AUSTRALIA is part of an international community and has an obligation to make a stand against genocide, sexual slavery and torture in Iraq and Syria, says Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch.
Speaking in Parliament today on the National Security Statement, Mr Entsch expressed his strong support for Australia’s action to help combat the “desperate circumstances” in Iraq and Syria.
“This is a humanitarian endeavour, it is certainly not an act of war,” Mr Entsch said.
“We have an obligation, especially when we see the significant number of individuals from Australia fighting in this conflict (and) returning to Australia, bringing their hatred and violence with them.
“As a community, we have to stand up and say that this is absolutely unacceptable.”
The raids in in major cities over the last two weeks have highlighted the threat of violence against Australians on home soil. However, Mr Entsch cautioned that those who are motivated to commit these acts of violence are a very tiny minority of the Muslim community.
“We cannot fall into the trap of viewing all those in this community with suspicion – fuelling discrimination, hatred and more violence,” he commented. “As a community, as a country, we are far better than that.”
Mr Entsch condemned the acts of vandalism and graffiti that have taken place in the far north, which illustrate “intolerance and ignorance”.
He cited the multicultural strength of centres like Cairns and Mareeba, where families of the Muslim faith have made a “major contribution” to industries and the community.
“These incidents of vandalism certainly do not reflect the attitude of the wider community and again I urge tolerance.”
Mr Entsch outlined the three key messages from the Federal Government; firstly, the government will do whatever it can to keep people safe; secondly, our security measures at home and abroad are directed against terrorism, not religion, nor any particular sector of the community; and thirdly, Australians can and should always live normally.
“The core definition of terrorism is the state of fear and submission produced by acts of terrorism or terrorisation. The best way to counter fear and submission is to continue to go about our normal everyday activities while being alert, but certainly not alarmed.”
The Australian government has committed an extra $630 million to the security effort, and will also recruit additional personnel, introduce biometric screening to our international airports within 12 months and put more people on the ground at airports.
A review of national security apparatus is also underway, and counterterrorism legislation is systematically being updated.
“Our security measures at home and abroad are directed against terrorism-not religion and not any sector of the community,” Mr Entsch said. “It is not about what people wear; it is about fighting crime.”