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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13254

Global Terrorism

Mr IRONS (Swan) (14:19): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister outline to the House the collective response of global leaders to the recent terror attacks around the world?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:20): I thank the honourable member for his question. The international response to the terrorist attacks in Paris and elsewhere—Bamako, Beirut, Ankara, the Russian airliner in the Sinai—were front and centre in all of the discussions I had with global leaders at the G20, APEC and East Asia summit.

All of the leaders agreed that the fight against terrorism is the major priority in global national security. We all reiterated our resolve to work together to defeat terrorism through increased international cooperation, including tackling the financing channels of terrorism, including tackling the messaging challenge where—despite the ISIL group, in particular, offering what is a barbaric, archaic version of Islam, one that defames Islam and blasphemes god—they have been very skilful users of online platforms, including social media. We are going to collaborate further on how we combat that, and a new countermessaging centre is being established in Malaysia to do that.

ISIL must be defeated and must be defeated in the field, in Syria and in Iraq. Australia has the second largest foreign military contribution of coalition partners to the battle against ISIL—more than any other country, other than the United States. We have six FA18 Hornets involved in missions in that theatre, with 250 personnel in the Air Task Group, 90 special forces advisers and around 300 soldiers building the capacity of the Iraqi Army. Those service men and women are doing their job with the professionalism and commitment and courage of the Anzac spirit.

We are working with our coalition allies—and that is as it should be. We have to destroy ISIL together. But we cannot and should not act unilaterally, not only because that would be obviously unreasonable and unwise but because it would be in violation of our agreement with the government of Iraq.

I know that many people here and in the United States have argued that America and its allies should dispatch a large expeditionary force to conquer and hold the ISIL-controlled areas in much the same way as Iraq was conquered and occupied in 2003. That is not the policy of the United States government or of any of the coalition partners, and it is unrealistic for Australia to embark on any military operations in that region other than in partnership with our allies.

Mr Champion interjecting

Mr Perrett interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield and the member for Moreton will cease interjecting.