Press Conference with Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, Canberra ACT

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The Hon Peter Dutton MP

Minister for Defence

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1 March 2022

PRIME MINISTER: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m joined by the Minister for Defence. We have just completed a rather lengthy meeting of the National Security Committee of Cabinet. I’m sure those watching at home have also been watching the extraordinary bravery and courage of the Australian Defence Forces as they have been enacting rescues, particularly across the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. This is one of many acts of heroism and courage that we’ve seen, not just from our Defence Forces, but from our police, from our emergency services personnel and, of course, by civilians themselves, as we have been encountering what has been an extraordinary weather event, a weather bomb, as it’s been referred to, in Queensland, as it’s making its way down down the Australian east coast.

There has been a series of extreme weather and flooding events, which are continuing and will still continue for many days to come. Further storms, we have been advised by the BOM - Bureau of Meteorology, as well as other agencies this morning, and further flooding activity is expected throughout the week, and the peaks that we’ve seen, whether it’s in Brisbane or other places, are expected to continue now for several days.

Despite the terrible impacts that these flooding events have demonstrated, what we have seen, as I’ve just said, is extraordinary courage and response right across all agencies. That flooding event in Lismore has been without precedent, almost. I mean, that is a part of New South Wales that is well used to floods, I know it well. And they have always been used to floods, but nothing like this in their lifetime. Breaching that levee bank and going and reaching into places that even long-time locals never expected to occur or to see in their lifetime. We’re now seeing those flooding events follow the way down through Richmond and impacting on other settled areas. But this rather significant weather system we will continue to see moving down the east coast of Australia. We will see it come into the Central Coast in Sydney, and we’re already experiencing elements of that right now, and particularly over the next 24 hours. We will then see that extend further into the south coast of New South Wales and we need to be continuing to be preparing ourselves for the impacts in those regions. The advice also from the Bureau of Meteorology has been that we should also be aware of potential impacts even further south in East Gippsland and even in the north of Tasmania.

The true courage and compassion that has been on display is, of course, heartening. And we thank everybody for their extraordinary efforts over these last few days. I particularly want to thank the ADF for their response. It has been swift and it has been comprehensive to meet all the requests that have been made by the states, and indeed in anticipation of those requests. Very early yesterday morning I rang the Premier of New South Wales because of the situation in northern New South Wales and made those further offers, and I was very pleased to see them taken up, and we spoke further during the course of the day, including into last night as well.

I’ve been pleased with the way that state, local and Commonwealth agencies, Australian Government agencies, have been working closely together, whether it’s in Queensland, New South Wales, the 

agencies are very experienced in dealing with these issues, but the scale of these flood events and these weather events have come at a level which we haven't seen for some time. And as a result, they have adapted well to overcome the challenges that they’re currently faced with.

The ADF has some 600 personnel stood up or involved, their rotary wing assets have been proving, as you can see on your own screens, incredibly important. The weather situation, particularly in and around Lismore, as we were discussing this yesterday morning, was very difficult. It was not an easy thing to get those aerial assets in place to be effecting those rescues, so many of those rescues having to be undertaken by the flood boats. But those few rotary assets that were able to get into those areas have done an incredible job. Not just the ADF assets, but of course the CareFlight and others who, and private assets that have been involved in the flood response effort.

That will continue and we are prepositioning further ADF support all along the eastern coast of Australia. That will range from Albatross down at Nowra, all the way up through with assets coming down from Amberley to support all through the north coast and even down into the Central Coast. We also have the assets out at Holsworthy, where the Blackhawks are, and able to assist should they be called upon to do so.

Thirty-five local government areas have been activated for disaster support. There have been already some 80,000 claims that have been made and over $3 million already have gone out in payments directly through Services Australia to those affected, and that will be flowing at an even increasing rate over the course of the next 24 hours.

In the case of the Disaster Recovery Payment, which is an $1,000 payment for for adults and $400 for each child, together with the Disaster Recovery Allowance which is an ongoing payment for up to 13-weeks for those whose income is interrupted, they are, they are done 100 per cent by the Australian Government and they were initiated even before, in some cases, the request was made by states and territories. We wanted to ensure that that support was in place, and the Services Australia teams are positioning themselves already and increasingly in evacuation centres to provide that support. And it is, you are able to access the Services Australia support either on 180 22 66, or you can do it over the website, or in many cases in these evacuation centres there will be Services Australia support who can do that directly, and the mobile response teams from Services Australia are also being swung into action. 

