Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Questions without Notice
COVID-19: National Security
My question is to the Prime Minister. Australia is recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and confidence is building, but significant challenges lie ahead of us. Will the Prime Minister please outline to the House how the Morrison government is demonstrating strong and decisive leadership to keep Australians safe by addressing the many threats to our national security so we can look to better days ahead?
I thank the member for Ryan for his question and for his strong leadership in his community, and I'm pleased to see him here back in the House. During our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians have proved their strength. They have proved their strength, and, indeed, our response has had faith in that strength and the resilience of Australians. That has resulted in Australia having one of the lowest fatality rates of COVID-19 of almost any country in the world, saving more than 30,000 lives, at least, in Australia because of our response to COVID. In addition, we've have had one of the strongest economies of advanced nations around the world, pushing through COVID with great strength from the Australian people, particularly small business owners. And we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
Australians have shown their strength during the great threat of this pandemic. But that is not the only threat that Australians have had to continue to face not just during the course of this pandemic but also over many years, and will continue to face in the future. That's why our government has continued to take strong and effective action to counter the threats that Australia faces—importantly, $1.2 billion in the most recent budget to protect women and children from violence, including the minister's announcement today of a family, domestic and sexual violence commissioner, supported by funding; and $300 million to implement our National Suicide Prevention Plan as part of a $2.3 billion program to support mental health in this country. And I pay particular credit not only to the ministers but also to Christine Morgan, who has done an outstanding job on that program.
We've been taking on the social media giants, which I know the member for Ryan has a passionate interest in, as does the Deputy Prime Minister, to ensure that that social media space can be a safe space for children and so they can be protected in that space and it cannot be used as a weapon for terrorists. We took that all the way to the G20.
We're combating terrorism and violent extremism and increasing the powers and resources to our agencies to achieve that. Today we have fully listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, but not only that; we have listed them as a violent right-wing extremist organisation. We have no truck with that sort of business, I can assure you, and no-one in this House should. We're smashing organised crime through programs like Operation Ironside and record investment in defence and AUKUS, working with our partners. Australia cannot afford weakness on national security to keep Australians safe. (Time expired)