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Tuesday, 3 June 2003
Page: 15800

Mr RUDD (6:29 PM) —The Criminal Code Amendment (Terrorist Organisations) Bill 2003 and the Criminal Code Amendment (Hizballah) Bill 2003 Criminal Code Amendment (Hizballah) Bill 2003—bills which the opposition will support in part and, in their current form, will oppose in part—are before this parliament because we in this country, like people in other countries, have entered a new era in terms of security, both at home and abroad. The characteristic of this new era is that we face an entirely new threat spectrum. The threat spectrum which Australia faces has broadened, deepened and, in some respects, become seamless between what were once described neatly as national threats to security and international threats to security.

How has the threat spectrum broadened? In the past, we had a classical view of the state. The function of government was to protect the security of the realm by defending it against territorial invasion from abroad while maintaining law and order at home, with law and order principally being maintained against threats of crimes against property and crimes against the person. These views, in fact, form the ultimate minimalist definition of the state. But we now face something quite different, something which is of a different character and calibre altogether.

We face an expanded, broadened threat spectrum which covers, from one extreme, the possibility—still—of military invasion. However remote that possibility may be, it is a contingency which still must be planned for. We now face the threat of terrorism, including subsets of terrorism such as cyberterrorism; the continuing threat of unlawful people movements across the world; the increased possibility of an expanded narcotics trade; money laundering; and transnational organised crime. Infectious diseases borne from one country to another—of which SARS is the most current illustration—are also threats. We also face the threat, here in our own region, of what is described as small arms proliferation. We face, therefore, a broadening of the threat spectrum. From what was once seen as the quite narrow function of the state to protect this country against threats to its territorial integrity by an invading state, we now face something much broader than our defence and security planners have had to contend with in the past.

We also face a deepening of the threat spectrum for this country. Take terrorism as the example. Its origins, its fuelling factors—be they religious, political or ideological—have remained constant across the ages. What is new is the enhanced means of organisation of terrorist organisations, which are now in fact quite formidable. Advances as far as finances are concerned, organisational rigour, communication, global mobility and interoperability—these are the characteristics of a modern terrorist organisation. Whereas terrorism has been around as a phenomenon in international relations for some centuries, the machinery through which terrorism is now advanced is the machinery of the modern and globalised age—and it is a formidable and, at times, frightening machinery to behold.

The threat spectrum this country faces has been broadened and deepened, and, at a different level, it has become almost seamless. The difference between what might once have been described as a domestic terrorist organisation and an international organisation has become seamless, as these things now effectively merge. The relationship between terrorist organisations and transnational crime has also become seamless, with transnational crime often fuelling the finances that actually enable terrorist organisations to undertake their work. On top of that, an almost seamless relationship has developed between those states which, in some cases, finance terrorist organisations and the normal financial infrastructure of those states.

The increasing seamlessness of the security threat is not confined to terrorism. This seamlessness, this collapse of the neat division between the national and the international, the internal and the external, the domestic and the foreign, is occurring across the various dimensions of the threat spectrum that we now face. This, therefore, is the new threat spectrum which Australia confronts in the 21st century. It is the real threat spectrum which security policy planners in this country must confront. It requires us to re-examine the machinery of government which we deploy in formulating an integrated national security policy for Australia. In determining what the content of an integrated national security policy should be, we need to include the relative priorities of the requirements of the Australian Defence Force, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, of our intelligence agencies and other forms of security policy apparatus, including the customs service, the immigration service and the fisheries service.

Beyond that, we are faced with the challenge of how this new threat spectrum affects the way in which we construct an effective operational strategy for each arm of the national security policy that we would seek to develop for the country. What implications does such an integrated national security policy have for the defence doctrine and force structure of the Australian Defence Force? What detailed implications does it have for the resourcing, tasking and ultimate direction of the various intelligence agencies which are in the possession of government? What implications arise for the powers, doctrines and resources of the range of other instruments of national security policy across the Commonwealth and the various state governments? And, beyond all these things, how do these various agencies of state, given the resources they possess and the new threat spectrum they confront, operate effectively and seamlessly in order to confront the new, seamless threat which the nation has before it?