Today, after a lot of response meetings that have been held over the last few days, the Emergency Management Australia and the the National Disaster Recovery and Resilience Agency led by Shane Stone are holding a National Coordinating Mechanism meeting this afternoon with all states and territories, and are coordinating closely with the Australian Defence Forces. What does that mean? That is the group that looks at supply chains, that looks at impact on power, impacts on communications, impacts on key roads, all of these types of issues, and the planning is already underway for the recovery and the clean-up operations.

When I was in Brisbane yesterday, had extensive discussions with the Lord Mayor, and together with the Minister for Defence, out at Enoggera. Their teams are ready to go and they’re ready to move once those flood waters start to drop. So I want to assure people, whether you’re in Brisbane, whether you’re up there in Maryborough or out in Gympie, or across northern New South Wales, or indeed those parts of the rest of the country who are yet to be hit by these floods, at the same time as we're preparing the response to be there, we’tr already preparing, together with the state and local governments, the recovery and the clean-up operation, and assets are being prepositioned and planning is underway for that purpose.

I also note that the Treasurer and the Assistant Treasurer will be working closely with the banks and insurance companies. I’ve asked them to contact all the banks today and the insurance companies and be very clear to the insurance companies what our expectations are about their response. And I look forward to that being a positive response, and that means getting the assessors in. We have already started putting advance assessors in from the Recovery and Resilience Agency to ensure that they can be assessing the impact on the ground, which enables further assessment of category, what’s called Category D funding support for larger tasks that may be required to be addressed after flood events such 

as this. We are turning around the requests from the states immediately, and so when requests are made, I understand the New South Wales Premier was making some comments about category D assistance, when we get some clear proposals about what is required, then they can expect us to turn those around. That’s a part of the discussion I’ve been having with Premier Perrottet that we are dealing directly with each other and ensuring that those messages are being sent down through our various organisations to ensure a swift response.

The other impact, which the Deputy PM in particularly was raising today, and I share this view, as all the members of the NSC, and that is the impact on primary production. We often see this in floods, just like we saw up in North Queensland, the terrible impact of floods on primary production, and particularly those dairy industries up in northern New South Wales. There will be the grisly task of carcass disposal and removal, which is challenging and that is all part of the recovery and clean-up operation. But then the task will be to rebuild, to rebuild those dairy farms, to rebuild those dairy industries, just as we’ve been doing up in and around Taree after the floods there last year. And so we have an very accomplished set of agencies that can move into all of these tasks.

Now I'm going to turn now to the issue of Ukraine, which was the other matter dealt with at today's National Security Committee meeting. And then I'll ask the Minister for Defence to cover both of those issues again, if you're happy to proceed on that basis.

In the Ukraine, in Ukraine we have seen a multi axis attack over the course of the last week or so, the last few days. We believe there is no change in Russia's unlawful, violent and aggressive intent in Ukraine. Their attacks are behind schedule, but we should not assume any change in their intent or their purposes in Ukraine. The economic, diplomatic and defence response has been far stronger than anticipated, and particularly, I believe, by the Russian Government. And it is having a very serious impact on their progress. I want to commend all of those countries around the world that have joined those responses. I particularly welcome the rather strong responses we've seen from countries like Singapore and Switzerland. I mean, this, I think, goes to the extent of the international response to these outrageous and aggressive attacks undertaken, invasion undertaken by the Russian Government. And every day that that resistance continues, every day that we impose a cost on the Russian Government and all those who support them in their unlawful acts, makes it even harder for Russia to continue to pursue their objectives in Ukraine.

But this is also likely to lead, I suspect, to an even more violent response from Russia. Anyone who thinks the Russian Government is just going to sit there, I think, doesn't understand the intent and and the outrageous objectives of President Putin. Our goal is to impose the most significant costs on Russia that we possibly can, on the Russian Government and all those who support them, as a clear warning to anyone else who would seek to engage in such unlawful acts of aggression and violence through an invasion of that nature.

So, today, to further increase the support we're providing to Ukraine and to our NATO, to the NATO and all the members of NATO, we will be answering the call from President Zelensky. President Zelensky said, don't give me a ride, give me ammunition. And that's exactly what the Australian Government has agreed to do. We will be committing $50 million US dollars to support both lethal and non-lethal defensive support for Ukraine. The overwhelming majority of that, that’s some $70 million Australian dollars, will be in the lethal category. We're talking missiles, we're talking ammunition, we're talking supporting them in their defence of their own homeland in Ukraine, and we'll be doing that in partnership with NATO. I'm not going to go into the specifics of that because I don't plan to give the Russian Government a heads up about what's coming their way, but I can assure them it's coming your way.

