Islamic State Beheadings Plot Alleged Following Terrorist Raid Arrests In Sydney And Brisbane

Federal Police raids this morning have resulted in a 22-year old man, Omarjan Azari, appearing in a Sydney court charged with planning a terrorist act designed to “shock, horrify and terrify”.

Azari is accused of conspiring with Mohammad Baryalei, the man described as a “top terrorist recruiter” in Australia. The arrest is one of about 15 resulting from raids across western Sydney and Brisbane. The raids, involving 800 police and described as the largest in Australian history, took place as a result of information gleaned from an intercepted telephone conversation in recent days.

Media reports say the arrests related to a plot to capture and behead a random member of the public. Reports say the plan involved filming the beheading as a propaganda tool for the Islamic State movement (also known as ISIL or IS) in Iraq. The basis and veracity of these claims is uncertain. The Australian Federal Police have been guarded in their comments on the raids. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “This is not just suspicion, this is intent.”

Political leaders were quick to respond to the raids during the day.

Newman

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman held a press conference with Police Commissioner Ian Stewart. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten commented on the raids, as did the ALP’s Immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. [Read more...]


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...]


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...]


Jingoistic, Xenophobic, Protectionist: Bill Shorten’s March To The Fringe In Speech To Submarine Workers

Disregarding the ALP’s role in developing a modern and open trading economy, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has taken the low road of jingoism and protection in a speech to submarine workers in Adelaide.

Shorten

Shorten spoke to workers in Adelaide, following reports that the National Security Committee of Cabinet is set to replace the Collins class submarine fleet with a new “off-the-shelf” Japanese vessel. He accused the government of lying to workers.

Rather than simply support local submarine building, Shorten told a rally of Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) members at the gates of the Australian Submarine Corporation: “Under Labor, we will build ships and submarines in Australia because we love this country.” [Read more...]


Abbott Government’s First Year Anniversary

Today is the first anniversary of the election the Liberal-Nationals Coalition government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Abbott

At the elections on September 7, 2013, the coalition parties defeated Kevin Rudd’s ALP government, winning 90 seats out of 150 (60%) in the House of Representatives. From a primary vote of 45.55%, the Coalition polled 53.49% of the two-party-preferred vote.

One year on, the government has fulfilled two of its key election promises: abolition of the carbon tax and abolition of the mining tax. The government’s promise to “stop the boats” is generally considered to have been fulfilled, although criticism of the off-shore processing regime is still apparent. The government points to infrastructure spending to claim it is also fulfilling Abbott’s promise to “build the roads of the 21st century“. [Read more...]