Source: Prime Minister of Australia
Samantha Armytage: We’re joined now by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Prime Minister, good morning to you, welcome. You spoke to Kylie Moore-Gilbert a short time ago. What did she say? What kind of condition is she in?
Prime Minister: I did speak to Kylie earlier this morning and, of course, we learnt last night that finally she was with our Ambassador in Tehran, Ambassador Sachs who has done an amazing job together with all the team at DFAT. But most of all to Kylie herself and her family. Their patience, their endurance, their persistence, all absolutely necessary in securing her release. Now, we would never comment on the details of that release or the arrangements around it, that is not just to protect these arrangements but also Australians in any circumstances in a like way around the world. We deal with these matters very discreetly and we work quietly behind the scenes as we have been doing now for two years to secure her release. So we are very happy. She is obviously very thrilled but she is processing it all, as you would expect, she is on her way back to Australia and we are making those, we’ve put those arrangements in place for her transfer to Australia. She is with Australian officials who are giving her all the support she needs. There will be quite an adjustment for Kylie, she has gone through a terrible ordeal. An absolutely awful ordeal, the injustice of her detention and her conviction. Australia has always rejected. And I’m so pleased Kylie is coming home.
David Koch: Yep, it is absolutely great news. As you say, I know it is a delicate situation, but she has been released in a prisoner swap. Are these prisoners from Australia?
Prime Minister: Again, I don’t go into any of these arrangements or even to confirm what you have just said. What we have been able to do is secure Kylie’s release and we work with a lot of these cases around the world, there are other cases, and we simply just get on and get the job done and do so consistent with Australia’s national interest, and we work through all the necessary diplomatic channels. It’s not easy, there are often many false starts in this process and we have been down this road several times. So even last night, as I was being updated on the arrangements and the progress that was being made, not just last night but over the last few days in particular, we were very hopeful but we have been in similar situations before. So I was just very pleased that when we got the news late last night that she was safe and she would be returning and just the opportunity to talk to her. She is so grateful to all Australians, she is obviously very grateful for the support she has had from Australian officials and the Government. Marise Payne has led this process. Her passion and commitment to this has been extraordinary and I really want to commend Marise Payne for the great job she has done as Foreign Minister.
Armytage: This is a really good result, Prime Minister. We had Keith Suttor on, our foreign expert this morning and he was questioning mentally how she would be. He believes in solitary confinement for two years, these Iranian prisons are notoriously appalling and high rates of COVID et cetera. How did she seem to you, how was her health and mental health?
Prime Minister: In terms of physical health and mental health, she will go through all the normal assessments that are done in these circumstances and debriefing and all of these things. But I must say, for someone who had just spent two years in an Iranian prison in all sorts of different circumstances over that period of time, she sounded remarkably well under those circumstances. Obviously though, it is still sinking in, the whole experience. She hasn’t seen much of what’s been happening in Australia. We had a chat about that, you know, what has been going on in Australia? Because when she first went to Iran, I had only just come into this role, so she hadn’t heard much about me and we’re looking forward to meet when she comes back. She knows about COVID, obviously. But she has been focusing on getting herself through this and she has been able to do that with some tremendous support. But the support she knew she was getting from the Australian people, I know really lifted her spirits and none of us can really imagine the ordeal that she has been through. But she is an extraordinary, extraordinary Australian. Her intelligence, but not just that, her determination and her strength is something amazing and that, together with the support she has had has got her through this ordeal. But obviously there will be a big adjustment when she comes back to Australia and settles back into a normal life, which I’m sure she has been dreaming of and many of us have been praying for.
Koch: Absolutely. Prime Minister, good news, appreciate your time. Thank you.
Prime Minister: It is, thanks a lot. Cheers.