieu of any concrete evidence we’ve heard various theories the plane flew in different directions; if this does prove to be from MH370, does that put all of those theories to bed, the plane is in the Southern Indian Ocean?

Warren Truss: Well it will put some of the theories to bed, but there are a lot of very wild theories that have been around, including that it landed in Russia or it’s been sighted in places where way beyond the range of its fuel. So it will put some of those theories to bed, but it won’t positively prove that it’s in any other location other than I guess the Indian Ocean.

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