Abbott Says Federal Police Now Handling External And Internal Security At Parliament House

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that the Australian Federal Police have taken over responsibility for the external and internal security at Parliament House.

Abbott reiterated his previous remarks on terrorism but little information on yesterday’s terrorism raids and arrests was forthcoming at his joint press conference today.

Abbott

Abbott was accompanied by the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, Acting Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Andrew Colvin, and NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione. They refused to say how many people were still under arrest and would not comment on whether any of those detained were involved in plans to attack Parliament House. [Read more…]


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…]


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.

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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…]


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…]


Ministerial Statement On Iraq: Abbott And Shorten Unite In House

The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, has made a Ministerial Statement on Iraq in the House of Representatives.

Describing the ISIL movement as a “death cult”, Abbott said “Australian aircraft have participated in humanitarian airdrops to people trapped on Mount Sinjar and, just yesterday, to the besieged inhabitants of the town of Amerli”.

He said in coming days Australian aircraft will take part in an airlift of supplies to the Kurdish government in Erbil.

Abbott said: “So far, we have met requests for humanitarian relief and for logistical support. So far, there has been no request for military action itself.”

The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, responded to Abbott’s statement, and offered the Opposition’s support to the government’s position.

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Transcript of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Ministerial Statement on Iraq.

Many Australians are understandably apprehensive about the risk of becoming involved in another long and costly conflict in the Middle East. [Read more…]


Federal Government Expands Sanctions Against Russia Over Ukraine Violations

The Abbott government has expanded sanctions against Russia over its violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

The new sanctions include restrictions on arms exports and goods and services used in oil exploration or production. They include restrictions on the access of Russian state-owned banks to Australian capital markets and on Australian investment in Crimea.

Statement released by Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Expanded Sanctions Against Russia

The Government is deeply concerned by escalating events in Ukraine.

Russia has been engaged in a campaign to destabilise Ukraine for months. As a consequence, 38 people who called Australia home were brutally murdered, along with many others, when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down from territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels with a Russian-supplied missile. [Read more…]


Abbott Announces Assistance For Military Airlift To Kurds; No Request Yet For Further Action

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced that Australia will join an airlift of military equipment to the Kurds in northern Iraq.

PM Tony Abbott and CDF Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin at their joint press conference today

Speaking at a joint press conference with the Chief of Defence, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Abbott said the government had agreed to a request from the Obama Administration. The US, UK, Canada, France and Italy will also be involved in the airlift.

Abbott said “no specific request” has been received from the Obama Administration for “stepped up military activity”. He said that “just because we would prefer to stand aside from these conflicts doesn’t mean that these conflicts will stand aside from us”. Any request would be considered according to a range of criteria, including whether there is an achievable overall objective and a clear role for Australian forces.

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Transcript of joint press conference with the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin.

Abbott

PRIME MINISTER: Well thanks everyone for coming. As you know over recent weeks and months we’ve seen a series of developments in Iraq and elsewhere but particularly in Iraq which constitute not only a humanitarian catastrophe but a security nightmare for the people of the region and for the wider world. We’ve seen beheadings, crucifixions, mass executions, we’ve seen minority groups, subject in President Obama’s words to potential genocide. The situation remains severe and it will remain severe as long as the ISIL movement retains control over large swathes of northern and western Iraq and parts of eastern Syria. [Read more…]


Rebuilding Australia: Warren Truss Addresses Nationals Federal Council

The Leader of The Nationals, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, has addressed the party’s Federal Council meeting in Canberra today.

Abbott-Truss

Truss said The Nationals had made the “strongest contribution to the election of a Coalition Government in some three decades”, with a party room that now numbered 21.

He told the Council: “We did not create the economic mess that besets our country, but we were elected to fix it. And, under Tony Abbott’s leadership, the Coalition has set about the task with determination and commitment.”

Truss said the government had “effectively stopped the boats” and ended the “ridiculous carbon tax”. He outlined a series of roads and other funding measures the government has undertaken in rural and regional areas.

Truss was introduced by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who said the government was “getting the fundamentals right”. Abbott said Truss was at “the heart of this government”. He described the Rudd-Gillard government as years “for the locusts to eat”.

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Transcript of Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss’s Address to The Nationals Federal Council meeting in Canberra.

To my friend and the Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott welcome.

Doug Anthony, Peter Nixon, Nationals President Christine Ferguson, Ministers, parliamentary colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Well, it is now almost exactly 15 months since our last Federal Conference – and what an extraordinary year – and a quarter – it has been. [Read more…]