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Monday, 22 September 2014
Page: 10127


Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (16:56): I rise to express my strong support for the Prime Minister's statement on Iraq. In security matters, of course, there are two key areas where good governments should focus: words and actions. Words matter because they shine a light on what we know to be true. By speaking plainly, we make it clear that we will not allow unconscionable acts to be swept under the carpet. Some things just have to be said so that barbarism cannot hide in the shadows. But actions matter even more, because without actions statements on security matters can become jarringly hollow. Our government has moved strongly to call the actions of ISIL for what they are. The evil perpetrated by this group ranks among the great horrors perpetrated by mankind. ISIL has committed indiscriminate mass murder. It has attempted to wipe out entire populations based on their ethnicity or religion. It has systematically subjected thousands of women to violence and sexual slavery. It has conducted depraved public exhibitions of murder designed to terrify and intimidate. Our Prime Minister has spoken strongly and forcefully against these horrific acts.

But we know that words on their own are not enough. We need to act to tackle this appalling terrorist army. We have done so. By providing humanitarian assistance to the Yazidi people during the siege of Mount Sinjar, we helped to save the lives of many people. Of course, the situation for the Yazidi people remains extremely difficult. But we know that the delivery of humanitarian supplies and air strikes by the United States allowed people to survive who would otherwise certainly have perished. We should be proud of that. As we move into a new phase in the conflict with ISIL, it is entirely right that Australia plays its part. It is not a Western coalition fighting ISIL; it is a coalition against evil. To not act would see ISIL expand its territory further, get access to more weapons—and potentially more sophisticated weapons—and give it a greater base from which to plan attacks around the world. No modern terrorist group has ever created such a record of destruction in such a short period of time. The speed of the advance of ISIL demonstrates that it will take substantial international commitment to stop it. We must be a part of that commitment. The tiny group of Australians who support ISIL are of course not reflective of any part of our society. We all want to see the killing stop. The actions that the government is taking will mean that Australia plays its part in stopping the rise of this appalling group.