In addition to that, we will be acting to provide humanitarian support, an initial contribution of some $25 million US dollars, we’ll be providing in humanitarian support, that’s some $35 million dollars Australian, to international organisations to support their efforts with shelter, food, medical care, water and education support. This will be our opening contribution. We expect that over time there will be further requests and we'll be addressing those as time goes on and the needs that are there are better understood.

There are some 500,000 Ukrainians that have fled their homeland. There's 160,000 on our most recent reports that I have available of internally displaced people. We have already processed all of the outstanding applications for visas to Australia, and they've all been given visas of one shape, one form or another. In addition, we’re receiving around 100 applications a day, which are being processed as the top priority. They’re visa applications across the entire migration program. So they're for temporary visas on skills, they’re for education visas, they're for family reunion visas, and they're getting the stamp, and they'll be able to come to Australia. And for some of those who are on temporary visas, their intention it will be different. They will want to come to Australia for a period of time, and I have no doubt they will want to return to their home country.

We are also preparing options to support the broader humanitarian effort to have programs like we had for the Kosovars some years ago. We should not make the mistake thinking that every person who is seeking to leave Ukraine does not want to return to their home country. I have no doubt hundreds of thousands, if not more, will want to return to their home country. That's where their family is, that's where their lives are, and we want to ensure that those things are not taken from them. And so where we are able to provide that temporary refuge, then we will be seeking to do just that with many other countries around the world. But for those for whom that won't be an option, then we will continue to provide support through our migration program, through the mainstream program, and in addition, in the humanitarian area, which at this stage, the demand for that is not very clear. But we will address that in partnership with other agencies when we get to that point. And if that requires supplementing our existing program, just like with the Afghanistan program we're currently working on, then we will. We will meet that demand with our other partners, and Australia has a strong track record of doing all of those things.

So with that, I appreciate that was a very lengthy set of issues I had to run you through, but it was a very lengthy meeting, and Australia will stand with Ukraine. Tonight I'll be standing with the New South Wales Premier as we light up the Opera House in Ukraine's colours. That is intended to send a very strong message of solidarity from one of the world's most iconic buildings that Australia stands with Ukraine. Just as we've lit our own Parliament up here as part of the Vivid events here in Canberra. All of these events send a very clear message, which I know is encouraging the people of Ukraine. They are showing a resilience which is absolutely extraordinary, and having met with so many in the Ukrainian community over the last few days, and I'll meet with more of them this afternoon and this evening in Sydney, we want to say, we are with you. We are with you. Peter.

THE HON. PETER DUTTON MP, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Thanks, PM. Firstly, I want to start just by acknowledging the amazing work of those army personnel in Woodburn. Today, we've seen in Woodburn on display the best of the Australian Defence Force. The Army personnel within the helicopter rescuing three people off that rooftop sends a very clear message about the preparedness of the Australian Defence Force to provide support to the Australian people at a time of need. We've seen a number of those events over the course of the last couple of days, not just in Brisbane, but now in northern New South Wales. The latest figures that the Australian Defence Force has been involved in the rescue of 74 people. Quite a remarkable number on a number of missions, including in Gatton, in Jimboomba Regency Downs right across Rifle Range. And now today in Lismore, Ballina and the surrounding areas. 

