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Monday, 28 May 2012
Page: 5636


Mr RUDDOCK (Berowra) (10:25): First, I endorse the comments of the chair and thank him for acknowledging our colleague, who is no longer a member of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security, and for his comments about the professional staff who assist us. It is very important that committees are well served, particularly in this area of public policy.

It is important to recognise that what we are doing is listing organisations that are undertaking terrorist activity. It has consequences for Australians when organisations are listed as terrorist organisations. It certainly is relevant to the support of such organisations, the membership of them, the financing of them, and it makes the prosecution of those who may be engaged in such activity much easier when organisations have been proscribed.

That has very significant consequences for Australians and it is important that people are aware that organisations, when listed, are the subject of continuing review as to whether or not that should continue. That is what we are about: these four organisations under review were initially listed as terrorist organisations in 2003. It was the case that those legislative arrangements required that organisations be proscribed that had been identified by the United Nations, in particular, as being terrorist organisations. These organisations came up for review under new legislative arrangements passed in 2004, and therefore the committee reviewed the first relisting of these organisations in 2005, in 2007, in 2009 and in 2011. This is the fourth review of these organisations.

Why is it that they have been listed? It is very important to look at the relevant criteria. They have to engage in terrorist activity. They have to have ideology or links to other terrorist organisations and networks. Those links have to be relevant to Australia; there have to be threats to Australian interests. Proscription by the UN or like-minded countries is also a relevant matter. This report deals with the four organisations mentioned.

When you go through the material, it is quite relevant that each of them has had some implications for Australians in Australia or serving abroad. Ansar al-Islam conducts attacks against foreign forces and often uses IEDs. It claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed an Australian cameraman, the ABC's Paul Moran in Iraq, in 2003. It regularly releases statements advocating violent jihad. The Islamic Movement in Uzbekistan is a militant group in central and south Asia. It gained a profile in 1999 to 2000 with attacks in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is now located in northern Afghanistan and supports the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including attacks on coalition forces, identified particularly in 2010 in Kunduz province. Pakistan based militants Jaish-e-Mohammed, operating in Indian Administered Kashmir, have targeted civilian and military targets in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, including with suicide bombings, and it supports the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan which places Australian Defence Force lives at risk. The last organisation, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, is a significant threat to Shiah, Pakistan and Western government targets. It made a double suicide attack in 2010 that left 44 civilians dead in Pakistan; it vowed retaliation following the death of Osama bin Laden and it conducted significant attacks near Quetta including small arms attacks. It supports the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan which could put the lives of Australians at risk. It is relevant that these organisations are still engaged in terrorist activity and they ought to be proscribed. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Time allotted for statements on this report has expired. Does the honourable member for Holt wish to move a motion in connection with the report to enable it to be debated on a future occasion?