ALP Supports Military Commitment To Iraq, Greens Opposed

The Labor Opposition has given its support to the government’s commitment of RAAF aircraft and military personnel to the fight against ISIL in Iraq, whilst the Greens have opposed it.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described ISIL as a “barbaric organisation” and said: “Labor supports today’s announcement of the deployment of an Australian military force – including RAAF assets and personnel – to the United Arab Emirates.”

Shorten said the ALP didn’t do so lightly: “But we support the Government’s decision that Australia has a role to play in eradicating this evil and we are reassured that our support is being provided at the request of, and in full coordination with, the Iraqi Government.”

Milne

In Hobart, Greens leader Senator Christine Milne criticised the commitment, describing it as open-ended and lacking a plan for engagement.

Milne said there was no indication of the duration of the mission or the criteria for its success: “How long? How many people? What measure of success? Nobody knows.” [Read more...]


Combat Aircraft To Join Coalition Against ISIL; Advisers But No Combat Troops; Australia Responds To US Request

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that Australian combat aircraft will join the international coalition against ISIL in Iraq.

Abbott

Abbott said up to eight RAAF F/A18 aircraft, an E-7A Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft, and a KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker and Transport aircraft will be deployed to the United Arab Emirates.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will also prepare a Special Operations Task Group to act as military advisers to assist Iraq. ADF personnel will also be placed in the United States Headquarters for coordination, planning and logistics purposes.

Whilst around 600 Australian personnel will be sent to the Middle East, combat troops will not be deployed. [Read more...]


Abbott: Keeping Our Country As Safe As Possible

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has focussed on national security and terrorism in his weekly video message.

  • Watch Abbott (3m)

Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s weekly video message.

Recent events in the Middle East have reminded Australians that we live in an uncertain world.

The Government has been working to keep our country as safe as possible – because your security is our first priority.

Yesterday, on advice from experts in our security and intelligence agencies, the National Terrorism Public Alert was raised from medium to high. [Read more...]


Terror Alert Raised To High; Abbott Says No Imminent Threats But People With Intent And Capability Are Here

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that the government has raised the terrorism alert level from ‘medium’ to ‘high’.

Abbott

Abbott said there are no imminent threats but that “there are people with the intent and capability to mount attacks here in Australia”.

Speaking at a press conference with the Director-General of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), David Irvine, and the Acting Commissioner of the Australian Federal Policy (AFP), Andrew Colvin, Abbott said members of the public should not notice anything in their daily lives but that security would be stepped up at government buildings, defence facilities and major public events. [Read more...]


Terrorism Threats: ASIO Director-General David Irvine Addresses National Press Club

The Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, David Irvine, has addressed the National Press Club on the threats posed by espionage and terrorism.

Irvine

Irvine maintained that the threats to Australia are real, but manageable with vigilance and updated intelligence capabilities. He defended the need for a security service, “governed by law with appropriate safeguards”, and argued against any revamping of the existing regime of checks and balances on ASIO.

He said 15 Australians are believed to have died fighting in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Around 100 people are believed to be involved in supporting terrorist activity in Australia.

Irvine stressed “that the tiny number of violent extremists, who nevertheless can make a rather big bang, does not represent the Islamic communities of Australia… We’re talking about a few hundred aberrant souls in the community of half a million Muslims and it is grossly unfair to blame Australian Muslims who see themselves as a committed component of Australia’s multicultural society.” [Read more...]