These questions constitute the real national security policy debate of Australia. They constitute a debate which must be had. When they are applied to our own Australian national circumstances, we see readily the terrain in which that debate must be fashioned. As far as classical military security is concerned, these factors have not died; we face within our own region the continuing threat of nuclear proliferation not just on the Korean Peninsula but beyond it as well. Here in South-East Asia we face the continuing threat of al-Qaeda based terrorism and its derivative arms through the Jemaah Islamiah organisation. Beyond that again we see the implosion of law and order funded by the proliferation of small arms, funded perhaps by the narcotics trade and funded by the collapse of state infrastructures right across Melanesia and the broader south-west Pacific.

These constitute the real threats to Australia's national security. I contrast them with what I would describe as the manufactured threats to Australian national security—manufactured threats such as the government's argument some years ago on the back of the Tampa crisis that this country was about to be invaded by refugees. The reality of course is that the answer to dealing with the outflow of unlawful people movements across the Indonesian archipelago lies where it has always lain: in having an effective, working political relationship with Jakarta which enables the outflow of people movements from broader South-East Asia, the Middle East and South Asia to be stopped in the Indonesian archipelago and to be dealt with appropriately there.

Beyond that we have had other manufactured threats as well. The most recent was the manufactured threat that somehow this country was under immediate real and present danger from the existence of weapons of mass destruction within Iraq—weapons of mass destruction which at this stage do not appear to have been discovered and do not appear to have been used on the active Iraqi battlefield but which, on the government's argument, constituted means which the Iraqi state or those acting on its behalf could deploy, against the security of this country or of our immediate allies. That was a further manufactured threat.

But the greatest manufactured threat of all was that represented by `Operation Fridge Magnet', whose central guiding axioms are `Be afraid; be very afraid' and `Be alarmed; don't be alert.' Twenty million dollars worth of fridge magnets distributed across the country giving you helpful and handy hints on how to be frightened out of your wits—that is essentially what that was about. Where does this manufactured set of security threats and concerns come from? Are these the rational components of a debate about a real national security policy for Australia? I would argue that they are not. I think that what we see in these artifices of government is not a national security policy for Australia at work but instead integral parts of a national political strategy for the Liberal Party.

What is the essence of this national political strategy? It is very simple. When you strip it down to its bare essentials it is this: to cause the Australian people to be so frightened of their future that they forget about fairness—forget about Medicare, forget about higher education and forget about families under financial pressure. In other words, instead of the real national security agenda to which I referred before—a real national security agenda which deals with the emerging threat spectrum of the 21st century for this country—what we have had is a considerable deployment of government resources in a series of manufactured security agendas designed to keep people afraid.

Coming to the real agenda, let us see what has not been done in our region as far as security policy is concerned. On the Korean Peninsula and the continuing threat represented by North Korea's nuclear proliferation, I have seen in the last six months a virtually non-existent Australian diplomacy. Had Gareth Evans been foreign minister of Australia as opposed to Alexander Downer, this country would have had an activist foreign policy designed to bring about a real solution for the Korean Peninsula—as Gareth Evans delivered a solution, by his interventions, for Cambodia. The problem of Cambodia was solved by an activist Australian foreign policy focusing on the kind of real security threat within our own region which, at a heightened level, the Korean Peninsula represents today. What we have instead is a policy on the Korean Peninsula waiting to be born, as far as this government is concerned. In South-East Asia we have the unravelling, unrolling security threat represented by al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah within our own neighbourhood. We have, in effect, dysfunctional levels of cooperation between this country and the security and intelligence services of most of our region in dealing with the essence of the security threat represented by these terrorist organisations in our own neighbourhood.

The government is in the business of running around signing various MOUs with various regional governments. That is well and good, although a number of those MOUs nearly became stillborn as a result of the Prime Minister's peculiar diplomatic intervention last December when he said that his solution to resolving the nation's problems with terrorism in South-East Asia was to threaten our neighbouring states with the prospect of territorial invasion. That was John Howard's unique version and definition of military pre-emption here in our region. Even in the presence of those MOUs on counterterrorism which were nearly derailed, we still have an ineffective level of cooperation with regional partners in dealing with terrorist organisations on the ground, in the villages, next to the mosques and next to the village schools—and that is where the breeding grounds of so many of these organisations exist today.

