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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 10070


Mr CLARE (Blaxland) (10:54): This is my first opportunity in the parliament to speak about the events of last week, many of which were focused in my electorate. A number of the raids and arrests took place there. I want to put on record my thanks to the Australian Federal Police, to the New South Wales police and to the other national security agencies involved. I have been privileged to work closely with most of them over the last few years as a minister, and I know that the work they do is not only very important but very difficult. The work they do is critical in keeping our community safe.

The alleged plot they thwarted is terrifying. It is intended to be. If proved true, it shows that what is happening on the other side world, the mess in Mesopotamia, can poison the minds of people with enough hate to do the most evil things here in Australia.

I represent an electorate with many Muslim Australians. The overwhelming majority are good, honest, hardworking people, as horrified by this as every other Australian. Dr Jamal Rifi, a great mate of mine, wrote in TheDaily Telegraph on Friday that there is a great sense of relief in the Muslim community that this alleged plot was nipped in the bud. But there is also a feeling of isolation; people are angry that their religion has been hijacked by extremists. They are also frustrated that they constantly have to prove that they are Australian, and they are worried that they are going to be targeted because of the actions of a few. This is a real risk. I see it happening already.

A friend of mine, Amer, has a young son. His son turned 11 just the other day. In the last few years, his biggest issue has been whether he cheers on the Eels or whether he supports the Bulldogs. On Friday he came home and he asked his dad, 'Dad, why does everybody hate us?' This worries me a lot, because it is exactly what organisations like ISIS want. They prey on people feeling isolated. They prey on people feeling like they do not belong, because if people feel like they do not belong then they are going to be more susceptible to the types of hateful, poisonous messages that are being preached by organisations like ISIS. Tackling this problem requires more than just laws, and it requires more than just the good work of our law enforcement agencies. It also requires more than just the help of community and religious leaders, parents, teachers, health professionals and youth workers. It requires the help of every Australian to make sure that we are everything that organisations like ISIS despise: that we are a free and tolerant people and that we live in a country where everyone feels like they belong.