Prime Minister Tony Abbott is set to announce a new frontbench position to tackle Islamic radicalisation and liaise with Muslim leaders.
The post, to be announced within days, will aim to build better relations with at-risk communities and tackle the appeal of jihadist teaching, The Australian reported.
The move is part of the Federal Government’s billion dollar-plus fight against home-grown terror which will also be bolstered by two counter-terrorism announcements on Monday.
The nation’s first counter-terrorism co-ordinator Greg Moriarty was announced to tackle the “terrorist challenge” and “the alarming trend” of youth radicalisation, and Mr Abbott gave Justice Minister Michael Keenan a new role assisting him on counter-terrorism issues.
“Australia currently faces a very serious terror threat and has faced a serious terror threat for quite some time,” the Prime Minister said on Monday.
“Since the terror level was raised to high in September of last year, we’ve had two terrorist incidents and we’ve had six attacks disrupted. Unfortunately, the numbers of Australians fighting with various terrorist groups in the Middle East is going up all the time — there’s now at least 100.
“So this is a serious threat to our safety as a people and as a nation, and, regrettably, it is getting worse, not better.”
On Tuesday morning Attornery-General George Brandis would not comment on the proposed frontbencher position but said the PM would be making more counter-terrorism announcements this week to tackle this “cultish-behaviour”.
Mr Brandis said the Government’s changes would create the best possible set of arrangements to ensure Australians were protected from threat of domestic terrorism and Islamic terrorism.
“The important thing is … early intervention. We have to stop our youngsters from becoming radicalised,” Mr Brandis told Sky News.
“The worry is of Australians in the Middle East fighting for ISIL (Islamic State) and others reaching back to Australia reaching out to young Australians.
“Fourteen and 15-year-old boys are sold the line that somehow this is an exciting adventure – but it’s not exciting. These people are crazy and a threat to our civilisation.”
The government is also expected to unveil legislation this week giving authorities the power to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals and other Australians who join terrorist groups or advocate for violent extremism.
When questioned whether regular Australians would be affected by these proposed new citizenship laws, Mr Brandis said the Government was “not rendering anyone’s status”.
“We are not doing anything inconsistent with the rule of law, nor will we say a particular model that has worked in the past shouldn’t be looked at again.”
Mr Abbott said on Monday that Australia’s national security architecture must constantly evolve to meet the threat from terrorism, amid growing concerns about the lure of groups such as Islamic State.
The Australian reported that plans for the new frontbench post were only being finalised in cabinet on Monday night.
– with AAP