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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Page: 12249

National Security

Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (14:29): My question is for the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister advise the House how the government is preventing young people from being radicalised and travelling overseas to fight in the conflict in Iraq?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinMinister for Foreign Affairs) (14:29): The fight against ISIL, or Daesh, must include challenging its ideology and rejecting its medieval view of the world, with its agenda of regional and global conquest. It is an ideology that aspires to place all of humanity under its yoke of brutal savage oppression so it must be renounced at every turn. The government is committed to working with our communities to combat radicalisation through our new $13.5 million package of initiatives to counter violent extremism. This includes youth diversion activities, mental health care, mentoring, employment and educational pathway support, and counselling. I commend senior Muslim leaders for condemning ISIL and for urging young Muslims to resist being exploited by this terrorist group.

A globalised threat requires a globalised response. Australia has agreements with 17 countries for information and intelligence sharing on terrorist ideology and on countering terrorist narratives. This month we are funding a visit to Pakistan by an Australian female Islamic scholar to give a series of lectures focused on the important role of women in countering extremist narratives. We are also supporting the United Nations global counter-terrorism strategy, which underpins international efforts to address the causes of extremism and terrorism and to strengthen law enforcement while promoting global cooperation in counter-terrorism.

Community outreach is critical to preventing young Australians from travelling overseas to take part in the conflict in Syria and Iraq. In addition to cancelling 73 passports on national security grounds, legislation is currently before the parliament to ensure that extremists who engage in terrorism and who try to come back to this country can be arrested, prosecuted and jailed for any terrorist activities.

The risks posed by radicalisation demand a more flexible and timely response. The new foreign fighters legislation will give me the authority to more quickly suspend Australian passports. This means we can respond to calls for help, for example, from worried parents and community leaders who fear that their children have been radicalised and are about to depart Australia, possibly forever.

It would also help us to prevent Australian extremists from travelling to the conflict zones and returning to Australia or indeed from going to other countries as trained and hardened terrorist with the skills to conduct far more devastating attacks on our communities, our institutions and our infrastructure. The government is committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and to keeping our people say.