Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for his question, and I thank him for the work that he has done on the very important Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. On this side of the House we understand that national security is absolutely essential to our plan to grow the Australian economy, particularly following COVID-19. You actually can't have one without the other. So, even as we've been going through the process of tackling and dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we have never, ever lost sight of the fact that there are many challenges that we are facing in terms of our national security, and we understand very clearly that the world around us is changing very dramatically. And we as a government have always been alive to those challenges.
Sadly, the threat of terrorism and violent extremism is very, very real. Our national terrorism threat level has remained at 'probable' since September 2014. In that time, 145 people have been charged as a result of 72 counterterrorism related operations around Australia. In fact, it was just last month that three men were before the New South Wales courts and were convicted of separate terrorism offences. It's absolutely a reminder that the threat has not gone away. So this morning I announced the government's intention to list, in its entirety, Hezbollah, as well as The Base, as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code. Hezbollah's external security organisation has been a listed terrorist organisation since 2003. The group continues to threaten terrorist attacks and provide support to terrorist organisations, so it's fitting that we extend the listing to the entirety of Hezbollah. The Base is a violent, racist, neo-Nazi group known by security agencies to be planning and preparing terrorist attacks. The violence and the views of these extremist groups are a stain on Australia's rich cultural fabric. There is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies. Our government has invested over $69 million in funding to counter violent extremism since 2013. The Morrison government will always focus on national security and protecting the Australian way of life from those who would seek to do us harm. It is not only the first duty of government but also the foundation of securing our economic recovery.