Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Statements on Indulgence
Terrorist Attacks around the World
I rise to speak on indulgence in response to the Prime Minister's statement on the recent terrorist attacks around the world.
Overnight, we have heard again of yet more attacks—in Tunisia and in Egypt. This year we have grieved, again and again, for the innocent victims of terrorist attacks: people going to a concert in Paris; people marching for peace in Ankara; people attending a funeral in Baghdad or buying bread in Beirut. People eating breakfast at a hotel in Mali or attending university in Kenya or playing volleyball in Pakistan or walking down the street in Jerusalem or, indeed, leaving work in Parramatta.
We mourn with those who saw their loved ones go out on a very ordinary day to catch a bus; to pray in a church or synagogue or mosque; to go to school or work; to catch up with friends at a cafe or to see a show. We mourn for those who will never see their family members again. Our deepest sympathies are with the wounded, and our greatest hope is for their recovery from injuries to body and mind.
It breaks our hearts, of course, that there are so many families shattered, so many lives lost, so many bodies broken. It breaks our hearts but does not weaken our resolve. We are resolved to do everything we can to protect our citizens and our values. The government and the opposition stand together in our commitment to the safety and security of the Australian people, and our commitment to combat terrorists at home and abroad.This resolve is a key reason for Australia's military engagement in Iraq and Syria, our participation in the international mission against Daesh.We have a responsibility, as a good global citizen, to respond to the Iraqi government's request for assistance in its fight against Daesh. This year,Australia extended our mission to include air-strikes against targets located in Syria, also under the international legal principle of collective self-defence.We thank the brave men and women of the Australian Defence Force for the professionalism with which they are carrying out their duties. They are a credit to their country.
Labor's support for the campaign in Syria and Iraq is based on humanitarian considerations. The greatest number of victims of Daesh are those who are forced to live beneath their brutal rule. The civil war in Syria has resulted in the gravest humanitarian crisis of our time. Well over 200,000 people have lost their lives , with some estimates at more than 300,000; half the population has been displaced—many millions have fled Syria altogether— and the conflict has become a beacon and a breeding ground for extremists. Syria is of course an exceedingly complex theatre, with a wide range of internal and external actors who have equally wide ranging agendas. Ove r night, with t he downing of a Russian plane by Turkish forces, we have seen how this complexity can have tragic and unanticipated consequences. It is our hope that Turkey and Russia exercise restraint, and that this incident is not allowed to jeopardise the goal of a lasting and durable peace in Syria. We must all redouble our efforts to make that the case . A s the Prime Minister said yesterday , and Labor has consistently argued :
U ltimately a political solution is needed in Syria. Only this would allow attention to turn more fully to eliminating ISIL as a military force.
We have consistently called for a clear strategy in Syria and Iraq—a plan to defeat Daesh and a plan for the day after. This strategy needs to include a strong and coordinated military response to prevent Daesh from perpetrating its crimes. It also needs to include a political solution so that both Syria and Iraq guarantee the rights of all religious and ethnic communities, and we also require a humanitarian response to prevent a generation of children growing up without an education , without adequate health care , without even a country to call their own .
W hile there are a range of views on the correct plan to defeat Daesh on the battlefield, we agree with most of the international coalition partners that large scale deployment of Western troops is not the correct strategy. Hilary Clinton said recently :
If we have learned anything from 15 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s that local people and nations have to secure their own communities. We can help them, and we should, but we cannot substitute for them. But we can and should support local and regional ground forces in carrying out this mission.
I would add that we have to have a clear objective for this assistance — a plan for now, and a plan for when we leave.
As the terrorist attacks this week, this month, this year, have so painfully shown, we must also combat the threat of terrorist attacks within our borders. French authorities have acted swiftly and strongly against those involved in carrying out the recent attack s in Paris, and who were quite possibly planning further attacks . In Australia, our intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies are at the front line in foiling and disrupting threats to Australians. We have some of the best security and intelligence agencies in the world, and we will continue to give them all our support as they carry out their difficult and necessary work .
We know for certain that our people have stopped attacks in Australia, on Australians, that would have killed our citizens. We all know — how can we not know — that it i s possible an attack will not be prevented. It has happened in Australia, with the Lindt c af e siege and in attacks on police officers and police employees in Melbourne and Sydney. None of us can be complacent. But we can all be certain that , while terrorist acts may exact a terrible t oll, terrorism will not prevail—b ecause we have seen that every act of terror prompts a thousand acts of courage.
We saw Adel Termos in Beirut letting go of the hand of his six - year - old daughter to throw his arms around a suicide bomber, saving dozens of lives as he lost his own. We saw Michel Catalano telling his young employee to hide as the fugitive Charlie Hebdo gunmen came into his business . He fac ed the danger alone. And Stephane Sarrade, whose 23- year - old son H ugo was killed in the Bataclan theatre, saying:
I would like to give hope to the next generation. The rest of my life, that will be my work.
A ntoine Leiris, whose wife and the mother of his infant son was also murdered in that theatre, wrote in an open letter to the terrorists:
… I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you … You would like me to be scared, for me to look at my fellow citizens with a suspicious eye, for me to sacrifice my liberty for my security. You have lost.
… … …
Us two, my son and I, we will be stronger than every army in the world … all his life this little boy will be happy and free.
Because you wil l never have his hatred either.
These are great acts of courage, and many smaller ones are no less important—the students and teachers in Kenya who go to school and university every day despite the threats and attacks, and despite the fear they must surely feel; voices raised in La Marseillaise as people were evacuated from the Stade de France; and hundreds of people stranded in Paris after the attacks given shelter in the homes of strangers who opened their doors, cooked meals and prepared beds.
As people around the world said, 'Je suis Paris,' the people in Paris said, 'Je suis en terrasse'—'I am on the cafe terrace'—as they refused to surrender the everyday pleasures of life. Those who wanted the world to think of fear when they heard the name of Paris have failed. We will remember, instead, solidarity and defiance. Those who wanted the world to think of grief when they heard the name of Beirut have failed. We remember, instead, courage.
When we remember Ankara, we remember that those who were killed were marching for peace. When we remember Garissa, we remember that those killed were striving for an education, for learning—the thing that the terrorists fear most. Every day, in Paris, Sydney, Beirut or Mumbai, we will be in the cafes and the restaurants, at the markets, in our places of worship, at work and in our train stations, schools and offices. That is why terrorism will never win: because the human spirit is unconquerable. Violence in the service of ideology can never defeat courage in the name of our common humanity.
I give my condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed in the attacks in Paris, Beirut, Egypt and Mali and in all the other places where, over the last two years, the evil of terrorism has shown its ugly face. I commend the member for Sydney for her speech, because she is correct in the fact that it will only be courage which will defeat this evil ideology, which is destroying innocent lives across world as we debate this motion.
It is not just something that we have seen in the last couple of years. Sadly, since 2001 attacks in New York, Bali, London, Madrid, Mumbai and Paris have shaped our world. Sadly, we have seen innocent Australians die. Fortunately, fatal attacks in our own country have been few. Tragically, though, this is no comfort to the families of Curtis Cheng, Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson. They have seen the full brunt of terrorism here in Australia and have had to deal with the consequences.
There are only two things that will protect us and serve us in this fight—an unwavering commitment to our values and a resolve to destroy terrorism at its heart. Australian values are the best means to keep the hatred that organisations like ISIS, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram are spreading from affecting our citizens. Our values of tolerance, pluralism and individual liberty show in us a determination to fight for the freedoms that many around the world fight to secure for themselves.
We cannot forget that nearly one quarter of Australians were born overseas and have come here because of our values and freedoms. They are what make our country great. Being Australian brings rights but also, just as importantly, responsibilities. We must ensure that we all are united in defending our values and freedoms. After the tragic events in Paris, in the strongest language we have heard from any leader, President Francois Hollande announced to his people that France was at war. He showed that not only would it be French values that would defeat this evil threat but also it would be a collective will around the world to do so. He stated that the republic would not be destroyed by terrorism; terrorism would be destroyed by France.
This government has shown that it too has the collective will to ensure that we are playing our part in trying to destroy Daesh or ISIS. The government has committed the second-largest military contribution in Syria and Iraq to deal with this threat. We have supported our ally, the United States, and the many other countries which have joined forces to defeat this evil organisation. At home, we have also given our intelligence agencies and police forces the tools to do their job in an increasingly dangerous and fast-paced environment. Provisions for foreign fighters, special intelligence operations, data retention and citizenship have all been balanced by reviews which have also been seen to protect our values. Over 120 recommendations have taken into account the views of experts in making sure that we have not only put in place laws to keep us safe but also put in place laws to keep our values safe.
In dealing with the heart of these attacks, we must also continue to show a resolve to deal with them. As the member for Sydney illustrated, we must draw on the courage which has been shown where terrorism has raised its ugly head and use that to make sure that we destroy it at its core. This is the only means by which we can prevent organisations such as Daesh from promoting, provoking, funding or resourcing further attacks.
As President Hollande said, we must combine our forces to achieve a result that is already too late in coming. If we are to defeat ISIS then the West and its allies will have to ensure that they have the collective will to do so. Striking at them to degrade and destroy their capabilities is the only way to ensure they cannot continue to attack us at home. If they are allowed to continue to have a territory where they can act to seek to attack us then we are in danger. But they are operating within an incredibly complex theatre, and we must understand the complexity of the situation. It has been described to me—and it is the best description I have heard—that what we are dealing with is a strategic area which has the complexity of playing a three-dimensional game of chess. If we are to play this game successfully, and ultimately win, it will involve coordinating political, military, diplomatic and covert force strategically.
David Kilcullen is a global expert in military strategy and counter-insurgency. He is the only Australian to have advised the US Secretary of State and the US State Department on counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency. He says western countries have a clear interest in destroying ISIS, and the goal should be to utterly annihilate ISIS as a state. He is one the few people who has had experience in combating al-Qaeda. With others, he put forward a clear strategy for combating al-Qaeda and he has now put forward a clear strategy for combating Islamic State. He has outlined that organisations such as Daesh use an aggregation of grievances to tap into the unrest of citizens in other countries to recruit them, manipulate them and get them to believe that the answer to their problems is jihad.
Ultimately, the only way to destroy this network is to destroy Islamic State at its core. But, without political will, we will be constrained in how much we can do. We have to continue to play a part in doing this. We must ensure that parliaments around the world are also encouraged to have the political will to do what much be done to defeat ISIS. Political will is one thing, but a diplomatic effort is the next. President Hollande has shown that there is a clear intent in Europe and other parts of the world to make sure there is a political solution to enable us to deal with ISIS on the ground, and we must do what we can to help and support France in putting that solution together. We know it is complex; we have seen that recently with the shooting down of a Russian aircraft. But what that should do is once again strengthen our resolve to make sure we can get a clear strategy in place. We must make sure that we can get the United Nations Security Council acting as one against the situation that is currently evolving on the ground in Iraq in Syria. We must ensure that we can get a unity of purpose to dealing with the complexity of the situation. If we do not, the suffering that we are seeing, especially in Syria and Iraq, is going to continue—and it is suffering the like of which we have not seen since the end of the Second World War. There have been well over 200,000 lives lost in Syria. Millions of people are assembled on the border seeking shelter, food and personal security. There is a complex web of nations surrounding Iraq and Syria looking after their own national interests but also needing to combine to ensure that we can defeat this global problem which continues to touch all nations not only around Iraq in Syria but elsewhere across the globe.
It is only if we can overcome these strategic hurdles that we will make greater headway. That is why it is important that Australia continues to play its part in calling on the global community to have the political will to achieve a political solution to the complex strategic environment in Iraq and Syria and act to defeat Daesh. As leader of the free world, President Obama faces a legacy test like no other in trying to bring all this together. While we all must admit that out missteps have contributed to the situation, we must use the renewed global resolve that has come from Paris to forge an outcome. If the moment is not seized, the will to act will drain away and the world will be less secure as a result. We now have a chance to implement a political solution that will allow us to take action against ISIS, and only by doing this can we prevent further suffering.
