Thursday, 28 November 2019
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister outline to the House the Morrison government's stable and certain approach to addressing the very real issue of national security, including protecting Australians from the evolving threats of terrorism and foreign interference? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?
I thank the honourable member for his question. The Morrison government is absolutely committed to making sure that we can protect our community to keep our borders safe and to keep Australians as safe as possible. We do face a very significant threat from terrorism. We've been very clear about that over a long period of time. Indeed, many Western democracies face the same threat as we do. In Australia, our threat level is at 'probable', which means that there is intelligence that indicates that individuals or groups continue to possess the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack. We know that, since 12 September 2014, when the terrorism threat level was raised to probable, there have been seven attacks, targeting people in our country and 16 major counterterrorism disruptions.
I want to pay tribute to the police, our intelligence agencies and our international partners—in particular our Five Eyes partners, because we work with them in a fashion absolutely designed to keeping Australians safe. As I speak, there are 53 Australians or people who are serving sentences in prisons for terrorism related offences and we're worried about the imminent release of some of those people, so this threat will continue for many, many years to come. We have an excellent director-general who has just been appointed. He leads a very significant team, and they do work behind the scenes that Australians just don't see. The work of ASIO, the work of ASIS, the Australian Federal Police and our other agencies, really is world leading, and I pay tribute to all of them again today. We've provided support, though, to our agencies; we've given record amounts of funding. We have introduced now 18 tranches of counterterrorism legislation since 2014 to make sure we can deal with the very real threat of terrorism, as well as the very real threat of foreign interference in our country. We are working with our international partners to make sure that we can deal with that threat into the future, because it is very real on our shores.
There's a lot of talk and discussion coming from those opposite. Regrettably, they have not asked one question on this matter. I have not had a question. I don't even know now who the shadow minister opposite is. It used to be the member for Blair. He's been banished and sent down the other end. They don't ask questions on serious issues like national security or border protection because they're off running these silly, childish political games. This Leader of the Opposition has a bigger glass jaw than even his predecessor. This whole game playing this week has all been about his own ego, and no wonder the Australian people are shaking their heads at him and those people who sit behind him.