Question time - contributions other countries are making to combat ISIL and other terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria

  • Transcript, E&OE

Mr IRONS (Swan) (14:09): Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the contributions other countries are making to combat ISIL and other terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:10): I thank the member for Swan for this very important question. The actions of ISIL, or Daesh as it is also known, are unprecedented in their brutality. It is killing civilians indiscriminately, it is committing atrocities–executions, beheadings, rape, torture–and its unspeakable violence has highlighted the urgent need for a concerted international response. And under the strong leadership of the United States, more than 60 nations have made a contribution to or expressed strong support for international efforts to combat ISIL and other terrorist organisations in Iraq and Syria.

As the Prime Minister has confirmed, Australia has committed to supporting the Iraqi government to defend its own country. And as the Prime Minister of the UAE said yesterday:

Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalised threat requires a globalised response.

The international coalition has conducted almost 300 airstrikes since operations commenced in Iraq in August and in Syria last week. These airstrikes are denying ISIL a safe haven and are degrading its ability to operate with impunity across the region.

And nations are making key contributions. The Arab nations, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain: all participated in the recent airstrikes in Syria. France has taken on a leadership role in conducting airstrikes. The United Kingdom parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of undertaking airstrikes in Iraq. Denmark and Belgium announced they would deploy fighter jets to the region. These military actions have been supplemented by the provision of military equipment and training for the Iraqi security forces. In addition to Australia, Germany has provided weapons and has also deployed 40 paratroopers to Iraq to provide training to the Kurdish forces. Canada has delivered military supplies to Iraq and has deployed its armed forces personnel for the provision of military training. Albania, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands have all contributed further military equipment, recognising the importance of a strong international coalition to address this threat posed by ISIL and other similar organisations.

So the international community is working cooperatively to starve ISIL of funding and weapons and prevent the flow of foreign fighters. Resolute international efforts have been directed at seeking to prevent the unfolding humanitarian disaster. Austria, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have all contributed significant packages of humanitarian assistance–as has Australia. The grave threat posed by ISIL and similar organisations both in the Middle East and beyond means that decisive international action is essential. The international community is uniting to combat the terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria. Australia will play its part.

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