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Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Page: 11780


Mr RUDDOCK (Berowra) (10:38): I support the observations of the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security about the importance of this report on the relisting of five terrorist organisations. I endorse his thanks to the secretariat and his expression of thanks to his committee colleagues who share in this work.

I think it is important to remind ourselves that Australia has been relatively successful in dealing with what is in fact a very substantial threat to our security and safety. The fact we have been relatively successful ought not to lead us to a sense of complacency about our relative position. If members had the opportunity to glance through this report, I think they would be apprised of the very significant and ongoing potential risk not only to world security but also to our own security.

The chair, in his comments, went to many of the same matters that I was intending to allude to—for example, Al Shabaab, which has an estimated 3,000 to 7,000 fighters and has the objective of establishing an Islamic state. The report shows that, on 29 October last year, three African Union peacekeepers were killed in a suicide attack; on 4 October, four civilians were killed in Mogadishu after a vehicle borne IED; on 1 October, a French national was kidnapped and later died in captivity. As the chair explained, there are links with Australia. People that have been convicted of planning terrorist acts here are inspired by this organisation.

As for Hamas, on 7 April last year an anti-tank missile was fired at a school bus, killing one; on 1 September, 10 Israeli settlers were wounded; on 31 August in 2010, four Israeli settlers were killed. These activities are continuing, and we need to have regard to that.

I was surprised by the number of terrorism related activities the Kurdistan Workers Party have been engaged in since 2009. On 1 March this year, 15 police officers and one civilian were wounded. On 24 November last year, three Turkish employees of a Canadian company were killed. On 11 November, there was the hijacking of a passenger ferry near Istanbul. On 29 October, a suicide bomber killed two and wounded 20 in Bingol. It is the case that, while there is no direct threat to Australia, tourists travelling in the area—and many Australians do travel to Turkey—could be affected by the indiscriminate targeting of tourist locations.

Lashkar-e-Tayyiba is one of the most capable and highly profiled militant groups in South Asia. On 11 October, it killed a policeman in Srinagar. On 11 January last, it kidnapped two schoolgirls from their home. On 10 August, an Indian soldier was killed. It has been linked to the Afghan Taliban and several Pakistani Islamic groups. These people have been linked to Australia, and I think the chair brought that up in his observations. It is well known that French national Willie Brigitte, whom a French court convicted of planning terrorist attacks in Australia, was linked to this organisation. Faheem Lodhi was convicted by the New South Wales Supreme Court as an associate of Brigitte, in the same organisation.

Turning to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, on 29 October, 11 rockets were launched into Israel, killing one and wounding two. On 20 August last year, rockets were launched into Israel, killing one and injuring another seven. On 11 January, two mortar rounds went into Israel.

These are activities that are ongoing and indiscriminate and involve organisations that have been previously proscribed. They are still engaged in those activities. At is important that we remain vigilant about these matters. I am pleased that the government has seen fit to act on these matters, on advice, and that the committee has endorsed the proscription of these organisations.