The pilots and the crew really need commending this incredible bravery that we've seen on display today, and they've literally saved lives, those three lives, but many, many more. And that work will continue, particularly in the clean up as well. The Prime Minister and I visited Gallipoli Barracks yesterday in Brisbane and went through with the 7th Brigade their response. So in Maryborough, in Gympie, in Brisbane, as the floodwaters start to recede, those mud armies will come together and help in the cleanup, and that will progressively go down the East Coast, as the Prime Minister has pointed out. I want to send a very strong and clear message to Australians, particularly those in New South Wales, who are watching these scenes unfold, you need to take additional precautions to evacuate earlier than what you otherwise would have been. This rain cell is as we're seeing, and as BOM demonstrated, it has a propensity to stay in place and the saturation that’s already on the ground means that we just don't have the run off on the water and we'll see further rescues and we want to make sure that they are reduced because it does put at risk the lives of those who are in the helicopters, that are on the ground, coordinating, etc. So please listen even more closely this season than you have in previous years to the warnings that you're getting from local councils, from state emergency services, from the state and federal authorities. Heed those warnings and get out early and make sure that you keep you and your family and your livestock and your assets otherwise safe. That's an incredibly important message. As the Prime Minister pointed out, we've got about 70 ADF personnel from the fifth brigade who are from Holsworthy. They're positioned and some have been pre-positioned. We've taken in relation to this flood a much more forward leaning approach. And that is we've had defence assets pre-positioned. We've called people out earlier than they otherwise would have been called out. And the PM and I've been very deliberate in that approach so that we can get the ADF personnel on the ground both during the operation, but also post when it's necessary to help those businesses in those households rebuild. So that work is phenomenal, and it makes me incredibly proud of the work that the men and women of the Australian Defence Force are doing. So PM, I'll leave it there.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] mechanics of the missiles and ammunition and so forth. Is it the case that we stipulate what is bought with our money or we've been informed by NATO countries this is what we want to send and can you pay for it?

PRIME MINISTER: It is a combination of both Phil and we are working closely with our NATO partners about what can be most effective. And again, without being too specific for the reasons I've outlined, those anti-armoured missiles are proving to be extraordinarily effective. And so that is obviously a huge priority about where we will be directing, particularly a lot of that initial investment and that is ready to go. 

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] by moving to lethal support for Ukraine that you make Australia, Vladimir Putin's warnings, an enemy now of Russia and perhaps a target of reprisals, whether that be cyber attacks or something else. And can I ask on the floods? You said that assets were being brought from Amberley to assist. We're told by reporters on the ground there that fixed wing aircraft can't get in and out of Amberley at the moment. Is there a Plan B or what contingencies are in place for that? 

PRIME MINISTER: Okay. Well, I'll allow Peter to address the second matter. Australia will always stand up to bullies. We stand up to bullies here in our own region and in standing up to bullies in our own region, we've been targeted. Australia's economic interests have been targeted, so my government will never be backward when it comes to standing up for Australia's national interests and standing up for liberal democracy in today's world, which is which is demarcating between autocrats and authoritarian regimes, invading and seeking to coerce liberal democratic regimes. We can't be absent when it comes to standing up for those important principles. That is directly in Australia's national interests. 

Now I am, I can report that to date, we have not seen the state sponsored cyber activity to Australia, but we should remain on the ready. We have been acting in concert with countries all around the world when it comes to the support that we've been providing, particularly on diplomatic sanctions, and there are still issues that are being worked through there. But the decision that we have taken that we will continue to move in lockstep, particularly with the United States and the United Kingdom and the EU, in relation to where we're targeting sanctions and what future sanctions might be put in place, including further diplomatic sanctions. But we will do that together and we will act together. And that, I think, is, I think, the appropriate way for us to address this. 

When it comes to our ADF support, and Peter will comment on this. But the primary support we've been providing is in the rotary wing, which you've seen on display and that is coming from Amberley. It's coming, it will be coming from Holsworthy and will be coming from Albatross down in Nowra. But you're right, it has been a very difficult environment to operate in. One of the other things which I didn't mention was the work that the P-8 has been doing in mapping flood levels. That's incredibly important when it comes to working through all the recovery operations as well. So Defence is involved in many different ways, tasked out of the command centres, whether they be at Homebush in New South Wales or up in Brisbane. Peter.

THE HON. PETER DUTTON MP, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Just a couple of points. I mean, firstly, I think the situation with Russia and the Ukraine at the moment really is sending out a very strong message to every, every free, loving country across the world. I mean, this is an incredibly important point in history, and this is not a time for weakness, but for strength. And those countries like Australia, like the NATO countries, like European countries need to stand together and to stare down this act of aggression. It's the situation that Ukraine today, there are legitimate concerns within Europe that they don't know what is next, and there's great uncertainty here in the Indo-Pacific as well. And that is why it is incredibly important for countries to stand up for the rule of law, for our democracy, for human rights. And that's exactly what we're doing. We're in good company. So for all of those reasons, Australia has long been a target of cyber attacks of state sponsored cyber attacks out of Iran, out of North Korea, out of China, out of Russia, elsewhere, those countries all working with crime groups and syndicates, sophisticated hackers. That's the reality of it. So we have long been a target for that reason. 

