News National PM to outline approach on IS

PM to outline approach on IS

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a national security statement on Tuesday, outlining his approach to groups like Islamic State (IS).

It is expected to contrast with ex-Tony Abbott’s statement in February, which he delivered at the Federal Police headquarters flanked by six flags.

“In proclaiming this caliphate, the Islamist death cult has declared war on the world,” Mr Abbott said.

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Mr Turnbull’s version is likely to reflect a speech he gave in July that warned terrorism should not be under-estimated but the threat from IS should not be over-played.

“We need to be very careful we don’t get sucked into their strategy and ourselves become amplifiers of their wickedness and significance,” he said in a speech to the Sydney Institute.

Mr Abbott’s February statement included plans to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they are fighting with terrorists.

That bill is now in the House of Representatives and will pass with Labor’s support.

Concerns over new laws to strip citizenship from terror suspects

Although, some in the Opposition hold strong concerns, including backbencher Melissa Parke.

“I believe the bill is still likely to be judged unconstitutional. In my view, the bill remains contrary to the rule of law and the principles of natural justice and as such should not be passed by Parliament,” Ms Parke said.

Labor frontbencher Stephen Jones expressed a reservation that there is no judicial review of the citizenship stripping.

tony abbott
Mr Abbott recently called for Aussie troops to be deployed on the ground in Syria.

“I have some concerns about these provisions in the bill. I would not be at all surprised if they were subject to a constitutional challenge and if that constitutional challenge was successful,” he told Parliament.

The government cites advice from the Solicitor-General that the bill is constitutional, but it has refused requests from Labor and from Parliament’s Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to provide that advice.

While Labor is backing the bill despite its reservations, Greens MP Adam Bandt will not support it, nor will independent Cathy McGowan.

“My opposition to the bill is not directed at the intent or purpose of the bill,” Ms McGowan said.

“It is focused very clearly at the inclusion of a retrospective provision and, under the cloud of uncertainty, on the constitutional viability of this bill.

“I know that the bill has been amended following recommendations from the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, and there have been a raft of necessary amendments.

“But it appears that, even after the amendments have been made, the bill may be constitutionally vulnerable, and if this bill is so very important and critical to the health, safety and welfare of all Australians in the face terrorism, it should be invincible.”

‘Happy to see individuals with sole Australian citizenship stripped’

But debate rages about the measure, with some in the Coalition like Liberal backbencher Tony Pasin saying he would back the removal of citizenship from people who are not dual nationals.

“Of course, we are speaking here of the automatic loss of citizenship for those who hold dual citizenship,” Mr Pasin told Parliament.

Attorney-General George Brandis has long been pushing for stronger surveillance laws. Photo: AAP

“As for me, I would be happy to see individuals with sole Australian citizenship stripped of that standing if they were to take up arms and fight for a foreign non-power such as Daesh or the Islamic State but, of course, our international conventions prevent us from doing that.”

Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland is critical of the broader process, telling Parliament the government has also failed to produce a final report on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship that it promised earlier this year.

“The government launched a discussion paper entitled Australian citizenship, your right, your responsibility and held a number of public meetings,” Ms Rowland said.

“This process was led by the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and then Parliamentary Secretary to the Social Services Minister and the Attorney-General, Senator Fierravanti-Wells, as well as the member for Berowra, who was appointed the special envoy for citizenship.

“From day one this process has been plagued by inconsistency and inadequacy. Most notably, we are still waiting on the outcome of this process, despite the fact that this bill is now being debated,” she said.


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