Question Time - National Security

  • Transcript, E&OE

Mr RUDDOCK(Berowra) (14:43): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the outcomes of the anti-Daesh coalition meeting in Paris this week and on the government's contribution to international efforts to combat Daesh in Iraq?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin–Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:44): I thank the member for Berowra for his question, and I note his concern and interest in this very serious matter. The terrorist organisation Daesh represents a global threat and demands a global response to combat it. I return today from the small group meeting in Paris of key countries involved in the 60-member global coalition to combat Daesh, the barbaric terrorists who are causing mayhem in Iraq and Syria and beyond. At the meeting, over 20 foreign ministers and secretaries reaffirmed our strategy to degrade Daesh's capabilities and to disrupt its ability to conduct large-scale terrorist attacks with the aim of eventually destroying Daesh as a terrorist organisation. I had detailed discussions with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Abadi, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and a number of other coalition foreign ministers, and I reaffirmed Australia's commitment to the coalition and our resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms. Australia is making a significant contribution to these international efforts to combat Daesh by supporting the Iraqi government to build the capacity of its security forces. After the United States, Australia is the second largest contributor to the Building Partner Capacity mission in Iraq. Over 400 Australian Defence Force personnel are training the Iraqi security forces, assisting the Iraqi counter-terrorism service and Australian combat aircraft are conducting air operations against Daesh as part of operations to take back territory. Australia is playing its part abroad and at home.

I inform the House that today I have listed Australian national Neil Prakash, who is currently believed to be in Syria, for targeted financial sanctions. Prakash has sought to commission violent terrorist acts, including in Australia, and to recruit others, including young Australian women and girls, to travel to Syria and Iraq to join the Daesh terrorists. Prakash has incited vulnerable young people to commit violent extremist acts, including in Australia. This listing makes it a serious criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment for any person who provides any form of material support to Prakash, directly or indirectly. Currently, 93 persons and entities from Australia and around the world have been listed for financial sanctions. That list includes other Daesh members Mohamed Elomar and Khaled Sharrouf. The Australian government is committed to the international efforts to starve this terrorist organisation Daesh of foreign terrorist fighters from Australia and elsewhere, to starve it of funds and to starve it of resources so that we can combat terrorism and keep our people safe.

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