Just Mark, on the second point, there was flooding, as you're aware at Amberley, and the decision was taken to take some of the fixed wing aircraft out of Amberley and relocate them, including to Oakey. And so the MRH 90s that you've seen this morning in Ballina have come from Oakey. They left there this morning and they'll be pre-positioned down the East Coast as required as this cell moves further south and they'll be in proximity. Final point is in relation to the MHR 90, they have got a long range and they've got the ability to fan out in different directions, as we've seen today.

JOURNALIST: After the Crimea invasion, Russia was kicked out of the G8. Would you like to see Russia removed now from the G20? And do you think any of the sanctions, even a diplomatic move like that, would fundamentally change his calculation? 

PRIME MINISTER: Well, we are seeking to impose maximum cost together with our allies and partners on Russia. They have self-selected themselves as a pariah state and that's how they should be known all around the world, and no one should have anything to do with them, frankly, right around the world, but the issues you raise around the G20 are very real. They're issues that we're working through with Indonesia, who have the G20 chair this year. We want to support them in how they're managing this sensitive issue. I mean, the G20 has a lot of members and that's a lot of interests to manage and we want to support Indonesia in successfully chairing the G20 this year. But I think there has been a very clear view expressed, particularly by countries like Australia, G7 countries about, you know, this will need to be managed.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Labor today has called for or says it would support parts of Ukraine being designated, Labor says it would support parts of Ukraine being declared as declared areas that would stop people from Australia fighting with Russian forces. Specifically, I know we have legislation stopping, people joining non-government groups, but Labor says it would support that parts of Ukraine becoming declared areas. Is there anything of that nature going on? Are you concerned about Australians going over and joining such forces? What are your thoughts? 

PRIME MINISTER: I’ll say exactly what I said yesterday and we would not advise people to go to Ukraine now. Our travel advice is do not travel to Ukraine and the legal position of those who may seek to do that, I think, is very unclear, particularly as the formation of what would be informal militias and the extent to which they are actually part of any sort of sovereignly defined force in Ukraine. That is very unclear. But what I would also argue is this is anyone seeking to do that will find themselves on the wrong end of some very, very violent attacks. Those sort of disorganised civilian militias would effectively be putting people in the most extreme of situations. And so we are certainly not encouraging anybody go there and we would advise against it because largely you'd be joining something the status of which is completely unclear and how it would be supported and how would sit in any command structure with Ukraine's forces, I think, is totally unknown. So, you know, others have described those sorts of things as suicide missions and and that's not an unreasonable assessment. But, Peter, did you want to add anything on that?

THE HON. PETER DUTTON MP, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: No, the only thing I'd say, PM, is that I mean, people, you can understand the the patriotic passion that people have got and people from around the world are horrified by the slaughter of men, women and children in the Ukraine by Russian soldiers now, and that will increase. And as the Russian forces move closer to the capital, they will become more intense. And this is not an easy situation to state the obvious, but it is going to become more and more difficult. And the reality is, as the Prime Minister points out, many, many people are going to die unless President Putin changes the action, the course that he's on at the moment.

JOURNALIST: Russia may be a pariah, but as you've noted several times now, they still have a friend in China. Are you concerned that longer term for Australia, a closer relationship between China and Russia poses a more significant threat to some of the more localised issues in the Pacific region, if Putin is willing to return the favour and offer support to China? 

PRIME MINISTER: Well, of course I am concerned about this. I've been calling this out now for many, many years. When you get the close cooperation of autocratic or authoritarian states of that scale, and with that capability, of course, that presents real risks to global stability in particular in the Indo-Pacific region. This is why I've been so forward leaning in insisting that countries in our own region, particularly China, would not be offering a lifeline to Russia but to be shutting that off. I mean, combined with the stance taken by the United States, whose sanctions, together with other Western countries, has been enormously impactful. I mean, the rouble has fallen by 45 per cent. I mean, their interest rates have been put up to 20 per cent. There is real economic pain being felt as a result of these sanctions. But the impact of the world's response to impose a price on President Putin needs to be reinforced by countries like China because if they extend a lifeline to them, as they have in taking their wheat exports by easing trade restrictions on Russian wheat into China that only serves to undermine, I think, the principled stance that has been taken by so many other countries around the world. So I would encourage them to take that view. I would encourage them to join the global efforts and send a very clear message to President Putin that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable.

