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Strip away false glamour from extremist ideology – Abbott

Tony-AbbottBy Prime Minister Tony Abbott

This week, the murderous rage in the Middle East threatened to erupt in the heart of Australia.

ISIL reaches out with deadly purpose from Iraq and Syria to the other states of the Middle East. And it reaches out to us as well. On Tuesday, our intelligence services intercepted a senior ISIL operative instructing his Sydney network to commit demonstration killings.

The intent was to murder innocent people and then broadcast these atrocities to the world. The sole purpose was to strike fear into the hearts of Australians.

It is difficult to comprehend that around 60 Australians are currently fighting with terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, with at least 100 assisting and financing their evil work.

Still that’s the reality of the terror threat that Australia’s faces. I can assure you that your government will do whatever is humanly possible to keep our country safe.

Australians who join terrorist groups abroad are committing a serious crime. If they return, they will be arrested, prosecuted and gaoled.

Every country has a responsibility for the behaviour of its citizens and for the safety of the wider world.

Australia is doing its part.

The Government is committing an additional $630 million over four years for counter-terrorism measures.

More resources are going to the Australian Federal Police, to the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, the Office of National Assessments and the Customs and Border Protection Service.

Biometric screening is being installed at all our international airports and border force counter terrorism units will soon operate at all international airports.

New national security laws will strengthen our ability to monitor returning foreign fighters and prevent extremists from departing Australia.

Community outreach is also critically important. We know those fighting for ISIL and other terrorist groups are men in their early 20s or younger.

We have to make it clear that travelling abroad to join ISIL is not just another youthful adventure. It’s a crime with serious consequences.

And we also have to strip away the false glamour that can attract young men to this extreme ideology by showing the truth of what it offers, which is nothing more than destruction and despair.

Disrupting, degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL will take comprehensive and sustained effort—from the United States and its allies. 

These are troubling times. While it is important the public is aware of the increased threat, Australians should continue to go about their lives.

Our police and security services are highly professional and determined to stay at least one step ahead of those who would do us harm.

By working together in our communities, with our friends and neighbours in the region, and with our partners in the international coalition, I believe we will prevail.

Tony Abbott

Prime Minister