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Monday, 22 August 2011
Page: 8707


Mr RUDDOCK (Berowra) (10:15): I take the opportunity of endorsing the comments of the chair. It was unusual, because of the nature of the dissolution of the parliament and the reconstitution of the new parliament and the committee membership, that this matter was not able to be considered within the time frame to enable disallowance of the proscription of the terrorist organisations named in the report. But it is clear that these are the most seminal terrorist organisations that might be considered for listing and it is important, I think, to focus on the fact that we are dealing with the generic names al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, which have been the most significant terrorist organisations with potential links that can impact on Australians and have in fact taken the lives of numbers of Australians. So it was important, given the nature of the listing process, that the committee examine the evidence and it is important that the Australian public recognise from the evidence that has been adduced that these organisations still continue to pose significant threats to Australians, not necessarily in Australia but they can undertake actions and have undertaken actions which lead to the loss of Australian lives.

So what we have before us is a review of the initial listing of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the relisting of al-Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah, al-Qaeda in the lands of the Islamic Maghreb, Jamaat Ansar and Abu Sayyaf group and al-Qaeda in Iraq. I certainly believe very strongly, on the basis of the evidence that was adduced to the committee but also on an enormous amount of publicly available information, that we should continue. Mention was made of Jane's. If you read the report you will find that material is there and one ought to be very conscious of it. When I looked at the material in relation to the new organisation that is being proscribed, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the committee's view is that this organisation is one that should be proscribed. We were not minded to see it disallowed even if the time frame permitted of it.

Outlined in the report is the engagement of this organisation in terrorism, but I think it is important to look at the linkages with Australia mentioned on page 13 of the report. In paragraph 2.16 of the statement of reasons it does say that in February 2011 it was claimed in ABC's Foreign Correspondent television program that Yemen is al-Qaeda's new frontier and a launching pad for jihad inspired terrorism and that the leader of AQAP is drawing recruits from many nations around the world, including Australia. If you look at the report of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, at a private hearing we have ASIO asserting that this organisation released four editions of its quarterly English magazine Inspire aimed at radicalising and mobilising Muslim youth in the West and Australia has been mentioned twice in the second edition, once as a suitable country for attacks. So I think it is important to recognise that these organisations, al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, still pose threats to Australia. This is outlined in the report in detail. For those who have doubts and think that the situation has moved on and we should perhaps be easing off, this report should be compelling reading for all.

I endorse the comments of the chair in relation to the committee and can I add in relation to the named staff in the report Robert Little, who is here in the gallery, how much we appreciate the work that he and his colleagues have done. I might say this report is very important in bipartisan terms.

The SPEAKER: I think it is important that I did not cut off the member for Berowra for Mr Little's sake a few moments ago. The time allotted for the discussion has concluded.