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Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Page: 7889

Senator FAULKNER (New South Wales) (18:08): On behalf of the Chair of Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, I present the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on the review of the relisting of five terrorist organisations.

Ordered that the report be printed.

Senator FAULKNER: I move:

   That the Senate take note of the report.

On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, I am pleased to present the committee's report entitled Review of the relisting of five terrorist organisations. This report reviews the relisting of five previously listed terrorist organisations: Al-Shabaab, Hamas's Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Kurdistan Workers Party, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Having completed its review, I can advise the Senate that the committee does not recommend disallowance of the regulations for any of these five organisations. As with previous committee reports on listings and relistings of terrorist organisations, this report identifies issues relating to the current nature and reach of each of the organisations with particular emphasis on developments since the committee last reviewed these organisations. This is the first relisting of al-Shabaab; the fourth relisting of the Kurdistan Workers Party; and the fifth relisting of Hamas's Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The committee was satisfied that each of these groups continues to engage in terrorist activities which could be a threat to Australians or Australian interests either here in Australia or overseas. I should note for the Senate that in reviewing the evidence in support of the listings the committee draws in very large measure on the statement of reasons which is prepared by ASIO in conjunction with the Attorney-General's Department. However, completion of the statement of reasons would normally be at least one or two months prior to the committee writing its report, so in order to take into consideration the very latest information about each group the committee often refers to information on Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre website to support the evidence provided in the statement of reasons. I know that is of particular interest to Parliamentary Secretary Feeney who is an avid reader of the Jane's work.

Let me speak briefly about each of the five terrorist organisations. First, al-Shabaab's objective is the establishment of an Islamic state in Somalia based on Islamic law and the elimination of foreign 'infidel' influence. Second is the Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades which were officially established in 1991 to provide Hamas with a military capability. Originally, the Brigades were organised secretively, comprising compartmentalised cells that specialised in terrorist attacks, assassinations and kidnappings inside Israel. Since Hamas gained control of Gaza in 2007 and took up a governing role, the Brigades have been forced to develop, at least partially, into a more traditional military force. The Brigades operate predominantly in Gaza with limited representation on the West Bank.

Third is the Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK. The Kurdistan Workers Party objectives have changed over time, in line with Turkey's evolving political environment. The organisation now calls for autonomy for Kurds within Turkey and seeks to promote and advance the right of Kurds living in Turkey, specifically the right to maintain ethnic identity. The PKK has used violence to achieve its objectives.

Fourth is Lashkar-e-Taiba. It is a Sunni Islamic extremist organisation based in Pakistan that uses violence in pursuit of its stated objective of uniting Indian-administered Kashmir with Pakistan under a radical interpretation of Islamic law.

Finally, there is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. That is a Sunni Islamist Palestinian militant organisation committed to the destruction of the state of Israel. Accordingly, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad refuses to participate in the political process and rejects the possibility of a negotiated settlement to the Israel-Palestine problem.

The committee recommends that the regulations relisting these five organisations as terrorist organisations not be disallowed, and I commend the committee's report to the Senate.