My hope is that we will see countries of the free world unite behind President Hollande in his mission to put together the solution we need to combat ISIS. That will make our jobs easier, here, in keeping our nation safe which, as we know, is the greatest priority that any government should have. We have superb intelligence agencies. We have a superb police force. We have a superb community engagement in trying to keep our nation safe. But we need to also make sure that we are doing everything we can abroad to keep our nation safe. That is why we need the political fix when it comes to dealing with Daesh on the ground.
In the last two years Australia's security-threat level has been at high. We must be doing everything we can to reduce this. We must be doing everything we can to make sure our citizens are safe. This will continue to be difficult. Currently before parliament is a new bill seeking to place control orders on teenagers as young as 14. When I came into this parliament, five years ago, the idea that we would need to be placing control orders on 14-year-olds is something we all would have been aghast at. But that is the reality we are dealing with. We are dealing with an evil that knows no bounds, and we must show we have a political will that has no bounds to defeat it.
These past few weeks have been a sombre time for communities all over the world. Over recent times, acts of terror have wracked the livelihoods of many and have increased the fear of brutal and unpredictable violence. Events in Paris have particularly shocked and repulsed us. They have also catalysed a sense of unity in confronting those who would see our societies eroded by distrust and hatred.
On 10 October over 100 people lost their lives when two bombs were detonated, at a peace rally, in Ankara. A video shared on social media depicts a group of demonstrators holding hands and chanting just before the first blast goes off in the background sending the crowd running towards the railway station. On 31 October, 224 people in a Russian passenger jet were killed when the aircraft was calculatingly exploded by a bomb, most likely planted before take-off.
This came in a long line of terrorist attacks in Egypt that targeted military, security personnel and tourists in that country. Forty-three people passed away, on 12 November, when a double-suicide bombing was carried out in the central business district of Beirut. Numbers give a surface impression of the damage done in these attacks, and beneath each of these numbers are individual people. Ali Awad, only 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb hit the city. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American university.
On the next day, 13 November, over 120 people lost their lives in brutal orchestrated attacks in Paris. The combination of mass shootings, suicide bombings and hostage taking resulted in the deadliest attacks, in France, since World War II. Included in those who lost their lives was Claire Camax, mother of two, described as 'someone radiant; an overflowing joy of life', and Ludovic Boumbas, a Fedex employee, who took a bullet to save a woman nearby as he dined with friends to celebrate his birthday.
The massacre, in conjunction with the assault on Charlie Hebdo in January, struck the core of the French cultural psyche, which idealises freedom and reason. Then, less than a week after the Paris attacks, 20 people were left dead in a luxury hotel, in Mali, after militia stormed the Radisson Blu, taking around 170 staff and guests hostage. Among the victims lay Anita Ashok Datar, an international aid agency worker from Maryland and former member of the Peace Corp, and three executives from the China Railway Construction Corp. These people were killed in the context of a previous six attacks, this year, in Mali.
Daesh and similar groups are now responsible for over 1,000 deaths outside Syria and Iraq, but that is a fraction of the deaths they have caused in those two countries. In Syria and Iraq, the loss of life caused by Daesh, over the past year, is estimated at more than 6,000. And over the same time span, in Nigeria, the terrorist group Boko Haram is also estimated to have killed over 6,000 people. The randomness associated with this atrocious loss of life in recent attacks, in places such as Paris, Beirut, Egypt and Mali, has made the power of fear a poignant and pressing issue for people all around the world.
With the diversity of countries and peoples that have been attacked, the sequence of attacks has inspired feelings of shared global vulnerability. We remember those who were carrying out the tasks of the everyday when they were struck down without reason. They were having a coffee, on the way to work to support themselves and their families, preparing food for the day, and holidaying. We remember the victims as people just like us, whose lives were stolen from them. We mourn the victims of the terror attacks around the world in a tone that reflects the relationships we cherish with our own relatives, friends and neighbours. We sense what those communities have lost. We ask ourselves what it means, what is to be done, what is next and where the violence comes from.
Many will have read David Kilcullen's Quarterly Essay 'Blood year'. To read his depictions of the horror in the Middle East, over the past decade, is to be reminded of Goya's masterwork, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. What we see is the spear point of these attacks and the young men and women who become the tools for the politics of terror, the result of reason suppressed and stupefied. It is important, too, that we recognise it is the result of religion co-opted and twisted. I would recommend to the House Graeme Wood's article 'What ISIS really wants', published in The Atlantic earlier this year, and the book Islam and the Future of Tolerance, by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz.
Terrorist cells are made up of individuals with their own ideologies and pathologies. But terrorist cells, like terrorism, crystallise out of a complex mixture of social, economic, historical and ideological factors. The sinister alchemy that turns an impassioned youth into a suicide bomber will not be neutralised by force alone. We need to address the causes as well as the outcomes of political terror. We cannot completely obliterate extremism, but nor should be tolerate it. Wherever extremism is pursued—in Paris, Beirut, Jerusalem, London, Bamako, Baghdad or Damascus—it is anathema to the values that underpin free societies of tolerance and diversity.
Eli Berman's excellent book Radical, Religious, and Violent: The New Economics of Terrorism, and Louise Richardson's What Terrorists Want:Understanding the Enemy, Containing the Threat discuss the fact that in order to crush terrorism we need to understand the social circumstances out of which terrorism emerges. This means showing that governments can do a better job of providing social services to help the community that would-be terrorists care about. That might, for example, mean using soldiers to protect aid workers who are building new schools, and perhaps even providing security for girls to attend the school in the months after it opens. By helping governments in developing countries to provide services that are currently being delivered, or disrupted, by insurgent groups, we can simultaneously help the poor and hurt the terrorists. Failed states are the friend of terrorist groups.
An example of this approach of focusing on social service provision and understanding its links to terrorism was discussed by Eli Berman, where he talks about how Egypt's President Nasser undermined the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s by nationalising schools and health clinics. By directly providing electricity, health care and welfare services, governments improve the outside options for young people and help dissuade them from taking the wrong road. This is the kind of counter-insurgency approach that David Kilcullen has described as 'armed social work', because it unravels the power base of a would-be terrorist organisation. Of course, our security and intelligence capacity must be sufficient to thwart these eruptions of callous brutality and terror. But we have to work just as hard to defuse the tensions and conflicts that give rise to extremism.
We are up against groups that move towards their goals in a number of different ways: by inciting regional conflict—for example, by attacks inside Iraq and Syria—and by exacerbating the Sunni-Shia fissure through the Middle East. We are up against groups that aim to build relationships with jihadist groups that can carry out military operations across the Middle East and North Africa. They aim to inspire or to assist remote extremist sympathisers to plan and carry out attacks in the West and in countries in our region, such as Indonesia. By pursuing these different paths, such terrorist groups seek to create an atmosphere of chaos and an impression of power that outstrips their actual resources. We know the tracks they are moving along, and we know there is no one way to block this range of activity.
Perhaps we get a clearer view of the victims of terror when the target is a city like Paris. Hopefully we will go on to look closer at the regions and cities in which this kind of violence is becoming grimly routine. Every life that has been lost to terrorist violence compels us to do better in stamping out the causes and the consequences of extremism.
I speak in support of the Prime Minister's statements on terrorism and national security, in response to the recent terror attacks in France, Mali, Tunisia and numerous other locations in the world. These events have galvanised global resolve against terrorism. May I add my condolences and sympathies to the victims, and their families. I fully support the government's commitment to be part of an international coalition providing military support to combat terrorism, provide humanitarian protection, and assist legitimate governments to regain control over their sovereign territory by combatting Islamic State insurgents and other terrorists.
An integral part of our Western culture is the notion of defending one's territory and property in the face of conflict, by force if necessary. The Anzacs and those before them were legendary in their courage on the battlefield. Running away and surrendering is not the Australian way nor is it the West's way. Standing up to tyrants with military power is an integral part of our culture. The great song Rule Britannia aptly sums it up:
The nations, not so blest as thee,
Must, in their turns, to tyrants fall;
Today we see the results of populations desperately fleeing failed states where tyrants have taken hold. If we are to prevail in the future then Western culture in respect of dealing with conflict with military force must prevail over pacifist cultures, otherwise Australia will not be able to adequately defend itself in the future.
Although these events are located several thousand kilometres away—half a world away—they have a profound effect on the national security of the Australian homeland. Recently, we have seen a raising of the national terror threat level, three terror related attacks on Australian soil, and the disruption of a number of potential terror plots by our national security intelligence agencies and the Australian Federal Police.
Terrorism has its origins in failed states with a collapse in governance. Among its root causes are a breakdown in law and order and a lack of economic development and opportunity, which breeds poverty and envy and provides a breeding ground for radicalisation. Access to surplus military weapons from nations updating their armouries compounds the problem.
Combatting terrorism will require a more decentralised model of security and plans for more localised self-defence. Given the sporadic nature of attacks, traditional centralised law enforcement methodology will not be able to provide a sufficiently rapid response to emergency situations. Private security measures may be required in the future by businesses and organisations, as governments cannot be expected to meet all requirements.
A part of the technological war on terror is also being fought from within my electorate. The Security Research Institute based at Edith Cowan University is one of the leading cybersecurity and digital forensic groups in the world. It is recognised for its expertise in human, physical and aviation security. The institute is led by Professor Craig Valli and consistently delivers quality outcomes in computer and digital forensics, network and wireless security, information warfare, physical security and risk management. The institute was recognised by the Australian Computer Society as the Security Centre of Expertise. The group's other achievements include a digital forensics tool developed with the WA police to assist with cybercrime, preliminary crime scene investigation, disaster victim identification and evidence tracking.
Border security is of paramount importance. As former Prime Minister John Howard once said, 'We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come.' Merit-based migration is the notion that Australia should only accept migrants who are prepared to make a contribution to our nation and bring with them skills and human capital.
It is of great concern that a number of Australian citizens have acted contrary to the laws of Australia by travelling to foreign nations to participate in armed conflict for foreign causes. This amounts to treasonous conduct. It is true to say that the enemies of the state are not limited to any one particular ethnic or religious group. A number of constituents have contacted me recently to express their concerns about the brutal atrocities perpetrated, with fears for their own personal safety, and to express outrage that certain subsets of the immigrant community are being grossly disloyal to Australia. These are very valid concerns, and I believe a tough stance should be taken on these issues. We must promote and defend a strong culture based on Western values, and build a strong democracy. There is no room in Australia for alternative legal systems, such as tribal or sharia law. There must be one legal system for all Australians.
Australia's immigration system has traditionally welcomed people from across the globe into our multicultural community over the years. In return, our society is entitled to expect that when migrants arrive in our country they will adopt a positive attitude, strive to integrate into mainstream society, obey the laws and make a constructive contribution to their new homeland. Above all, society expects that they will be civic minded, loyal and patriotic to Australia and their fellow Australians. Experience has shown that the majority of immigrants have indeed settled and become good citizens—which is testament to our immigration system and our multicultural society.
Unfortunately, there are certain enclaves that have failed to integrate into mainstream society and have adopted hostile, anti-social and radical attitudes towards mainstream Australian society and its culture. In the worst of instances they have resorted to violence and intimidation. Currently, there is a great deal of unrest in the community about perceived threats from particular subgroups. The government is taking measured and responsible steps through increased surveillance and security measures to protect our citizens by mitigating threats. Members of the community need to be vigilant, review their own personal safety and take appropriate lawful measures to protect themselves.
As national leaders, it is important that we are careful not to generalise or stereotype any particular ethnic group or religion as being solely associated with these illegal, criminal and terrorist acts. Rather, as representatives of our community, we have a duty to speak out against fundamentalism, extremism and criminality in all their forms. We must take tough measures to protect the fabric of Australian society, founded on Westminster democracy and the culture, values, traditions and principles which we hold dear. These are the very things which make Australia the country we love and the very characteristics which draw thousands of immigrants to our shores.
