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Can I begin by acknowledging my Parliamentary colleagues Michael Keenan, the Minister for
Justice who shares the Attorney-eneral!s "ortfolio with me# $enator Concetta %ierra&anti-'ells,
the Parliamentary $ecretary for Multicultural Affairs who has accom"anied me to many
community forums, "articularly with members of Australia!s Muslim community in recent weeks
to discuss the to"ics which I will address today# can I also acknowledge the newly a""ointed
(irector-eneral of $ecurity, (uncan )ewis, and the e&en more newly a""ointed, indeed his
a""ointment was only announced about an hour ago, Commissioner of the Australian %ederal
Police, Andrew Col&in*# other distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen+
(uring the ,-./ %ederal election, the sub0ect of terrorism barely arose+ It was mentioned in
neither of the leaders! "olicy s"eeches+ 1he focus of the election was largely u"on the key
themes of 1ony Abbott!s cam"aign2 re"ealing the carbon ta3, sto""ing the boats, reducing the
debt and building the infrastructure of the ,.
)ittle more than a year later, the issue of national security and, more "articularly, the 4uestion
of how to kee" our country safe from the real and immediate threat of terrorism - dominates the
news+ 1he fact that the "olitics of ,-.5 are almost unrecognisably different from the "olitics of
only a year ago is a te3tbook e3am"le of the &elocity, and un"redictability, of "olitical e&ents+
'hoe&er would ha&e thought that, through most of the winter of ,-.5, Australia would be
transfi3ed by the sickening slaughter of /6 of our countrymen by a "remeditated act of barbarism
in the skies o&er 7kraine8 'ho would ha&e imagined that we would be o"ening our news"a"ers
to the confronting sight of "i3ilated images of an Aussie child gras"ing a se&ered head8
'hat the e&ents of recent months ha&e demonstrated, beyond the ca"acity of all but the most
wilfully ignorant to see it, is that today, we li&e in a world more dangerous than we imagined
e&en a year ago, and that that danger affects our own country, 0ust as it affects other 'estern
nations+ 1he idea that these "roblems e3ist on the other side of the world, and that we
Australians can ignore them by sheltering comfortably in our own se4uestered corner of the
globe, is a fool!s delusion+ In an age of networked terrorism, when terrorist grou"s o"erate
without regard to national boundaries and ha&e a foot"rint in most continents, including our own,
the e&ents which are today taking "lace in northern Ira4 and $yria ha&e an immediate and direct
im"act u"on the security of our own homeland+
1he Abbott o&ernment is determined to deal with the threat of domestic terrorism resolutely
and unrelentingly+ 9ur decisions will be based on our understanding that the "aramount duty of
any go&ernment is to kee" our "eo"le safe+ 1here is no higher "riority than that# it is what the
Australian "eo"le e3"ect of us and it is what we are determined to do
1o begin with, we must ne&er underestimate the "roblem+ Although the "articular e&ents of ,-.5
were une3"ected by many and in some res"ects im"ossible to "redict, the likelihood that terror
would continue to be the "rinci"al menace to us, was not+ 'hen the illard o&ernment
declared in its January ,-./ :ational $ecurity $trategy that the ;<.. decade was o&er, and sought
to rebalance the em"hasis of our national security "olicy away from terrorism, the Coalition
immediately dissented+ 1ony Abbott said at the time2
=In the end, the most im"ortant security threats we face are Islamist terrorism and an
unstable world+>
In an inter&iew with Paul Maley on ,5 June last year, Michael Keenan and I e3"ressed similar
sentiments2 we said that it was a =serious "olicy mistake> for the illard go&ernment to
conclude that, a decade after ;<.., terrorism should no longer be regarded as the "rinci"al threat
to our national security+ 1ragically, the e&ents of the "ast year ha&e &alidated the then
9""osition!s criticism of the former o&ernment!s o&erly o"timistic assessment of the terrorist
Just as we must ne&er underestimate the "roblem, nor should we misdiagnose it+ 1he threat to
Australia!s domestic security arising from e&ents in the Middle ?ast, and in "articular from the
sudden rise of I$I), comes "rinci"ally from a small number of "eo"le among us who try to
0ustify criminal acts by "er&erting the meaning of Islam+ Crime mas4uerading as religious
dogmatism is still crime, and a fanatic who slaughters the innocent is a murderer, howe&er much