Like the previous speaker, the member for Wentworth, I heard the public address given by Rohan Gunaratna—probably one of the world's two most established experts on al-Qaeda and its associated terrorist organisations—when he was here in Canberra last week. What Mr Gunaratna had to say was alarming indeed. He said that as soon as the human resources of al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah were being depleted, on one hand, by the various law enforcement mechanisms and military strategies being deployed around the world they were being replenished, on the other hand, from the breeding grounds for radical Islamist terrorism which continue to exist within our region. In other words, whatever personnel are being shed by these organisations are being replenished. Those are not my words; they are Mr Gunaratna's words.

Furthermore, Mr Gunaratna said that here in our own region we need to be concerned about a changing pattern of targeting by these terrorist organisations. The new targeting priorities which are alive within these terrorist organisations attach themselves to soft population targets, and economic targets as well. Despite all of this, the foreign minister and the defence minister have said in recent times, `Australia is now, as a result of the war in Iraq, safer from terrorism.' This is despite the fact—as Mr Gunaratna has said—that, in the month or so since the formal conclusion of hostilities in Iraq, terrorist warnings against Australians in the region and beyond have been increased on 26 occasions; and despite the fact that the defence minister has indicated that Australia requires the Army Reserve to defend our domestic infrastructure against possible terrorist attack; and despite the fact that we have had a further reported tape recorded warning specifically mentioning Australia, together with three other states, from the al-Qaeda operation. These are the unaddressed security concerns which the country faces, as well as those which I alluded to before across Melanesia, where we have the implosion of states.

These agendas demand real responses. That is why we in the opposition have recommended that we need a regional summit of heads of government on terrorism across South-East Asia and the broader ASEAN nations to deliver the political momentum necessary to make the law enforcement agencies do the work on the ground. We in the Labor Party have argued for the establishment of an Office of National Security, under a National Security Adviser, so that the warring states which represent the various agencies of security policy in this country can be brought together to develop—for the first time in the history of the federation—an integrated national security policy for the nation. At present, we have a foreign policy, a defence policy, a customs policy, a fisheries policy and an immigration policy, but we do not have an integrated national security policy—and we need one. The government's tinkering at the edges and saying that a particular branch of the Prime Minister's department will be enhanced to create a security division is not even, frankly, an effective step in the right direction. Beyond this, Labor's positive proposals include the establishment of a department of homeland security, which would seek to bring together the relevant agencies responsible for implementing an integrated security policy for Australia. These are the critical questions which lie ahead in the debate here in Australia.

We do not disagree on all things in this parliament. On the question of terrorism, we and the government have worked together. We agreed on the question of al-Qaeda and Afghanistan, and we rose in this parliament as one to endorse a resolution to go to war in Afghanistan, which we did, and to subsequently proscribe the al-Qaeda organisation. We have worked together in the environment post-Bali, and we have proscribed, through the United Nations, the Jemaah Islamiah organ-isation. When it comes to the Hezbollah external terrorist organisation, we are working together yet again. Why proscribe this organisation? It fits the very definition of terrorism. This is not a domestic organisation. The Hezbollah external terrorist organisation is as domestic as it is international. In 1983, 243 US Marines lost their lives at the hands of this organisation in Lebanon. In 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was destroyed by this organisation. In 1994, the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires was destroyed and bombed by this organ-i-sation. In 1994 again, another attack on an embassy was contemplated but interrup-ted in Bangkok—again by this organisation.

The Hezbollah external terrorist organisation is funded by foreign states and exists with operational arms in over 60 separate countries. When you look at their operational guiding philosophy, it is a disturbing one indeed. Its declared leader, Hassan Nasrallah, stated last September, `Death to America will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan.' Last Christmas, he implored his followers to spread their message globally. He said, `I encourage Palestinians to take suicide bombings worldwide. Don't be shy about it. Martyrdom operations, suicide bombings, should be exported.'

For those reasons—the history of the organisation and the statements made by its leader—it is an organisation which must be proscribed. We have before us legislation by which to proscribe it. Other governments have done so: the United Kingdom, the Unit-ed States and Canada. Australia must follow suit. This organisation has no place in a civilised country. This country—govern-ment and opposition—is united in taking efforts to ensure the Hezbollah external terrorist organ-i-sation has no place in it. (Time expired)