The recent national security address by the prime minister was confusing, inflammatory and an example of pure “dog whistle” politics.
This is a man who implied every Muslim leader who denounced violence and extremism at the very least, “didn’t mean it” and at the most, that they were liars.
This was divisive, inflammatory and a slap in the face for the many Muslim leaders, advocates and community members who work tirelessly for the benefit of the broader Australian community. It disregarded the contributions Australian Muslims have made and continue to make to our country. It was either said out of pure political incompetence or as part of a strategy to purposely demonise the Australian Muslim community. Both scenarios are unacceptable.
His bumbling references to the introduction of new “welfare” restrictions for foreign fighters completely ignores the foreign fighter laws that were passed last year and which contained detailed restrictions on welfare. This attracted criticism that it violated Australia’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child as it would affect families, including children. It is unclear what further laws will be introduced or when.
It is likely that further to Raqqa which was designated as a “declared area” last year, that Mosul in Iraq will also become a “no go zone”. As the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security debates this decision, it will likely require further clarification for community members.
Disappointingly, although expected, the joint committee on intelligence and security issued their advisory report on the Data Retention Bill with recommendations that will most likely result in the Australian Labor Party supporting the Bill to be made into law.
This Bill will make mass surveillance on every single Australian a reality, regardless of whether you have committed an offence. Your data will likely be stored for at least two years by telecommunication companies. The provisions may be subject to further debate in the Senate.
There is no doubt that the Australian Muslim community, like all Australians, wants Australia to remain free from any form of terrorism. To represent otherwise to deflect attention away from unpopular leadership and unpopular policies is mischievous.