The federal government’s powerful national security committee(NSC) is holding an emergency meeting after a Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down in Ukraine, killing 27 Australians.
The committee is chaired by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and also includes Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Attorney-General George Brandis and Defence Minister David Johnston.
Treasurer Joe Hockey, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison are also members.
“We do need to consider the wider implications of this and that’s why the national security committee of the cabinet will be meeting this morning,” Mr Abbott told Melbourne radio 3AW on Friday.
The committee focuses on major international security issues of strategic importance to Australia. Officials such as the heads of spy agencies ASIO and ASIS and the Chief of the Defence Force also attend.
Decisions taken by the NSC do not require the endorsement of the cabinet.
Mr Abbott says the government can so far confirm 23 Australians were on board the plane carrying 295 people.
But authorities in the Netherlands, where the plane took off, put the number of Australians at 27.