House debates

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Questions without Notice

National Security

2:51 pm

Photo of Gavin PearceGavin Pearce (Braddon, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Will the minister outline to the House how the Morrison government is building the resilience of Australia's national security and how this helps to protect Australians from the threat of terrorism?

Photo of Peter DuttonPeter Dutton (Dickson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the honourable member for his question and for his strong support of the government's policies, which help to keep Australians safe. The Morrison government is absolutely committed to making sure that we can support our agencies at a Commonwealth level—principally, the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, AUSTRAC, the ACIC and others within my portfolio as well as across government. We've done that by providing more funding to help our investigators and analysts disrupt attacks before they happen. We've done it so that they can work with their international counterparts to look at what people are saying offshore and what planning and preparation may be going into a terrorist attack in our country or, indeed, the country of one of our allies or elsewhere.

Over and above that, and very importantly, we've been able to provide now 18 tranches of counterterrorism legislation since 2014, including the temporary exclusion orders act and the assistance and access act. That has gone directly to providing support to ASIO, to the AFP and to our joint counterterrorism teams across the country to keep Australians safe. So we are building the resilience of our agencies and of our country to deal with the very significant threat of those who would seek to do us harm.

I can advise the House today that earlier this morning the Australian Federal Police, along with the joint counterterrorism team, arrested a 21-year-old male following a counterterrorism investigation. It is alleged in relation to that individual that he was undertaking acts in preparation for a terrorist act in addition to other offences. This is one of many investigations, tragically, that are underway, led by the joint counterterrorism team. I praise the New South Wales police and all of those who were involved in that team that works every hour of the day to keep Australians safe. There is much of their work that will never be disclosed to the Australian public, but I can assure you, out of the briefings that I receive, we are absolutely supported by the best people in the world. Their training and expertise is something that all Australians should be very proud of. As we know, in this investigation, as I'm advised by the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, the investigators did utilise the new assistance and access legislation and it was a very important part of the investigative technique in relation to this matter.

I note, frankly, with sadness, that Senator Keneally in the Senate is trying to introduce a bill to water down that act, which is quite remarkable. It's a political stunt, similar to those we've seen her involved in before. No wonder the former leader of the Labor Party was trying to dispatch her to foreign shores! But I can tell you that the Labor Party will seek to do damage if they get that bill through the parliament— (Time expired)