PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Abbott, Tony

Period of Service: 18/09/2013 - 15/09/2015
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  • Flight MH370.
Joint Press Statement with Mr Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia


Even though Prime Minister Najib is here on a sorrowful mission, I warmly welcome him to Australia. Prime Minister Najib has been a very good friend of Australia and Malaysia has been a very good friend of Australia and this is why Australia feels so close to Malaysia and I personally feel so close to Prime Minister Najib at what is an extraordinarily difficult time for Malaysia and indeed for the Prime Minister personally. To be the senior leader of a country which has suffered the kind of tragedy which Malaysia has suffered is to be exposed to extraordinary difficulties and burdens. I know this has been a very tough time for Prime Minister Najib, but if I may say so, it is typical of the grace of the man that he should come here to Australia, should go to RAAF Base Pearce, to personally thank and honour all of the personnel involved in the search for flight MH370.

This is probably the most difficult search ever undertaken – the most difficult search ever undertaken. Even though we are constantly refining the search area, even though the search area is moving north, it is still an extraordinarily remote and inaccessible spot, at times subject to very difficult sea conditions. But I can assure people that the best brains in the world are working on this and every day working on the basis of just small pieces of information, we are putting the jigsaw together and every day we have a higher degree of confidence that we know more about what happened to this ill-fated flight.  As I said, it is a very difficult search – the most difficult in human history – but as far as Australia is concerned, we are throwing everything we have at it and we are confident that we have, ourselves the technical capacity, or that we can obtain the technical capacity from our friends and allies to ensure that we get the best possible outcome.

We do owe it to the families of the 239 people on board, we do owe it to our good friend Malaysia, we owe it to the people and government of China, we owe it to the troubled citizens of the wider world to do everything we can to solve this extraordinary mystery. I say to the family members of the people on that flight, please be patient. I know this is an extraordinarily difficult, indeed devastating, time for you, but we will not let you down and when the time comes for you to visit Australia, we will extend to you the warmest possible welcome in a very difficult period in your lives. We cannot be certain of ultimate success in the search for MH370, but we can be certain that we will spare no effort, that we will not rest, until we have done everything we humanly can.

I do pay tribute to all of the countries involved in the search. Apart from Australia and Malaysia we have China, Japan, Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. This is an extraordinary piece of international cooperation. It really is an extraordinary effort, including an effort that’s been joined by countries that aren’t used to cooperation, so it is an extraordinary international effort that has been taking place here. I say to anyone who might be inclined to pessimism about international peace and harmony: this is an antidote to pessimism. This is an example of how the countries of the world can work together. This is one of those times when we are all citizens of one world and we are all global citizens.

So Prime Minister Najib, thank you for coming to Australia. Thank you for the generous tribute that you’ve paid to all involved in the search and recovery effort. This is a sad time for you, this is a sad time for us, but we won’t rest until we’ve done everything we can to solve this mystery.


Thank you very much Prime Minister Abbott for your warm words of encouragement.

I would like to start by thanking the men and women who are giving their all to find MH370.

Over the past three weeks hundreds of people have journeyed thousands of kilometres to help. They have searched through stormy seas and freezing fog; they have sailed through storms to find the plane. We owe them each a debt of gratitude.

This has been a remarkable effort, bringing together nations from around the world. When MH370 went missing, dozens of countries answered the call for help. Their commitment will not be forgotten. In a time of great tragedy for the countries with citizens on board and the families whose loved ones are missing, this cooperation has given us all heart. Differences have been set aside as 26 nations have united behind a common cause. The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent, so too is the search.

This morning, I met sailors and aircrew at Pearce Air Force Base. I also spoke to the Commanders of the seven nations who are here to search for MH370. They told me of the difficulties of a search like this, of distance and weather and of maintaining morale over a long period. As I speak, 10 aircrafts and nine ships are searching the Indian Ocean for any sign of the missing plane. The search area is vast and the conditions are not easy, but a new refined area of search has given us new hope and I believe the courage of the crews is more than equal to the task. Once again, I thank them all for what they're doing.

I would also like to thank Prime Minister Abbott for hosting us here in Perth, for formally agreeing to lead the search operations in the southern Indian Ocean and for accepting our invitation for Australia to participate as an accredited representative in the investigation. We'll continue to work closely with the Australian Government to draw up a comprehensive agreement on the search. At this difficult time, Australia has proven an invaluable friend. The Australian authorities, like so many others, have offered their assistance without hesitation or delay. I would like to sincerely thank Australia for all they have done and are doing to find the plane.

We're also grateful to those who have brought their expertise to bear on what Prime Minister Abbott rightly called one of the great mysteries of our time. The disappearance of MH370 has tested our collective resolve. Faced with so little evidence and such a herculean task, investigators from Australia, China, France, Malaysia, the UK and United States have worked without pause to reveal the aircraft's movements. Their collective efforts have led us here.

We are here today, but our thoughts are thousands of kilometres away in the cities and countries around the world where families of those on board wait and wait desperately for news and in the vastness of the Indian Ocean where MH370 awaits. I know that until we find the plane, many families cannot start to grieve. I cannot imagine what they must be going through, but I can promise them that we will not give up.

Thank you.