Selective multiculturalism is the notion that Australian society should be selective and only adopt those aspects of multiculturalism which are synergistic or complementary, and that mainstream Australian culture should prevail where foreign cultures are inconsistent with long-established social norms. I subscribe wholeheartedly to embracing the synergistic and complementary aspects of multiculturalism. However, when there is a clash of cultures, a conflict of ideals, then I advocate for adherence to the prevailing Western culture in Australian society in terms of conforming to social norms, maintaining the Protestant work ethic, being diligent, embracing scientific methods, being respectful and being democratic. These are the very things that make Australia the country which we hold so dear. There is no room in Australian society for divided loyalties.
We must fight vigorously against the emerging counterculture and anti-establishment elements in our society which seek to undermine our proud national heritage and Australian way of life. We must proudly celebrate our founding British culture, institutions and values which form the basis of our great Australian society and which have allowed us to enjoy prosperity in peace. The lessons we can learn for current and future generations of Australians are of patriotism, loyalty to our country and service to our nation.
The recent issue of the radicalisation of youths leaving the country to take up arms against Australia has its origins deeper and over a longer period of time than simply over the internet and social media. There has been a clash of cultures in existence for some time in certain communities across Australia. These matters have not been adequately resolved due to a politically-correct regime reluctant to offend. The effort to combat the spread of radicalism in our suburbs and communities must start in our schools, with young people being taught a balanced curriculum of Australian history, civics education, sport and the values of community service and good citizenship. Young Australians need to understand the value of achievement through education and workforce participation. Our youth need to develop into well-adjusted adults over the course of their school years. Quick-fix anti-radicalisation programs will not be effective.
The Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Mercy did a remarkable job in providing me with a balanced education at Aranmore Catholic College and turning me and my classmates into good citizens, many of whom were also from migrant backgrounds. Our education consisted of mainstream academic subjects balanced with sport, community service, pastoral care and Christian religious education. A good education is what is missing in a lot of these cases.
We must strongly oppose radicalism, militancy, and moves to introduce foreign legal systems into Australia. Together we must unite to defeat our enemies that intend to do us harm and bring those who have contravened Australian laws to justice. We have a responsibility to protect our national borders and be very selective to ensure the merit based selection of immigrants who are committed to integrate into mainstream society and will strive to become good Australian citizens. Australians can be assured that the government is committed to maintaining strong border protection, merit based immigration and strengthening of our Defence Force capabilities. I am proud to be part of a government that will take a hard line against radicalism, extremism and militancy whilst at the same time upholding the rule of law and protecting traditional Australian institutions and culture. We will not allow global terrorists to scare us into a state of fear that allows prejudice to unravel the social cohesion in our mainstream communities. Neither will we allow zealots and fundamentalists to disrupt the fabric of Australian society.
I wish the members of the Australian Defence Force well as they face numerous challenges and dangers in the service of our nation. I would encourage patriotic Australians to enlist in the defence forces or the reserves. I thoroughly enjoyed my participation in the ADF parliamentary program and would highly recommend joining the reserves to other Australians. Similarly, on behalf of the Australian community, I express appreciation to the officers of the Australian Federal Police, emergency services personnel and our national security and intelligence operatives as they work diligently to neutralise prospective threats and maintain our safety and security.
I have risen in this place on a number of occasions now to bring to the attention of the Australian people—I have long ago given up on trying to influence the people in this place—to the fact that the term visas, for people who come here and tend to stay here, now number over 620,000 a year. There are over 200,000 migrants coming to Australia. There are near enough to 300,000 student visas, which are normally for about four years, and an average of about 150,000 section 457 visas. Our migrant intake has been at around 250,000, but there has been an extraordinary bulge in student visas. Obviously I cannot use his name, but one of the three most influential and powerful senior-ranking people in tertiary education in Australia intimated to me some 10 or 12 years ago that if we stopped the universities from being visa shops we would close half of the universities in Australia.
I went to university. After a few years they found out I was there and they threw me out, of course! But prior to that we could reflect upon the fact that there was only one university in Queensland. So, in the space of the past 30 or 40 years, and most certainly in the past 20 or 30 years, we have reached the point where we now have I think seven universities in Queensland. Of the graduates they are turning out, obviously a hell of a lot of them are these people who are coming from overseas. If you tell me that you have to come to Australia from India—a country of 1,000 million people—to get an education, then I am not going to take you very seriously. And if someone were to say to me that they were coming from China to Australia to get a good education in Australia, that would really be laughable—a country of nearly 1½ thousand million people, and they cannot get a university education there but have to come to Australia? That is not likely; that does not happen.
The people who are coming here are coming because they are buying the right to stay in Australia. There are people on the government side of the parliament—but not many of them now—who in days past would say, 'Oh, they're going home.' Well, Mr Abbott attempted to send them home. He started checking on people in Melbourne. But the reaction was so violent that he had to abandon that within two days and disown the initiative. He was removed from the prime ministership of Australia some four weeks later. I am not saying it was on account of that occurrence, but you would have to be naive to think that it was not a contributing factor.
Say you are bringing nearly 650,000 people a year into an economy that only generates 200,000 jobs. I am fascinated by the market fundamentalists that run this place, on both sides of the parliament, but the Liberals are probably sprouting the free market philosophy. We have an advertisement that comes on our television about 20 times a night, and that is clearly because they are not selling it to anyone. When I saw the former Prime Minister get up in this place and clap for Minister Robb because of the free trade deal with China, I thought: 'Is this getting you any votes? I'm going to work from here to Bourke backwards, or paddle to Magnetic Island in a barbed wire canoe, if this is going to get you any votes.' Well, four weeks later he was out on his head. Again, I am not saying that it was on account of that. But, if anyone thinks that this free trade business is going down well with the Australian public and that this mass migration policy of the ALP and now the LNP is going down well with the Australian people, then again I would say you believe in my chances of getting to Magnetic Island in a barbed wire canoe.
It is just simple mathematics, if you are bringing 650,000 people into the country every year and the economy is only generating 200,000 jobs, and if you have over 200,000 school leavers and young people joining the workforce each year, then there are 800,000 people chasing 200,000 jobs. Somewhere, someone must go on the dole here, and it is not the people that are coming in. They are coming in from countries where the average wage levels are $5,000 a year, and that is about the average wage level throughout all of the Asian countries and the Middle Eastern countries. So they come here where they are entitled to nearly $30,000 worth of income and benefits, even if they do not work. Well, you would be a mug not to come here, wouldn't you?
I think anyone that goes down to a grocery store or gets a taxi or whatever—any after-hours jobs—they are all taken now by people from overseas. People say, 'Well, Australians won't work,' and I am getting very truculent about that because I, as an Australian, do not particularly like being called a 'bludger'. My forebears, the people of Queensland—we happened to have been cane cutters, where we were paid on tonnage; we happened to have been miners, where we were paid on yardage; and we happened to have been people that worked in meat works, where we were paid on tally rates—we only got paid for what we did. We were the hardest working people that ever there were. There was no air conditioning in those days either.
Let me come back to the bill. If you are bringing nearly 650,000 people a year into this country and a very large number of them are coming from countries that are on fire, where there are mass killings, upheavals, revolutions or whatever word you want to use, where terrorists are running amok and the government's democracy and rule of law are not things that any of these people understand. But, if you are bringing in people from these countries, then you simply must, as sure as the sun rises, recognise that some of them will escape through the net and they will be terrorists—and if they use our country to promote the terrorism from the country from which they came.
I have a lot of dealings with people from Indonesia and I have really found them excellent people to deal with. The people and the governments of Indonesia have returned good for evil, they have been good neighbours to us, in spite of insult and offence after insult and offence. Yet they have continued to show the sort of Christianity which should, of course, be the hallmark of our society, not their society.
The previous speaker beholds us to reflect upon the education system in Australia. I cannot speak for the state education system; I cannot speak for the modern Catholic education system. I went through a system where I had nuns and Christian brothers teach me, and one of the great advantages that I have had in life and much of everything that I owe in life will be sheeted back to those people. The nun was the principal of my little convent primary school in Cloncurry; her name was Sister Thomas. I cannot find a decent book on Mother Mary MacKillop; they seem to be preoccupied with a fight she had with a bishop or something. No-one is interested in that. She was one of the great spiritual leaders of this nation, one of the great creators of this nation, and all they can talk about is somebody fighting with the bishop. But I suspect that she was very much like Sister Thomas. There were eight years of primary school, and every single morning of our lives Sister Thomas stood us in front of the Australian flag and we said these words, which I remember to this very day:
God Bless our lovely morning land, Australia
God keep her with his enfolding hand, Australia.
On Earth there is no other land, like our enchanting Southern land,
Our own dear home, our Mother land, Australia.
And if you stand in front of the flag and you sing that every morning of your life for eight years, it has to leave an impression behind.
A lot of people are coming to Australia and they do not have that cultural background. They do not have that cultural bent. They do not have those aspirations. And, before everyone starts getting a little bit Islamic here, I think we should take a cold shower, because in outback Australia, and particularly outback Australia where I come from, the Afghan cameleers were very much part of the building of this nation. The only form of transportation we had was camels, and the only people who knew how to work that form of transportation—it was a highly specialised field—were in fact the Afghan people who came to Australia.
I could tell a lot of funny stories, I could tell a lot of outrageous stories from my own family who mixed with these people and worked with them. They aspired to become patriotic and were accepted as patriotic, good Australians. They wanted to become Australians, and that was one of the reasons and motivations that they came here. Clearly there are an awful lot of people coming here now that simply do not have that aspiration. In fact, it could be said that they have aspirations that we become like their country. Have a look at their countries, from Morocco across to Pakistan, they are on fire. I saw a newspaper report the other day that said that no prime minister in Pakistan history has completed a term in office. That is in sharp contrast to the nation next door, India, where, with one exception, I think almost every prime minister has completed their term in office. There is something very different there and it is naive to pretend that there is not.
Those people of the Islamic faith who have come to Australia—and I know many of them from Indonesia—set a very good example of small-C Christianity, where you love your neighbour and you have a responsibility to your neighbour. They set a very good example for Australians. Also, on two occasions, specialist surgeons have had to battle to save my life, and in both cases, judging by their names—I would not know what religion they are and I would not be the slightest bit interested—I would say they had Islamic backgrounds. One of them fought for 20 hours straight, trying to save my life. Obviously, I owe those men a very great debt of gratitude. I am trying to raise money to have a bust put up for one of them, Dr Modica; he is one of the leading heart surgeons in Australia. Anyone else who has had the great privilege of being a patient of Modica's would say exactly what I am saying. A number of people have rung me up about that. We pay great tribute to him.
It also needs to be said that I want my country to love everyone who is here. There are very few pure merinos in Australia—very, very few pure merinos! I was on an aeroplane recently with a Scotsman and I had to listen for two hours to his diatribe of hatred against the English. My own towns, where I come from, are very much Cornish and Welsh mining towns, where people were treated like slaves by their English masters out of London. There is no love for London among those people, I can assure you.
So we can be very proud of what we have achieved in Australia on the basis of being a very egalitarian society.
In my electorate I have people from Albania who are very prominent in the Atherton Tableland. In fact, there are 11 major organisations there (tobacco, the maize board, the major Rotary Club up there and various others) and, when this terrorist business started in the Middle East, I was very surprised to find that the people prominent in eight of those 11 were in fact of the Islamic faith—surprised in the sense that I could not see any difference between us, and I was really a bit put out that other people even considered telling me that they were different. (Time expired)
We are here today speaking about national security because around the world—in Europe, Africa and other places as well—there is an evil that seeks to undermine great principles and great traditions. We are having this debate because people have died. They have been attacked by evil. They have been attacked by people that have no regard for the sanctity of human life. There have been attacked by people who claim piety in their religion and yet, through their acts and through the way they so often live their lives, they show no religious background whatsoever. They have no piety. They have nothing to recommend them. They are, in my view, subhuman.
Ankara just recently, Mali just a few days ago, Tunisia yesterday, and Paris, of course: these are the most recent examples of where this evil, this terrorism, is taking place. It is by Daesh, IS by another name, and Boko Haram. The names are out there, but really this is all about an evil philosophy that has no real connection whatsoever with humanity.
