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Thursday, 12 February 2015
Page: 715

National Security

Mrs MARKUS (Macquarie) (14:06): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister further update the House on Tuesday's counterterrorism arrests in Sydney? What is the government doing to keep the community safe?

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahPrime Minister) (14:06): I thank the member for Macquarie for her question. I can say to this parliament and to the Australian people that we have been saved from an imminent terrorist attack inspired by the Islamist death cult which is now stalking so much of the Middle East.

This morning I received a briefing from the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Andrew Colvin, and from the Director-General of ASIO, Duncan Lewis, about these arrests and the attack that these arrests have forestalled. As part of that briefing, I was shown a pre-attack video that had been prepared by the men arrested. Kneeling before the death cult flag with a knife in his hand and a machete before him, one of those arrested said this:

I swear to almighty Allah, we will carry out the first operation for the soldiers of the caliphate in Australia.

He went on to say:

I swear to almighty Allah, blond people, there is no room for blame between you and us. We only are you stabbing the kidneys and striking necks.

I do not think it would be possible to witness uglier fanaticism than this, more monstrous fanaticism and extremism than this, and I regret to say it is now present in our country. I want to stress that we are a decent and tolerant people. We are a compassionate and free society, but we will never allow evil people to exploit our freedom.

Government members: Hear, hear!

Mr ABBOTT: I want to thank New South Wales Police, the Australian Federal Police and our security agencies for the work they did to forestall this attack. We need them now more than ever. This is a metastasising threat, because under current conditions under the influence of the Islamist death cult, all you need to be a terrorist is a knife, a flag, a camera-phone and a victim. That is all you need.

We can defeat this threat. We will defeat this threat. We must defeat this threat. And I am confident that this government has the will to do so. We have the will to defeat these evil people. We have the will to protect our way of life.

I can inform the House that the anti-terror legislation recently passed by the parliament was helpful in securing this arrest. There is more legislation on data retention shortly to come before the parliament and it must be passed if our community is to be as safe as it should be in these difficult times.