Thursday, December 3, 2015

Australian PM expresses shock, condemnation after US mass shooting

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has expressed his shock and condemnation of the killing of at least 14 people in the United States' latest mass shooting.

Speaking in the Australian parliament on Thursday, the prime minister weighed in on the brazen attack on the disability centre in San Bernardino, California which has left at least 14 people dead and 17 wounded to date.

The attack, reportedly carried out by three gunmen who fled the scene, comes less than a month after the Paris terror attacks.

Turnbull said these two events highlighted "the national security challenges" confronting governments around the world.

"As we sit here in this Parliament, a shocking crime is being committed or has been committed," Turnbull said on Thursday.

"There is a shocking prevalence of violence around the world at the moment.

"We recognize that ensuring that these events do not happen in Australia -- are thwarted or prevented -- is our key objective and that, if they do, we respond to them quickly and effectively.

"The first duty of every government, as I said, is the safety of the people."

The attack is the largest mass shooting seen in the US since 2012 when 20 children and six staff were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

In the wake of the deadly shooting, former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer has recommended the government send a stronger message about the dangers for Australians travelling to countries devoid of Australia's stringent gun control restrictions.

  • Last month the US government warned its citizens about travelling to the New South Wales (NSW) capital of Sydney, citing the city as a potential "terror target."

"I'm a bit sick and tired of the US chucking handballs at us, putting into their travel advice that it's not safe to go to Sydney," Fischer told the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.

"Have (Australia) not reached a stage where the smart traveler advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) now needs to be muscled up."

  • Fischer said it was time to "call out" the US for its failures to contain gun violence, which he blamed on the existence of firearm lobby groups like the National Rifle Association.

"The US is not stepping up on the public-policy reform front," he said.

"The (NRA) in particular needs to be called out for their unacceptable blockage of any sensible reform, including (ammunition) magazine limitation."

Fischer, a part of the Howard government during its major overhaul of Australia's gun laws in the 1990s, called for Australians to boycott travelling to the region in 2013 after an Australian ex-patriate was shot dead while jogging in Oklahoma.

 Xinhua -

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