In the face of these threats, and in the face of these deaths that they have inflicted upon not just France but the other countries I have mentioned, we are fortunate because we have great strength. We refuse to bow down and accept the fear that these terrorists offer. We refuse to change our policies with regard to Syria and Iraq. That is one of the things they want, of course—a change in policy. They want us to back off from the bombing raids that are taken place against IS. They want us to accept their plans for a caliphate, a radical Islamist nation with a radical Islamist agenda. So they are trying to instil fear to make sure there is a change of policy, and we must resist that.
What is required is absolutely the resolute action we have seen in recent days. Faced with the brutal and inhuman attacks in Paris, we saw the French President saying, 'No, we're not going to back off. In fact, we're going to hit you harder.' Indeed, that is exactly what happened. I believe there were 12 major bombs into Raqqa, in Syria. That is the right response on these sorts of occasions.
Of course, in Europe they do not have the same advantages that we have here. We are an island nation. Our ability to control our borders is very clear and it has been exact under this government. We also have a history of restricting access to automatic weapons—again, a problem that Europe unfortunately continues to have. We have taken action against elements that can make up explosives and we have done that over many years as well. We have our outstanding Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, ASIO, which does a wonderful job, assisted by the Australian Federal Police and the state police forces. Of course, we also have the Australian Defence forces—the Army, the Navy and the Air Force—that do such wonderful work in Syria and in Iraq, and even here in the homeland, Australia itself. We have these advantages. We have these organisations and agencies that are defending this country and doing the right thing.
We are also greatly aided, in the face of the threat of Islamist terrorists who are, unfortunately, attacking so many places around the world, by those people of the Muslim faith who are prepared to stand up and report on the radicals. I myself have been contacted by people in the past who tell me about these threats in Perth—not in Western Sydney or Melbourne but in Perth. I have referred those matters on to the appropriate agency. I say thank you to all those people who are prepared to stand up and be counted and say, 'These are not the threats that I want for my country,' and talk to the relevant authorities to identify those who are a threat to this country. They are good Australians, and I greatly appreciate what they do for our country.
We are, however, faced with a highly media savvy threat, and that is Daesh. They have thousands of Twitter accounts, they are most active on social media and they are able to reach out to people who can be appealed to by the message that they put out there. There might be an element of religious piety in their message, but, as I have said in the past in this place, unfortunately they reach out to the darkest nature of some people. They reach out to the people who like to hurt other people. They reach out to bring people to Syria or Iraq on behalf of Daesh. They reach out to people who like the idea of maybe being paedophiles or sadists or participating in the sexual slavery of others. These are some of the messages that I think appeal to the darkest nature of these sorts of people. These people are not just from Australia. They are from around the world; many countries have these foreign fighters. I would suggest that what draws them to this fight and what probably draws them to terrorist acts in Australia and elsewhere is this interest in those darkest of motivations. I believe that, whilst they might talk a little bit about religious faith and piety, that might be a cover for this darkness in their souls, in their natures and in their motivations. It is the darkness which appeals to these people.
I cannot imagine why someone would take steps to cut another person's head off, have sexual contact with a child or sell somebody as a slave. I cannot imagine how someone could do that. It is because I cannot imagine how a real human could do that that I absolutely and fundamentally believe the only way that Daesh will be defeated is militarily. The total destruction and bombing of these people are very good things. If an Australian is involved in such brutality and evil over there and they are bombed as well, I think that is a great thing because they are not, in my view, any longer worthy of being an Australian or being considered human. If that is what they do—if they do those sorts of dark, terrible things—then they should not be regarded as human. They should have no standing. I appreciate the fact that firm action, such as air strikes—whether it is by the French, by the Americans or by our own outstanding Air Force—is a good way forward. Who knows? In the future, there might be a need for other forms of military action as part of a dedicated attempt by a coalition to do what needs to be done. I do not think that we should ever rule out resolute action to defeat evil, to destroy evil and to kill all those involved with this evil. It is something that we must be prepared to do. I can see it coming in the future.
With regard to Australia, I have already talked about some of the people in my community in Cowan who have approached me and told me about the things that they have seen and heard. They are prepared to stand up and be counted and, through me, make contact with the relevant agencies. I commend them again for that. I commend all those Muslim leaders who are also prepared to stand up and be very clear in their condemnation of terrorism and the evil of Daesh. The challenge, of course, is to make sure that the message that we put out there is very clear, listened to and reaches those who could be corrupted by the message of Daesh. That is really important. When we see a 15yearold who can basically leave a mosque, leave the influence of others, and go up behind a public servant in the streets of Parramatta and shoot him in the back of the head, it really says something about the threat level in this country.
Whilst I think the agencies that we have working against this threat and the laws that this parliament has passed and continues to consider passing are the right way that we must act and are the right way for us to be prepared to defend this great country from such threats, we also need the cooperation of all the people in the community, including Muslim leaders. I encourage parents and extended families to be prepared to talk to their young people about how evil IS is and how evil Daesh is and what they do has nothing to do with correct behaviour. There is no excuse for joining IS and there is no excuse for what IS does. There must be an engagement. There must be people who are prepared to talk about this in the houses of this country to help turn young people from this path, to tell them that there is no redemption in acting for IS and to tell them that society is not against them. There is no excuse for acting like this. No grievance justifies this sort of evil behaviour. This country is a land of opportunity. This country is a land where people, if they want to work hard and get stuck into their education, they can achieve great things. It does not matter where someone comes from. What matters is their character and their willingness to work hard to achieve a successful future.
I again offer my condolences to those families who have lost loved ones. We, together as a parliament, are resolute in our commitment to fight the evil of terrorism, to fight Daesh, to destroy it and to see this world a safer place as a result.
Everyone who has visited Paris cannot help but fall in love. All of us who have been privileged enough to visit Paris have our stories. Often we were there for the first time when we were young, full of promise and often short of money, wandering around the cobbled streets and lanes, being overwhelmed in the galleries, awestruck by the palaces and the places of worship and mesmerised by the sheer beauty of what is almost certainly the grandest and most gloriously designed city in the world. All of us from this new land marvel at the magnificence of the Ancien Regime.
There is perhaps no other city like Paris that demonstrates that what we individually accumulate does not really matter beside what we accomplish together as people. The pinnacle of achievement and accomplishment for the people of France is their spectacular capital. Its exciting history, its style, its cuisine, its vibrancy, its splendour, its grand boulevards and its joie de vivre are a celebration of human achievement and of the glory of the civilization we have built. It is the most visited city on the planet. One million Australians visit Paris every year. It is a place that so many young people scrimp and save for and dream of visiting—some with a sketchbook in hand and inspiration in their heart. So many stories are told, for generations, of finding love there. It is that kind of city: it moves you, it captures you and it lifts your gaze from the ordinary to the possible. Paris is a city of lights and a city of dreams. It is a place of glorious history and a future made bright by the hopes and aspirations of all those who make their home there for a lifetime or who make a visit that they will never forget.
Emma Parkinson, the articulate young woman from Hobart, who is studying in Paris and who attended a concert on a Friday night at the Bataclan, told her story on the weekend. Her smiling cheerfulness and her determination to keep enjoying life, no matter what, is the perfect embodiment of all those who have visited that great city. It will always be this way. She dismissed the bullet wound inflicted by the ISIS terrorists who attacked the crowd of unarmed young concert-goers—even targeting people in wheelchairs. With a smile, she dismissed the bullet wound as a mere—with a typically Australian phrase—'pain in the arse'. She insisted that she was incredibly lucky. She understood what this murderous scum were all about:
They were targeting young people who were having fun, laughing and being happy and doing what young people do … to incite hate and fear and make people afraid and escalate … racism.
She stated what she is about and what we are about. She said:
I won't give in to fear. I won't give in to fear.
I doubt we have had a greater ambassador for our nation than this young, poised, hopeful, cheerful and cosmopolitan woman from Hobart. She is touring the world. As an Australian, she showed strength and decency and calmly told her story infused with Australian values. Her parents must be so very proud of her.
It is popular in American politics to speak of that great country and its many great cities as a 'shining light on the hill'. It is, of course, a biblical reference, not in my tradition but in others, in Matthew 5:14:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Now more than ever and more than in any other place in the world right now, because of the recent obscenity inflicted on it, because of the stoicism, the steady resolve and the strength shown towards what it has endured, because its future's brightness is powered by the hopes and dreams by all those born to it and drawn to it, Paris is indeed a shining light on the hill. From that light on the hill, we will keep burning brightly long after we have crushed IS, long after we have held those who funded and enabled it to account and long after we have done our bit to bring peace and tranquillity to all of those who dream of a better life in the Middle East and death and destruction to all of those whose evil threatens not just the Christians of Mosul but the Muslims of Melbourne and the Jews of Manhattan.
I hear a lot of loose talk about Islam. I hear it on talkback. I hear it sometimes from some constituents. I hear it a lot. I want to make clear my views on this not only as a member of the opposition but also as a Jewish member of the Australian Parliament. Just because a murderer claims to represent a certain cause does not mean they do. We have seen ample evidence that the Paris terrorists, indeed the 9/11 terrorists, were not religiously observant people. They led troubled, often debauched lives. Mass murderers can try to cloak their evil in a shroud of religion or ideology, but their crime and slime always soak through. They do not represent Islam for me any more than the Branch Davidians responsible for many deaths in Waco, Texas or the supposedly worshipful militia who blew up US government buildings in Oklahoma represent Christian Protestants. Religion has been used and abused this way—as evil's excuse—for many centuries and it will probably continue for all time. Evil's creativity is, sadly, boundless.
Australia must be tough on terror, but we must never be afraid. We must be mercilessly tough on terror because the safety of our citizens depends on it. This Parliament has responsibility for many matters, set out in our Constitution, and frequently enlarged since Federation, but none is more important than national security and keeping Australians safe. We cannot build a strong economy and we cannot educate our kids, heal the sick and address disadvantage and injustice unless we keep the nation and all its people safe. We must do Emma Parkinson proud and be able to look ourselves in the mirror. Racism has no place in Australia. History tells us societies that indulge in it pay a very high price indeed. In tolerance there is remarkable strength.
We value the separation of worship from politics. We value a respect for the faith of others and its free practise as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others. We respect the traditions and decent values that underpin the great faiths of the world, many of which happen to have shared and consistent values. Everything we know and love about Australia is embodied in tolerance. We must be ready to fight, with all our resolve, with all the weapons at our disposal, weapons of war and persuasion, to fight all the enemies of tolerance, however frightening or amorphous, foreign or domestic, Mullahs or media, Daesh or demagogue, in order to keep our tolerant, inclusive and diverse nation safe from bombs and bigotry in our time and for all time.
the week in which a bunch of loser jihadists slaughtered 132 innocents in Paris, to prove the future belongs to them rather than a civilisation like France.
Well, I can't say I fancy their chances. France: the country of Descartes, Monet, Sartre, Rousseau, Camus, Renoir, Berlioz, Gauguin, Hugo, Voltaire, Matisse, Debussy, Ravel, Saint-Saens, Bizet, Satie, Pasteur, Moliere, Zola, Balzac.
Cutting edge science, world class medicine, fearsome security forces, nuclear power, Coco Chanel, Chateau Lafite, coq au vin, Daft Punk, Zizou Zidane, Juliette Binoche, liberte, egalite, fraternite, and creme brulee.
Andrew Neil questioned—
Beheadings, crucifixions, amputations, slavery, mass murder, medieval squalor and a death cult barbarity that would shame the middle ages.
Mr Neil concluded:
Well IS or Daesh or ISIS or ISIL or whatever name you're going by—I'm sticking with IS, as in Islamist scumbags—I think the outcome is pretty clear to everybody but you.
Whatever atrocities you are currently capable of committing, you will lose. In a thousand years' time, Paris, that glorious city of lights, will still be shining bright as will ever other city like it. While you will be as dust, along with the ragbag of fascist Nazis and Stalinists that previously dared to challenge democracy and failed.
