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Monday, 21 November 2016
Page: 3831


Mr HASTIE (Canning) (17:07): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes that as the terrorist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, comes under increasing pressure in Iraq and Syria, there is the risk that more foreign fighters will seek to leave, with some trying to return to their home countries, including Australia;

(2) acknowledges that the Government:

(a) has given greater support, funding and legislative powers to law enforcement and security agencies; and

(b) continues to work in close partnership with international partners to counter the terrorism risk; and

(3) notes that the national security challenges facing Australia continue to evolve.

Last month I declared that Australia, as part of the global coalition against Islamic State was trending towards victory. In October, Islamic State lost control of additional territory—four per cent in Iraq and two per cent in Syria. Therefore, since there are high-water mark of August 2014, Islamic State has significant territory—56 per cent in Iraq and 27 per cent in Syria. Right now, the battle for Mosul is being fought. Its liberation will be among Islamic State's most significant losses to date, alongside the loss of Fallujah, another critical urban centre that was once under their control. Their grip on the Syrian city of Raqqa is being eroded by militia forces, backed by Australia and the coalition. The curtain indeed is coming down on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. With every gain made, new stories emerge of the oppression and terror that people have faced under Islamic State. This only stiffens our resolve.

We cannot understand Islamic State without first engaging their world view. It is the keystone to their whole movement. It serves as the blueprint for their military strategy and their barbaric tactics. Australian academic Robert Manne has written on this subject both in The Monthly and in a recent book, The Mind of the Islamic State. I suggest that this is essential reading for Australian policymakers. He states that ideology is at the heart of Islamic State:

The more I read the more convinced I became that the Islamic State's barbarous behaviour could not possibly be grasped without some real familiarity with the character and content of their ideology. As so often in history, it is ideas that kill.

Very simply, Islamic State theology—a radical Salafist interpretation of Islam—gives rise to a totalitarian world view that is entirely incompatible with Western civilisation. Its demands are clear: all must submit to the Islamic State and become part of a worldwide caliphate. They despise our way of life and our democratic freedoms and traditions.

Territory is critical to the validation of Islamic State ideology, so every coalition advance undermines the ideological legitimacy of ISIS. As its territory recedes, we not only press the material advantage but we also strike hammer blows at their world view. This is a contest of ideas that must be waged both materially and intellectually. The liberation of Dabiq is a case in point. According to Islamic State, this small unremarkable Syrian village was to be the place where the armies of Islam would win a great battle against the West, the first in a string of apocalyptic victories. Dabiq fell to coalition backed forces last month. This is a profound setback for Islamic State, one that strikes decisively at the heart of their world view.

Australia is a partner to the global coalition which is disrupting and degrading Islamic State's activities and capabilities in the Middle East. Beyond training Iraqi troops and conducting air strikes in Iraq and Syria, Australia is working with coalition partners to tackle Islamic State's financing and economic infrastructure, to prevent the movement of foreign fighters across borders and to restore essential services in liberated population centres in Iraq and Syria. With Australian support the global campaign is making progress. This is welcome news; however, the campaign against IS is far from over.

As the caliphate continues to collapse, the bulk of its 30,000 foreign fighters will seek to repatriate themselves into communities in the West. Among that group are over 100 foreign fighters who hold Australian passports, which is to say that they are Australians in name only. They have rejected our way of life. The Australian parliament has passed five tranches of counterterrorism and national security legislation over the last two years. This legislation ensures our law enforcement and intelligence agencies are empowered to combat Islamic State and their affiliates.

Thousands of foreign fighters, without question, will flee the caliphate to hide in the West. They will come battle hardened and radicalised and will seek to sow discord and terror in our communities. Maintaining border sovereignty and rigorous immigration checks has never been so important. The Turnbull government's principled, realistic border security measures stand as an example to both Europe and the United States. By controlling the flow of migration, we have avoided the mistakes of Europe. We do not have the same security challenges on our shores. The Prime Minister and the immigration minister are to be commended for their resolve in keeping the people of Australia safe.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mrs Wicks ): Is the motion seconded?

Mr Wallace: I second the motion and reserve my right to speak.