JOURNALIST: [inaudible] lethal weapons and humanitarian support Australian. No one's questioning the need for this money. But what are the mechanics of exactly where this money is coming from? Will it be rolled out all in one lot? Will it be rolled out over a number of payments? And are any other programmes going to suffer as a result of this $105 million?

PRIME MINISTER: No. So the answer is no, and we'll be, all of these matters will be made very clear in the budget, which is only a month away. Less than a month away now. And those matters will be covered off in the budget in terms of the fiscal arrangements. But any support here will be provided to ensure we maintain all of our other activities, and it is important support that we're providing and it will be done swiftly. As I've said, particularly on the humanitarian support, I anticipate this will be our first of a number of contributions that will be made as the humanitarian need becomes clearer and the demand becomes clearer, and we can respond to that in partnership with other countries. But you can expect us moving very quickly, extremely quickly on deploying that support. 

JOURNALIST: Can I please clarify for all the people out there watching this who are wanting to go to Ukraine and take up arms. Is there any legal situation if they were to join the foreign legion, which Ukraine's top diplomat to Australia says does exist, where they would be legally within the bounds of doing that to support their country if they're dual nationals and in case we don't get there, has anyone been stopped at the Australian border trying to leave?

PRIME MINISTER: At the Australian border, trying to leave Australia? Well, they wouldn't be leaving with that intended purpose. I mean, people are allowed to leave Australia, people flying, if they were going there, I doubt they'd be on a direct flight to Ukraine. They may be going to any number of places. And so without that clear intent and without any intelligence, then I think it would be an overestimation as to how Border Force could actually intercept on those occasions. But what I would say is two things. One don't do it, don't do it. Secondly, the legal position at best is unclear. At best is unclear. And as a result, we would not be encouraging people to join in those efforts.

JOURNALIST: From a legal perspective, I guess this is a slightly different thing. I know you're saying ...

PRIME MINISTER: No, legally they could not count that that was a legal act. They could not assume that. That's my very clear message. Don't assume it is on the evidence that we have it is unlikely. 

JOURNALIST: Sorry, Minister Dutton, we heard the US come out ahead of the invasion, saying, outlining what Russia was going to do and that proved to be correct. What's the intelligence telling us at the moment? What is Putin's plan? What is the next step? And if you've heard anything, as well Prime Minister, and what else are we looking at in terms of response? Is it just more funds? Are we going to ramp up our cyber security efforts? What else can we do to assist? 

PRIME MINISTER: We're doing all of these things. Our cyber security response has been ramping up now for some weeks, and in terms of what other support may be necessary, well, as the demands become clear and the requests become come through, then we'll we'll be dealing with each of those on their merits. But we have leant forward here in a way, particularly for a country the size of Australia, puts Australia at the leading edge of the support we're providing for Ukraine in both our humanitarian support, as well as our lethal and non-lethal defence support. So Australia and our sanctions have been the fastest moving. It was Australia that was calling for sporting bodies, in particular for the F1 to be cancelled in Russia. Our own athletes, I commend for walking out of tournaments. Good on them. They're standing up for Australian values and we salute them for doing that. And I’d be calling on all international sporting bodies to have nothing to do with any events in Russia or having Russia's participation in such international events. This is all part of imposing the highest price on Russia's actions in Ukraine. Peter?

THE HON. PETER DUTTON MP, MINISTER FOR DEFENCE: Well, the point I'd make is that, I mean, you can see where the incursions are taking place and the intent of the Russian forces. Clearly, they are frustrated by the resistance on the ground, and they've underestimated the strength of that resistance. But as supply chains or lines are secured as more munitions come in as the Russians ramp up their activities, we know from history that Russian troops can be particularly brutal, and I think people should brace themselves for what we're going to see out of the Ukraine in the coming days and weeks. It's a human tragedy that's unfolding already and it's only going to compound. And so that's a concern too. And I think we should again ramp up the pressure on President Putin, as the Prime Minister says there's a price to pay here. This is a catastrophic mistake by President Putin and those that support him, including China.

PRIME MINISTER: OK, Chris. We have time for one more and then the weather is going to intervene. 

JOURNALIST: Just wondering how quickly that money can be spent on weapons and deployed. How do you get into Ukraine? Because if it goes by road, it will be using the same roads that the refugees are using? Is some part of the airspace going to be carved out for allies to send weaponry in? 

PRIME MINISTER: Our support for Ukraine is going to get there fast. And I won't be giving Vladimir Putin any heads up on how it's getting there. But it's coming, I can assure you. Thank you.



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The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Sydney

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