Vive la France.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise and to participate in this debate and join with my fellow parliamentarians from all sides of the chamber to express my horror, my revulsion and the most fundamental moral contempt for the attackers in Paris and what they have done and in doing so to speak on behalf of my constituents in Bradfield and, of course, to express sentiments which I am confident are shared by every Australian.
In recent weeks the world has seen numerous terrible atrocities carried out by extremist terrorist organisations. The attacks in Paris, in which some 130 people were killed and a very large number were injured, were sadly just one of an extremely troubling series of events. In October, 103 people were killed in Ankara after two suicide bombers detonated their bombs in a crowd of peace activists. On the day before the attacks in Paris, suicide bombers killed 43 people in Beirut, and in Mali last week 21 people were killed after extremist militants took over 100 people hostage at a hotel in that nation's capital. Of course, the Russian jetliner that was downed by what is now believed to be a terrorist bomb is yet another example of the disturbing and troubling series of atrocities which we have seen around the world.
The sheer numbers are shocking in their magnitude, but what they remind us of is the fact that we are engaged in a battle of fundamental values. On the one hand, we have a murderous group bent on forcing people to live in a repressive theocratic state through the use of force. On the other hand, we have the values represented by liberal democratic nations like France.
All that we hear about the violent repression imposed on those who live in the parts of Iraq and Syria controlled by the terrorist group ISIL or Daesh is extremely troubling. While information about daily life is limited, what we do know is that fear and brutality are used daily as weapons against the people living under the control of this evil group. Extreme restrictions have been imposed on a bewildering array of aspects of day-to-day life, and any violation of those restrictions can result in imprisonment, torture or execution.
It was, I think, no accident that Daesh decided to mount this attack in Paris, a city which is significant for so many reasons but a city which was at the very centre of the Enlightenment, an era of human progress in which medieval superstition yielded to rational, fact based inquiry and, of course, a period of history in which the recognition of and the emphasis on the rights and possibilities of the individual, regardless of class or background, began to emerge. The philosophical advances made during the Enlightenment underpin much of what forms the basis of our democracy here in Australia and similar democracies all around the world—ideas of individual liberties, such as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, and the idea of a social contract between citizens and the state. The work of key figures of this period, such as Voltaire and Rousseau, contributed very substantially to the formation of the very concept and, in turn, the reality of the modern democratic state. As a city which was at the very epicentre of this philosophical activity, Paris has long embodied and stood for these ideas.
It was also, I suggest, no accident that these terrorists chose to attack people who were out enjoying themselves and enjoying some of the simple pleasures of life—having dinner or a drink in a restaurant or bar, watching a football game, attending a concert. The notion of people being free to choose how they spend their time, the notion of people being free to spend some of their time simply enjoying themselves, is anathema to totalitarian regimes and, even more so, theocratic regimes. ISIL's hatred of such freedoms is evident in the oppressive and violent way in which they control areas like Raqqah in Syria, a place where people live in a constant state of terror and where the ability to enjoy life's simple pleasures is virtually nonexistent.
We can often frame the rights and freedoms that we enjoy in a country like Australia in high-minded terms, but it is these simple pleasures which bring so much meaning to life—the opportunity to spend time with friends and family, the opportunity to enjoy yourself and engage in recreation at a time of your choice, making your own judgement. Attacks of the kind that took place in Paris are designed out of a completely different and utterly hostile impulse. They are designed out of an impulse and a desire to prevent us from living our lives freely and without fear.
One of the themes of the classic novel of life under an oppressive totalitarian regime 1984 was this notion that the ordinary and simple pleasures of life were not to be permitted to people under that regime. Indeed, the loyal party servant Winston, the hero of that novel, who briefly enjoyed some of those pleasures, was quickly caught and punished for doing so. Orwell's novel reminds us that totalitarian regimes take a very dim view of people enjoying the simple, routine and ordinary pleasures of life. Sadly, hostility towards people enjoying those simple pleasures is at the very core of the approach of this violent and oppressive movement and the theocracy which it has established and which it purports to speak for.
Tragedies of the kind that we have seen in recent weeks prompt us to reflect on the values and freedoms that define us as a nation, particularly in light of the obvious fact that these attacks are very much framed with a view to damaging and destroying the values and the lifestyles based on those values which we enjoy in a country like Australia.
In referring to ISIL's objectives in seeking to establish a theocratic state, I very much join with the observations which have been made by so many that ISIL should certainly not be taken as representative of Islam and that in fact, in many ways, its behaviours are entirely at odds with the religious practices and philosophies of all the world's great faiths.
It is very important in a liberal democratic nation like Australia that, as we take the necessary and appropriate steps to the maximum extent possible to guard and protect against the threat which is presented by a global terrorist movement like ISIL or Daesh, we do not inadvertently surrender the basic freedoms which are central to our way of life and which go to the core of that clash of values between what underpins a Western liberal democracy like Australia or France and the perverted ideology which is motivating this group of evil terrorists. Of course there are difficult choices which must be made and we do need to take appropriate steps, as the Turnbull government is doing, with the support of the opposition, which we welcome, to protect as best we can the Australian people against the threat to our collective physical safety. But it is very important that our fundamental values as a nation—freedom of thought, freedom of worship and freedom of association—continue to be championed and continue to be observed. Ultimately, what is extraordinarily important is the great diversity of our nation—our ethnic diversity, with the fact that Australians come from every corner of the world and the fact that Australia has amongst the highest percentages of adult population born overseas of any OECD nation; and our religious diversity, with many faiths being practised in Australia, and where people are free to choose to practice any faith, or no faith, as they judge appropriate. All of these values and practices are enormously important. They contribute enormously to the strength of our democracy and the quality of our collective lives, and it is extraordinarily important that we hold true to the values that define us as a nation.
On behalf of the people of Bradfield, I express my deep sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of all those who have been lost in the series of terrorist attacks. I give my very strong support, again also on behalf of the people of Bradfield, to the people of Paris, France and all the nations where these terrible attacks have occurred. I hope that these nations will properly respond to what has occurred, that, collectively, the world can restate the values that we hold dear and that the terrorists will not succeed.
On behalf of the people of Kingsford Smith, I extend our sincerest condolences and sympathies to Parisians and the people of France as they recover from this evil atrocity perpetrated upon their nation by a group of individuals who are not human but, really, animals.
Kingsford Smith has a very proud French heritage that is probably stronger than in any other electorate across the country. Since February 1788, when Jean Francois de Galaup, Comte de La Perouse, sailed into Botany Bay—or Kamay, as it was then known—our area has celebrated a rich French heritage, with places like Frenchmans Road, which is still there in Randwick and was one of the first roads in Sydney, named after the people from La Perouse's original expedition who used to make the trek over the sandhills from Botany Bay to what is now Circular Quay; Beauchamp Road in Matraville, where I live, which was named after a famous French explorer; and, of course, the suburb of La Perouse, where La Perouse's original expedition set foot on land in Australia.
Since that time, the bonds between our community and the people of France have grown stronger and stronger, and more and more people of French descent have settled in our community. This is reflected in the wonderful institutions of French heritage in our area. Principally, Australia's premier French school, Lycee Condorcet, which is located in Maroubra, provides a first-class French education to not only the kids of French expats but many locals as well. It has a very strong and proud sporting heritage. I see the kids from the French school at the local pool at Maroubra when I go to swim some laps every morning, and they are very strong swimmers. It is a school with a great sporting tradition. Last week I phoned the principal, Philippe Courjault, to extend the condolences, thoughts and prayers of our community to the students and their families. A wonderful service was held at the school in honour of those who passed away tragically in Paris a couple of weeks ago. There is also the Friends of the Laperouse Museum, a group of locals and people of French heritage who keep the wonderful heritage of La Perouse and his expedition to Australia alive in our community. On Saturday last week, they had their annual general meeting. I attended to deliver a message of love and support to the French people who live in our community and also, more widely, to the people of France. Let me tell you, on behalf of our community, that we feel your grief. We offer our sincerest prayers and thoughts in your moment of grief.
When my wife and I visited France on our honeymoon, we were fortunate to travel to the north of France to some of the World War I battlefields. It was a very moving experience. One of the most touching moments was visiting the Victoria school in Villers-Bretonneux and the wonderful monument to Australian soldiers on the outskirts of that little village. As you walk into the Victoria school, named after the state of Victoria, you see the following words emblazoned along the entrance to the school: 'Do not forget Australia'—or, in French, 'Ne pas oublier l'Australie.' When the school was ruined in World War I, it was rebuilt by the people of Victoria. It was the people of Victoria's gift to that wonderful little town that many Australians had fought at on behalf of the Allies. The catchcry of the time was: 'By diggers defended, by Victorians mended.' An appeal went around the state of Victoria for people to chip in to rebuild this school, and that is exactly what Australia did—and the people of Villers-Bretonneux have never forgotten that.
When my wife and I travelled to this little town, we got lost on our way to the cemetery and the Australian memorial. I went into a little grocery store and asked the woman behind the counter if she could provide me with directions on how to get to the memorial, and she said, 'I will take you there.' I said, 'No, no, you don't need to take me there; just provide me with instructions.' She said, 'No, you are Australian; I will take you there.' That, to me, symbolised this wonderful bond between Australia and France, which is still evident to this day, 100 years later, in the people of that town. As the words that are emblazoned on the school say, they have not forgotten Australia. You walk around that little school and you see drawings that the kids have done of kangaroos, koalas, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. It is really a touching experience to see that Australia has made such a difference to that particular French town. When the Victorian bushfires hit on Black Saturday some years ago, in 2011, the people of that town responded and again provided support to the towns in rural Victoria that were hit by those shocking bushfires—another great testament to the bond between our two nations and our people.
As I expressed at the Friends of the Laperouse Museum on the weekend: as the words emblazoned on the Victoria school state 'do not forget Australia,' now is the time that Australians will not forget France. Now is the time that Australia stands by our good friends in France, and that is exactly what we will do.
France is one of the world's great republics—a strong nation and a symbol of liberty, freedom, democracy and, importantly, peace. In the wake of the terrorist attacks a couple of weeks ago, the people of Paris and the people of France have stood tall and said: 'We will not bow to threats and acts of violence or terrorism. We will not change our way of life. We will continue to uphold those great cultural principles that defined our nation.' Well, I say to the people of Paris and the people of France, on behalf of their friends in the electorate and community of Kingsford Smith: the people of Australia stand proudly with you; we will, with you, see off this threat; and you will continue to be a fine example to the world of freedom, liberty and peace. May those who lost their lives in those terrible terrorist attacks rest in peace.
It started on the plane last Sunday night as we were making our way to Paris to represent Australia at the International Energy Agency meeting just two days after the tragic events in Paris on the Friday before. It had been decided that the meeting of the International Energy Agency would go ahead because to cancel it out of fear would represent another small victory for the terrorists who seek to destroy our way of life. As I made my way, on that plane, from Melbourne to Paris, I looked at the empty seats around me, which are not a common scene on a plane into a European capital city such as Paris. Once we got off the plane, there was an eerie silence in the terminal. We went to get our baggage, and I asked the young man who was escorting us, a Frenchman, what he thought of what had just transpired. He said that he was horrified and he himself was a second generation Muslim in France.
We made our way to the hotel. We were briefed by security services about potential threats and what to do in the event that there is shooting, a bomb or another attack. We debated, as a group: 'Do we go outside for a walk? Should we break into smaller groups? Is it too dangerous? Should we not go at all?' I asked myself, 'How did it come to this? Paris—a city of 10 million people, the city of lights known throughout the world for its culture, its arts, its monuments and its museums—brought to its knees by these tragic terrorist killings.'
We did go for a walk down the Champs-Elysees, where there was a guard outside every cafe and every shop. The roads were not nearly as busy as they would normally be. You could tell that everybody looked at each other with a hint of suspicion and a hint of fear. I have to say that that is how I felt as I made that walk. We made the walk around the Champs-Elysees and, on the way back to the hotel, we finished off at the Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon's monument to France's vainglorious past. The irony was not lost on me or the travelling party that here was a monument testament to France's strength throughout the world, and here we were in Paris at the lowest point of the Fifth Republic. Not since Vichy France, when the Nazi's controlled Paris during the Second World War, have we seen such bloodshed and loss of innocent life.
Later that afternoon, I accompanied Ambassador Stephen Brady to the memorial outside the Bataclan concert hall. I have to say, it was more than sobering. It was shocking, because outside the concert hall there were clearly police, ambulance services and other emergency services still going about their gruesome task. Along the fence line there were thousands of candles, hundreds of flags, thousands of messages and so many photos of people who had lost their lives. One message will stick with me forever. It said, 'Rock kills you,' and it had a symbol of the peace sign with the Eiffel Tower in the middle. Rock kills you. These were young people—more than 120—who lost their lives. They had simply gone out to a concert on a normal Friday night. There was another message—'Best wishes from Bingara Australia, nous sommes avec vous'—a message from an Australian saying that they are standing with their French brothers and sisters at this time.
All Australians feel deeply about what has happened and cannot help but be moved by the tragedy that has befallen France because, but for the grace of God, it could have been us. We have lost more than 100 Australians in terrorist attacks since September 2001. The Bali bombings changed our nation forever. There were the Marriott Hotel bombings in Indonesia, including at the Marriott Hotel. We have seen the Mumbai attacks. We know about the London bus bombings and the Madrid train bombings. In Paris at the beginning of this year we saw the tragic Charlie Hebdo attacks and the attacks within the kosher supermarket. There have been attacks through Brussels, Amsterdam and every other major European capital.
In Australia, but for the incredible work of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, I have no doubt we would have faced an outcome as horrible as we have seen throughout Europe. Let us be under no illusions about the threat from Islamic extremism here in Australia. I accept that Islam is not the problem, but we have to accept that within Islam there is an extremist ideology that is turning young men and women toward a violent way.
There are 110 Australians fighting in Syria and Iraq. More than 40 Australians have already lost their lives, including a number of suicide bombers. There are 190 Australians here in Australia providing support to those over in Syria and Iraq—whether it is recruitment or financing. More than 140 passports of Australians have been cancelled, and ASIO and the AFP tell us that they have more than 400 high-profile terrorist investigations under way. That should alarm everybody in this place, because we have seen what one man with a gun and a black flag can do in Sydney, with the Lindt cafe. We have seen the killing of the innocent police worker at the Parramatta police station, and we know so many other more serious attacks have been thwarted.
Australia has more foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria than Canada or the United States. Why is this? Where is the strong condemnation of what has transpired over in Paris and elsewhere? I believe the Grand Mufti should have done more, and I am not afraid to say it. If we do not deal effectively with this threat, then we will be dealing with our own tragedy here in Australia. I know the Prime Minister sees this, as do the National Security Committee of Cabinet and our intelligence and security forces. We have introduced into the parliament five tranches of security and counter-terrorism legislation. We have resourced our authorities to record levels. We have deployed Australian Defence personnel to Syria and Iraq and made the second-largest contribution there behind the United States. We are doing everything possible to deal with this threat both at home and abroad.
But there are hard questions that needed to be asked. They are being asked in France by President Hollande, not because he faces regional elections in a few weeks time and Le Pen and Sarkozy are breathing down his neck, but because he believes in them. After Charlie Hebdo and the events at the kosher supermarket, when they took a more conciliatory tone, they know they have to change tack. That is why Francois Hollande, in his speech at the Palace of Versailles, said that France is at war, the response will be merciless, and the French republic will do everything possible to protect its community. He called for changes across European borders and for tighter restrictions on gun trafficking and the movement of peoples.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an incredibly thoughtful writer, is a woman who was born in Somalia, made her way to the Netherlands, became a member of parliament and famously made a movie with Theo van Gough, who then was tragically stabbed to death by a Muslim extremist. Now she finds herself in America with personal protection, where she is speaking her mind about her previous faith, growing up as a Muslim, and about what needs to be done. She has some home truths for us. She talks about how Europe needs to take on some of these challenges. She talks about how the infrastructure of hatred and some of the preaching that goes on in mosques and in our schools and elsewhere needs to be tackled head on.
We need to call out this extremism for what it is. It is a threat to our way of life. I have no doubt that, if the young 15-year-old who killed the Australian police worker in Parramatta could have got his hand on more than a gun, on something that could cause more death and destruction, he would have, because he believed in martyrdom—a life after the here and the now.
Everyone in this chamber has a family, and that family is the most important thing that we have in this world. It is much more important than a career, much more important than a reputation, much more important than any material possession. More than 120 people lost their lives in France, and their families will grieve forever. We owe it to ourselves and to the Australian community, as leaders of our country, regardless of what side of the political fence we sit on, to not succumb to political correctness, to not succumb to weakness but to remember that this is a serious, serious threat that can be defeated and must be defeated and will be defeated.
It is now almost a decade and a half on from 11 September 2001, when we witnessed one of the worst international terrorist attacks involving four separate but coordinated aircraft hijackings, used very strategically to cause huge damage in the United States. I remember it very well because that was the year that my son Nicholas was a first-year apprentice electrician. I remember him waking me up at around 4.30 or quarter to 5, when he was up to go to work, as he had just seen this unfolding on the television. It was almost with disbelief that we then witnessed what had unfolded at the World Trade Centre. More than 3,000 people died on that day. Citizens of 78 countries perished at the World Trade Centre in New York. This bloody attack was the beginning of a new kind of war. I am not saying that it was unprecedented in terms of the style of attack or the fact that it was terrorism, but this was global terrorism declaring war on the rest of humanity.
These terrorist groups, which include al Qaeda, ISIL, ISIS, have strong designs on creating a caliphate and have instigated a spate of attacks on foreign countries to achieve that aim. In fact, as we have been reminded, only 12 days ago we saw the deadly series of attacks that occurred in Paris. In a matter of hours, in six different locations, militant terrorists carried out coordinated shootings and suicide bombings that killed 130 people and left about 190 people seriously injured. These innocent people were killed at random in a bustling urban area while going about their normal business enjoying a night out at a concert, going to the football or simply socialising at a restaurant. They were going about their normal life. These are absolutely devastating crimes, and you can see the sense of awe, shock and sadness that lingers at the crime scenes, and in the cafes and marketplaces, among the people of France. What we have seen there has resonated throughout the rest of the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France, people of a Western culture who were targeted because of that. Seven terrorists involved in the attacks were killed, with one identified fugitive still on the run. Clearly, there are more out there planning attacks, many within the safety of their bases in Syria and Yemen. They have networks which clearly extend across the globe.
A day before the Paris attacks, Beirut experienced one of the deadliest bombings since its civil war ended 25 years ago. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up on a busy street in the southern suburbs of Beirut, killing 43 people and wounding over 200 people. The bombings came at a busy time in the evening when the streets were full of people, including women, children and the elderly, gathering after work and socialising.
In fact since 2013 much of the southern part of Beirut has witnessed a string of deadly suicide bombings. This occurred after the proactive engagement of Hezbollah in Syria in its fight against ISIS and other terrorist groups. Therefore, these are reprisals against the people of Lebanon. Just a few hours after that attack, it was ISIS that issued a statement to say that they were behind those bombings. Russia has not been spared from these calculated terrorist attacks, either. A Russian airbus was downed over Egypt on 31 October with what appears to have been a bomb placed on board. It exploded in midair, killing 224 people. I suppose everyone in this place and no doubt most Australians, watching through the electronic media, saw the shocking images of the mangled wreckage of the Russian airliner and the personal possessions strewn across the desert floor—absolutely horrific scenes. Last Friday jihadists continued to press their attack in Mali, where gunmen stormed the Radisson Blu Hotel and took up 170 hostages, before killing 19 people—six Russians, three Chinese, two Belgians and one Israeli among them. They were indiscriminate.
These high-profile attacks have targeted people simply going about their normal lives—people congregating together enjoying sport, arts, culture—in fact, doing things in places that we would all take for granted as being part of our involvement in normal society. However, this also highlights the growing vulnerability to extreme violence and terrorism, but more than that it indicates, in my opinion, what these terrorists want to change—our normal way of life. In all these atrocities, the extremists took lives of civilians with inhuman ferocity and without discrimination. This is the same sort of terrorism and violence that Syrian refugees are currently fleeing. No injustice, no matter how serious, can justify such barbaric acts of terrorism.
Here in Australia we are not immune to terrorist acts. Since last September, we have seen three home-grown terrorist attacks inspired by ISIS on Australian soil—the stabbing of a Victorian police officer and an Australian Federal Police officer in Melbourne in September 2014; the Martin Place siege in December 2014, which took the lives of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson; and the recent fatal shooting in Parramatta of the New South Wales police employee, Curtis Cheng. These show that we are not immune to acts of terrorism.
With terrorism escalating across the globe, it has become more important than ever for international communities to come together to share our beliefs in freedom and liberty and to work together to disrupt these barbaric organisations, which purport to extinguish the values that we hold dear. My deepest sympathies go to all these victims of these atrocities and their families. There, but for the grace of God, we could also be subject to atrocities of that magnitude.
I must pay regard to our law enforcement agencies. From personal experience I know how hard they work to ensure that we are protected. I must say that it does take a very special person with very special courage to wear the police uniform. On behalf of a grateful community, I thank them for what they do to keep our society and our people safe. We must exercise a global solidarity when it comes to terrorism and we must always have the commitment to never allow our freedoms, and liberty and our way of life to be put in jeopardy by these terrorist based organisations.
Today I rise to pay homage to the 130 innocent people who were murdered in France. We must always remember to have sympathy for the victims, their families, friends and loved ones. For me, one of the most powerful moments was seeing the solidarity of the French people singing. These recent events in Europe and indeed the world demonstrate that people are being seduced by an evil cult and are committing despicable acts on innocent people.
We must be vigilant. We must be tough, but we must not be scared and run. Nor should we be foolhardy or rash. Here in Australia, it is horrifying and bewildering to know that there are people in our great country, right now, planning acts of violence in some twisted show of support for the horrific and violent organisation that is ISIS. It was scary today to see the New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner, Catherine Burn, confirm this fact. While Australian police across all jurisdictions are doing an incredible job in preventing these senseless attacks, sadly, some have slipped through the net.
We call these people terrorists, because that is what they are
I fear the label is being used by some as a badge of honour, some twisted justification that they have some political or religious cause to hide behind that gives them some right to murder innocent people. Let us be clear about this. They are not martyrs. They are not heroes. They are simply gutless. They are not justified through some twisted and misguided religious calling—not to the Islamic faith, not to anything. Those seduced by ISIS are simply pawns of this evil regime. They are servants to thuggery, rape, murder and torture. They have forgotten that sanctioning their evils on humanity only exposes them as imperfect; shows their teachers for what they truly are—vile and full of hate.
Many Islamic people in our community throughout Australia have condemned these acts and have expressed their desire to live in a peaceful Australia. So the Islamic community must continue to be active to ensure that radicalisation of their young people who are perverted by the twisted and evil uses of ISIS no longer occurs. While significant sections of the Islamic community are indeed doing this, there are still some senior figures sending out confusing and conflicting messages. We need to be sure that this also stops. We all have an interest in ensuring that children are not radicalised. We all have an interest in ensuring that when we see any of those messages on the internet, or any acts of young people being radicalised, those children and the preachers involved are rapidly reported to all local security agencies to ensure not only the peace and freedom of our community but also the welfare of the young people being perverted by this twisted cult.
We must keep our communities safe. We love the freedom and safety we have in Australia, and it is important that we protect that. Many Muslim people do not want to see their young people killed—they do not want to see their young people going off for a cause that stands for nothing but evil. One in five Australians mad enough to travel to Syria and Iraq will end up dying there. Calls for unilateral action to defeat ISIS are not realistic. In fact, in many ways this is marching to the ISIS tune—dragging countries one by one into a world war. The peoples of the world must work together—we must work swiftly and smartly to defeat this curse. We must ensure that our actions are measured and calculated, and that we attack those who would choose to attack us. We need to not allow this hatred to infect us. At the end of the day, we need to think about the freedoms we have here. The fight is about our democracies, it is about our freedoms. I love the French words liberte, egalite and fraternite. They are important because we must protect our liberty, we must protect our freedoms. These are what we fight for. It is important that we fight for our values. If they do not want to join us then perhaps they should find somewhere else to live. Freedom stands up for itself, and we must ensure that our countries are free, that our children are safe and that ISIS is ultimately defeated.
What a sad and terrible day it was on Friday, 13 November 2015. The terror attacks in Paris have shocked the world and rocked France, as well as the rest of us. It has shocked us into the acknowledgement that terrorism by whomever it is perpetrated is aimed at all of us—all of the citizens of the world who believe in freedom, in equality and in the rule of law. The ISIS attacks in Paris were aimed directly at the heart of democracy and liberty—designed, through a senseless loss of life, to injure all of us and strike fear into our hearts. This was as much an attack on the people of France as it was an attack on the people of Australia. It was an attack on all faiths—an attack on Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists and also an attack on Muslims. The indiscriminate terror killings have no explanation, no justification and no basis in the name of any faith. They, ISIS, are just terrorists aiming at destroying our way of life and destroying an institution, but much worse these attacks are designed to turn us against each other. Let us not do that. Let us not blame each other—instead, let us work together to fight this terror. And this is exactly what we have seen in France when a defiant population has crowded back into the streets around Paris in the cafes and restaurants and places of entertainment.
Of course, this is what makes Paris such a special place for more than 30 million visitors each year. The city of light is host to more than a million Australian visitors—Australians on a once in a lifetime trip, working or studying. That connection to Australia could not have been more real for one brave young teenager, Emma Parkinson—that one in a million Australian who was shot and severely wounded in the Bataclan theatre. We are all hopeful of a speedy and full recovery for Emma and pay tribute to her courage. Emma Parkinson serves as a reminder of the strong link between our two countries, which dates back 100 years. In fact, just two weeks ago, on Remembrance Day, the parliament hosted a French delegation of senators who came to pay their respects to the Aussie diggers who helped liberate France and small towns during the First World War. The delegation leader, Senator Marc Daunis, spoke of the great love and deep appreciation the French people continue to feel for the Australians who came to help them fight for freedom. That was 100 years ago, but here we are again fighting a war—yes, it is a war—against those who would take away our freedom. So in some way we are all connected. For me that connection is very strong because France is where I was born and lived until the age of nearly six before my family migrated to Australia.
Australia, like France and all other democratic countries that base their form of governance on the principles of freedom and the fundamental right to live in freedom, has strong values and we uphold these principles for all of our citizens. But this, of itself, is not enough, whether it is in France or whether it is in Australia. Both countries must do more and fight back those that would do us harm. Australia, like France, has fought to defend these same principles of freedom, in some cases side-by-side defending against tyranny and despotic ideology. But be it 100 years ago, 75 years ago or just two weeks ago, today our democratic societies must be defend our collective freedoms against the scourge of terrorism.
Paris, Lebanon, Mali, Bamako, New York, Washington or in the air above Egypt, terrorism has no bounds and it can strike at any time. But we must continue to stare down those who seek to attack our way of life, because we have no choice. Every act of terrorism is an attack on humanity and is not something that we have sought. Motivated by hate and often perpetrated in the name of faith or religion, these are false claims; there is no faith and there is no God in terrorism. Put simply, the motivation for terrorism is hatred, control and fear.
What we know about the attacks in Paris is that the death toll remains at 129, with 352 others injured and some 40 people remaining in critical condition. Investigators believe that up to 20 people were involved in the attacks. French President Francois Hollande has declared a three-month state of emergency as well as deploying troops and extra police right across Paris. As the Prime Minister of Australia and the Leader of the Opposition noted in parliament: liberty, peace, justice and democracy are virtues our two countries have fought for and share. These values are etched into our way of life, respect for the rule of law and our fellow citizens.
Australians are united in grief from this senseless loss of life and we stand as one with the French people, determined to not let the barbaric acts of those who hate taint our ways of life. There has been an enormous outpouring of grief and shock from Australians for what took place in Paris. This was done through quiet, peaceful and respectful gatherings in our major cities across the country to show our support for our French friends. In Brisbane, the community gathered with the Queensland Premier, the federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Lord Mayor of Brisbane with a host of other elected representatives at all levels of government to express our support for the French people and to stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends. I was deeply moved by the gathering and I know directly how much this has meant for people in France.
Here in Australia, such a beautiful and peaceful country, we too are no strangers to terrorism; we too are victims of terrorism, and we are not naive about the real threats that we face here at home. That is why the Labor Party stands as one with the government to take strong action to prevent, detect and deal with those who would want to harm us here. The actions that are now being taken in Europe, some would say are harsh, some would say are extreme and some would say go much further than we would have ever expected. But I think all of the actions now being taken by European countries, in particular in relation to protecting their citizens, are a direct response to what has taken place.
I think that, sadly, there is an awakening of the reality that terrorism reaches into all of our homes in some way, that the many acts of terrorism that we have seen over many years—and in particular the acts of terrorism that we saw in Paris—spell an end to naive views about those who may be targeted more than others. There is no-one who is safe. I think that Australians, having woken to the news of what took place in Paris, have come to that view as well.
There is a very deep and strong connection whether people have been to Paris or not been to Paris; there is this feeling that it is a safe place to go, a place that we all, at some time in our lives, want to visit. I think, in part, that is why we were so deeply shocked by what took place there, because we know it is our young Australians who go there for their special visit, their special holiday, who were impacted with so many lives being lost.
Of course what took place in Paris does not detract from other losses of life in other areas, I mentioned previously. It is important that we say that all lives are valuable, that all lives are important and that the Australian nation must play a global role and a strong role in the fight against terrorism. This is not something that will go away, I suspect, very unfortunately, in the next few months or even few years. But it is something that we can beat; it is something that is defeatable, and we can play a role in the defeat of terrorism.
My heart goes out to all the families that have lost loved ones, not just in Paris but in other terrorist attacks, the many, many people that this has affected deeply right around the world, particularly here in Australia but also particularly for all my family in France.
I too am pleased to be able to rise in this place and take this opportunity to send my deepest condolences to the people of France and to everyone affected by the recent attacks in Paris, but also, as we have seen since Paris, in Mali. We recognise that they continue to mourn in respect of the tremendous loss that has occurred.
On 14 November Australians awoke to the devastating news that Paris had been attacked with hundreds injured and more than 120 killed. It is news that felt a little bit like deja vu, as 2015 had marked 14 years since the devastating attack on the World Trade Centre towers in New York, taking thousands of lives.
In the past 12 months, the people of Australia have also felt the mortifying sting of extremist attacks. This year, sadly, we lost NSW Police Force employee Curtis Cheng, who was murdered by a radicalised teenager. Our nation paused in disbelief as the Lindt cafe siege in Sydney took the lives of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson. They are devastating losses that we will never forget. I, along with all other Australians, condemn in the strongest possible terms these acts of terror.
Paris is a famous city that thousands of Australians and millions of people from around the world travel to every year. It is a city known for its beauty, romance, food, fashion and, above all, freedom. The extreme act of terror on the people of France and visiting tourists by ISIL is a determination to attack and suppress that freedom not just in France but throughout the world. Australia and Western nations in general around the world have fought for freedom in the past, and every time we have prevailed.
In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, 'Terrorism and deception are weapons not of the strong but of the weak.' ISIL are weak. They seek to assert some form of religious tyranny, a threat in the name of God, but instead they commit the work of the devil. As I touched on in a contribution in this House yesterday, Roger Scruton, in the foreword to a book on Islamic philosophy, makes the point that it is a belief system that is in need of reformation—something that Christianity went through several hundred years ago, coming out the other side all the better for it.
Australians are solid in their support for freedom and, when faced with terror, death and loss, we have always seen the best in humanity rise from the devastation. The freedom and values that we enjoy in this country unite us. We live in one of the best places in the world. Our multiculturalism and our shared love of freedom are what bring us together—the freedom to live where we choose, follow any career we desire, travel the world, study, practise a religion and celebrate cultural traditions.
When the French people left the stadium, the Stade de France, after that shocking attack, they were not cowed. They sang their national anthem, proudly. That is how all free people should respond to these attacks. For every act of terror, we have seen people respond in ways that restore our faith in humanity and encourage us to further unite against the fear and devastation that terrorism brings. The best defence against terrorism is not to allow fear to win but to focus on uniting as a community to seek to defeat those who would bring that fear into our communities.
Australians should be reassured by the fact that we have some of the finest security agencies in the world. We have a government—and an opposition, as this is the position on all sides of politics in this House—that is utterly committed to protecting the safety of Australians at home and, as far as it can, abroad. We have some significant mechanisms in place through our intelligence and policing agencies to keep our community as safe as possible. Our country will not let fear take over. Australians should not fear going out to dinner, attending a concert or going to a football game. We should, and we will, live our lives every day in the same way we always have: with freedom—the freedom of democracy, the freedom to choose, the freedom to live our lives the way we want.
While the alert level remains high in Australia, as it has been since September last year, we should all be reassured that our government and hardworking security agencies are doing their utmost to protect us all. Recently we have seen the parliament pass additional legislation, in the form of updated counter-terrorism legislation, to continue and strengthen their ability to do that.
Unfortunately, we have seen many other terrorist attacks around the world over the previous few years. The recent terrorist attacks by ISIL in Paris, Mali, Ankara in Turkey, as well as other places throughout the Middle East, are the latest examples. We have even seen attacks by Palestinians on Israelis in the streets of Israel which could equally be classified as terrorist attacks.
In closing, I leave the House with another thought from Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, whose profound spirituality and belief in justice inspired the world:
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
We should continue to remain vigilant in the face of the threat from organisations like ISIL, but we should always reflect on the wonderful values and culture that we have in this great country that people from the four corners of the world have come to live in, to celebrate the freedoms and the opportunities that it presents. Those opportunities are still before those people, and we should focus on those opportunities, because they are what make this country great now and will continue to make it great into the future.
On 10 October this year, the following tribute notice appeared in the Adelaide Advertiser:
GOLOTTA, Angela Sylvia Rose. Killed in Bali on October 12, 2002 by Islamic Terrorists Aged 19 years old. Lovingly remembered by her Granny and Grandpa and her entire family. My darling granddaughter, we lovingly remember you, each and everyday. Your sunny nature and your care and dedication to both people and animals brought a ray of sunshine into many lives. We should have been celebrating your 33rd Birthday next week. We can only imagine the heights you would have reached by now. You were bubbly, happy, ambitious and clever with a large circle of friends, and you had a such a marvellous sense of humour. You are so badly missed by all the family and friends. Granny and Grandfather, Mother Tracey, Father John and Brother Michael, and the entire Taylor family.
A similar message was placed only a couple of weeks later when Angela would have turned 33. A similar message has appeared, I believe, every year since Angela was killed in Bali in 2002. Her family still grieve her loss. They always will. Angela was 20 years old. She was in Bali with her family: her mum, her dad and her brother. They are good people, and they were there on a family holiday together. Angela is one of the tens of thousands of innocent people who, in recent decades, have lost their lives because of the actions of extremists. Those killed or injured come from all walks of life, cultures, religions and ages and all parts of the world.
We have entered a period of global war, but, unlike World War I and World War II, the war is not between nations but between ideologies and cultures. In today's globalised world, ideologies and culture transcend national borders. What is common to previous wars and today's war is that they are equally caused by power and greed. The desire for power to control the people of the world is, in turn, driven by greed in most cases but masked behind slogans of democracy, freedom, religion or injustice. In a world with a rising population and diminishing resources, the fear for survival also becomes a cause of conflict. Of course, the international affairs experts will each have their explanation of causal factors, as will those who either will benefit from or have a direct interest in the conflict. Global politics has become more tangled than ever before, and the motives and instigators of each terror attack are becoming less and less clear. What is clear is that men, women and children are being brutally killed, tortured and enslaved by people to whom they have done no harm, whom they have never met and to whose safety they pose no threat. Even more disturbing is the sadistic nature of those who participate in terrorism and extremism. Just as confusing is that those very people who commit the atrocities, who participate in terror attacks, do so knowing that they, too, will very likely die, as so many of them already have. Yet, for all of their bravado, after committing their cowardly acts of cold-blooded killing, they flee in desperation, in search of refuge and safety for themselves, unlike a true soldier, who confronts his foe front-on.
The extreme cruelty is not only proudly depicted on YouTube videos or reported in newspaper stories. Many of us also hear of it from the relatives, friends and countrymen of those killed who now live in Australia. I have listened to and seen the sadness in the faces of people in my own electorate whom I personally know and who have lost family members in both the New York twin towers attack and the Bali attacks. Those families still grieve for the innocent lives lost—in just about all cases, young people who lost their lives well ahead of time, suddenly, deliberately and without any explanation as to why. I also hear of it from people I represent who come from areas of conflict and who relay to me their personal experiences of brutality and cruelty beyond what any decent person could ever comprehend. I have joined some of those people in solidarity at services where they mourned their losses and prayed for the souls of those lost.
Only two weeks ago, I attended a candlelight vigil held by the Hazara community of Adelaide in response to the beheading of seven Hazara people in Afghanistan just days earlier. The seven people included four males, two women and a child. They had been kidnapped for no known reason and, for no obvious reason other than being Hazari, were then killed. The Hazara people are a minority Shiah group who make up about 20 per cent of the Afghan population and who seem to be persecuted wherever they go. As several of the placards held up at the vigil read, 'It is not a crime to be Hazara.' Yet it seems that it is for no reason other than being Hazara that so many of them are being killed, tortured, raped or abused. The Hazara people in Australia have reached the safety of our borders, but their anxiety continues for the lives of family members and friends who remain in Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East and whose lives are at risk. The plea of the Hazara people of Adelaide to the Australian government is not to forget or close our eyes and ears to the Hazara people in places overseas where they are still being persecuted, where they are defenceless and where their lives are still at risk.
I bring their pleas to the attention of the Australian government, as I promised I would do. The Hazara people are not alone in being persecuted or in being victims of extreme ideology and brutality. I have spoken in this place on previous occasions about other groups who are being treated in a similar way. Again, they too plea for assistance from decent people around the world.
National security across the world has become a political priority for most governments. Indeed, here in Australia in recent days, we have had legislation addressing security matters, and in recent weeks and months there has been other legislation doing the same—all in response to trying to counter the threat of extremists and radicals. It is legislation that in days gone by would perhaps never have been contemplated, yet we have reached a point where we as a parliament believe that we need to act in order to try and protect the people of this country. Indeed, the people of Australia expect the government and the parliament to act, and so the government does whatever it believes it can do. Only yesterday, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition made statements on national security and what we as a nation can and should be doing. Those statements were made in response to what is happening around the world right now and what Australia's role may well with be in any response that occurs. We do have a responsibility as a good global citizen to join in with not just Western nations but other nations who take this issue seriously and who believe that the only way that this issue can ever be managed is by nations working together. I agree with that. I believe that is the only response that you can embark on when you are dealing with a war that has been from the outset fought not between nations but between ideologies and cultures.
Perhaps what is lesser known is the massive additional costs that are being borne by society, including here in Australia, as a result of the counter-terrorism responses. If we look at the efforts that have been made by governments in the last decade alone there have been more staff placed in different areas of national security, more police on the streets, more screening processes, more document security systems put in place, more elaborate tracking devices and more highly sophisticated military equipment. All of these things cost money. Indeed, they cost millions and perhaps billions of dollars. They add to the cost of government and take away from society that money which could otherwise be spent on more essential things that are needed by the people of this country.
Terrorists and extremists have indeed changed the world. They are impacting on everyday life in pretty much every part of the world. Right now, none know this more so than the people of Paris, France, who have been affected twice in the space of a year: firstly, the Charlie Hebdo killings, where some 11 people were killed; and then more recently in Paris, where 130 people lost their lives. As other speakers have said, it has occurred in Ankara, where 103 people lost their lives; in Mali, where 21 people lost their lives; and in Beirut, where some 43 people lost their lives. It is suspected that a terrorist bomb downed the Russian aircraft, with 224 people losing their lives. Here in Australia, we are also very aware of the risk of terrorism. We saw Curtis Cheng lose his life only a month ago. Less than a year ago, we saw Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson lose their lives in the Lindt Cafe siege. So it has hit within our borders in the same way that it has hit other countries. For those reasons, we do need to play our role in whatever the appropriate response is.
What the appropriate response is is not a simple matter, and that is made very clear by the constant dialogue taking place between international leaders with respect to finding a response to what is going on. It is a difficult issue. But, at this point in time, it is important that we also join with the families who are mourning those they have lost and also with the families of those who have been injured as a result of these activities. We join with them to show them that we are in solidarity with them, which, at the very least, will give them some degree of comfort knowing that the rest of the world cares.
I join with my colleagues in this place who have already expressed their condolences to those families for the losses that they have incurred in expressing my condolences. I also indicate to those families, albeit that some of them may never get to hear this speech, that to some extent I share the pain of what they are going through and that we do stand in solidarity with them.
When as colleagues we rise to speak on such an issue as the recent terrorism attacks around the globe, we join in a non-partisan way not only to speak on behalf of our own people, Australians who, in the recent attacks in Paris, have been directly affected but also to speak on an issue that impacts every part of the globe in one way or another. When members spoke today, they reflected on this government's first priority, and that is of course the safety of everyday Australians. But I am sure that as I and others watched the unfolding of the recent events in Paris, the question for all of us was: how, in a very challenging, unpredictable environment around the globe, do we get the balance right between an open and free democracy and putting those barriers, laws and resources in place to protect our people?
As we reflect on what has happened in various parts of the world, and I will talk about that a little bit later, what has happened is brutal, evil, unfounded behaviour which has resulted in tragic loss of life where innocent men, women and children—people who are grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons, husbands and wives; people that have connections and people that are loved—are tragically taken from us. Of course, others have to deal with the long recovery from injury, sometimes to return to a life similar to before, but other times not. Anybody that has observed these events directly has a long-term psychological challenge ahead of them.
But what do we do at this point in time? We acknowledge the grief, the loss, and we have an emotional response, but at the same time what we see in leadership is that capacity to calmly look at how we move forward from here. It has already been mentioned earlier that this requires leaders coming together. This requires nations working together in a coalition that aims to fight to ensure that we maintain our values, those values that underpin our democracy, and that we work with determination and resoluteness to defend and protect those freedoms that we hold so dear.
As we have seen in recent days and weeks, often when we see these attacks take place the result can be division. We question: who do we trust; how can we trust? I have many friends that are of Muslim faith. Indeed, the Mahdi community that hold their celebrations in Marsden Park are here because they have been persecuted. Their mosques have been burnt down in Pakistan and other parts of our region. They have come here because they seek safety from persecution and from their women being raped. They come here and they invest in Australia. They raise the Australian flag on Australia Day. They encourage and connect their community to business, to work. They invest in their young people and talk to them about the importance and the value of becoming an Australian.
The government's approach has several important layers. I want to focus on them very briefly. As a government we want to maintain a strong multicultural society. We come from all nations around the globe. We have a very strong history of being able to do that, probably better than any other country in the world. We also want to help those institutions and sections of our society to combat violent extremism ideology where it emerges. We want to challenge and undermine the appeal of terrorist propaganda, particularly online. Importantly, we want to intervene and divert individuals away from their violent extremist views.
We look at where attacks have taken place most recently and, of course, we have reflected on Paris. I want to talk about the people. There were 120 killed and more than 300 injured. Of course, Emma Parkinson, an Australian, was very brave during that event. In Beirut 40 people were killed. But these are 40 families, 120 families and 300 families. The Russian airliner has been mentioned over Sinai, when 224 people were killed. These are families that are directly affected by evil. Mali and Ankara have been mentioned. Momentarily I want to reflect on Curtis Cheng. While I did not have the opportunity to know him, as someone who has lived in Greater Western Sydney for a number of years, I have many connections with the police that work in the region. In fact, the husband of one of my staff works for the police. Immediately all of us were on the phone to each other asking: 'Is everybody safe?' These are people that we know, potentially, that can be impacted. Of course, Martin Place has been mentioned.
If we are going to really protect people, what has to be the focus is the evil threat from ISIL. It is a global issue. It must be addressed at its source in the Middle East. It is important that our involvement in the coalition efforts in Syria and Iraq is resolute and effective. Strategically, ISIL wants to create division between us.
It is also vital that legislation and the environment of legislation is able to empower our police, our defence forces and our key people in the intelligence community with the powers and the resources they need so that they can take action. We have invested $1.3 billion in our agencies. That was mentioned earlier by the member who spoke about the cost. The cost is worth it. It is about keeping us safe. It is so vital. I want to particularly acknowledge ASIO, Defence, our police, Border Protection officers and communities around Australia that are coming together to fight for what is important to us—our freedom.
Again I want to pass on my condolences and acknowledge the deep sorrow we feel for those who have lost loved ones recently and over recent years through terrorism attacks. I want to affirm and acknowledge the government, with the support of the opposition, being resolute in determining to ensure that we do everything we can to defeat ISIS.
I appreciate the opportunity to make a statement on the terrorist attacks in Paris and around the world in recent weeks, recent months, recent years and recent decades. It was earlier this year that a former German MP, Jurgen Todenhofer, wrote a book called Inside ISIS: 10 days in the "Islamic State". He did this after being almost embedded with the group in Syria. He warned that the terrorist organisation is far more 'dangerous and organised' than people in the West realise. He added:
They are extremely brutal. Not just head-cutting. I'm talking about the strategy of religious cleansing. That's their official philosophy. They are talking about 500 million people who have to die.
The West underestimated the risk posed by IS dramatically.
… we don't have ground forces there in sufficient numbers to simply march into Al-Raqqah in Syria and clean the whole place out. And as a consequence, we've always understood that our goal has to be militarily constraining ISIL's capabilities, cutting off their supply lines, cutting off their financing at the same time as we're putting a political track together …
The interviewer then said:
And that's the strategy you've been following. But ISIS is gaining strength, aren't they?
The US President replied:
Well, no, I don't think they're gaining strength. What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.
Those words were said a few days before the Paris terrorist attacks. When it comes to the idea that we have contained them I think it is worth going through some of the terrorist attacks in the last 30 days only.
I will start with a list of terrorist attacks just this year which numbers close to 300. I will list just some of the terrorist attacks and deaths that have occurred around the world in the last 30 days. On 20 October we had 145 people killed in Nigeria from Boko Haram bombings. They were suicide bombings. On 31 October we had the downing of the Russian Metrojet flight, with 224 people killed in the Sinai in Egypt after that flight took off from Sharm El Sheikh airport. On 4 November we had a suicide bombing in Arish in Egypt, killing three people and injuring 10. On 5 November we had another suicide bombing in Lebanon, killing five people plus the perpetrator. On 6 November we had a 16-year-old Palestinian shoot and wound an Israeli Defense Forces soldier in a lone wolf attack. On 7 November we had 12 people killed when multiple bombs were set off across Baghdad. On 9 November we had suicide bombings killing three people in Chad. Also on the same day we had another four people killed when a 14-year-old girl suicide bomber detonated herself at a mosque in Cameroon. On 12 November we had 43 people killed in an ISIL suicide bombing in Beirut in Lebanon. On 13 November there was the tragedy in Paris, where 130 innocent civilians who were merely going to a football game, going to the theatre, watching a rock concert or simply having dinner at a restaurant lost their lives. On that same day there was also another 19 people killed in bombings in Iraq, with another 33 people injured. On 17 November we had bombings in Nigeria killing 34. A few days later we had the attack at the Radisson Hotel in Mali, leaving 19 dead. Right now, the city of Brussels remains in lockdown, with threats of serious and imminent attack. Only just this morning we heard that Tunisia is in a state of emergency after a bomb went off in a bus, killing another 12 people.
This does not sound like containment to me. We must acknowledge the scope of the problem that we face. Our grandfathers fought and defended—