he might try to e3"lain his crime in religious terms+ Peo"le like that ha&e nothing to do with the
Islamic faith which they falsely in&oke to 0ustify their wicked deeds+ As the rand Mufti of
Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, said on .@ $e"tember, their conduct is a betrayal of the
Islamic faith2
=1hese criminals are committing crimes against humanity and sins against od+>
1here could be no greater error than for Australians to demonise our Islamic fellow citiAens a
community of some @--,--- - because of the criminal elements who li&e among them and "rey
u"on them+ Indeed, there is no grou" within Australia more ob&iously threatened by these
"redators than law-abiding, "eace-lo&ing, "atriotic Muslims+ As I ha&e said many times, at the
many meetings which $enator %ierra&anti-'ells and I ha&e held with the Muslim community,
the leaders of that community are our "artners and key allies in eradicating the "roblem of those
who would lure their young men and women along a "ath to &iolence and, ultimately, self-
In facing the menace of terrorism, we should su""ort and ha&e confidence in our institutions+
1he %ederal and state "olice forces, the national security agencies, and the structures of
go&ernance which su""ort them, ha&e done a su"erb 0ob in kee"ing us safe and "rotection our
national interests+ In doing so, they ha&e demonstrated that our confidence in them is well-
"laced+ 1he skill and "rofessionalism of those men and women ha&e been clear for all to see in
recent months2
In July, in the course of barely a week, we de"loyed a large contingent of A%P officers
into the middle of a ci&il war Aone in eastern 7kraine, to a country where Australia had
no local di"lomatic "resence and few established links, in order to search for and reco&er
the remains of the Australians lost aboard MB.C+ 1hat contingent was su""orted by an
A(% force "rotection element+ 1ony Abbott led the world in that res"onse, the :ational
$ecurity Committee of Cabinet o&ersaw it, and the "ersonnel on the ground deli&ered it
in an o"eration notable for its skill and "rofessionalism+
9n 1hursday of the week before last in $ydney, and the week before that in Drisbane, the
Australian %ederal Police, in close co-o"eration with the state "olice forces and acting in
co-o"eration with, and on the basis of intelligence "ro&ided by A$I9, disru"ted networks
in those two cities, and interdicted imminent random attacks on innocent citiAens+ In the
case of the $ydney o"eration 9"eration A""leby that large task force was stood u"
and "ut into the field within /E hours of recei"t of actionable intelligence+
'e ha&e recently seen the leadershi" of both A$I9 and the Australian %ederal Police
transition seamlessly, at a time of acute national security concern, without the slightest
disru"tion to the work of those agencies+ As you know, a fortnight ago, (uncan )ewis
re"laced (a&id Ir&ine as the (irector-eneral of A$I9+ ?arlier this morning the Prime
Minister announced that Cabinet had decided to recommend to his ?3cellency the
o&ernor-eneral the a""ointment of Andrew Col&in as the new Commissioner of the
Australian %ederal Police+ As you also know, Commissioner-designate Col&in has been
acting Commissioner for the "ast few weeks+ Be was "re&iously the (e"uty
Commissioner with res"onsibility for counter-terrorism+ As well, a new $ecretary of the
Attorney-eneral!s (e"artment, Chris Moraitis, has 0ust been a""ointed+ I am delighted
that all three of them 0oin me here today+ 1heir "resence is emblematic of the close and
effecti&e co-o"eration between the agencies they lead+
Australians know that the A%P, A$I9 and the other intelligence agencies do not o&er-reach, that
they e3ercise their "owers 0udiciously but effecti&ely, and that they are fully accountable to the
"ublic through the architecture of e3ecuti&e and Parliamentary o&ersight+
In res"onding to the challenging new security en&ironment, we must not im"eril our own way of
life+ As the Prime Minister, the (irector-eneral, the Commissioner and I ha&e re"eatedly said,
one of the best ways to defeat the terrorists is to carry on with our own daily li&es &igilant, to
be sure, but unafraid+ 'hen we announced three weeks ago that A$I9 had raised the national
threat le&el from =Medium> to =high>, the then Acting Commissioner Col&in stressed that the
threat le&el ser&es two "ur"oses+ 1he first is to make the "ublic aware as they are entitled to be
aware of the agencies! best "rofessional 0udgment+ 1hese are, of course, the "rofessional
0udgments of national security s"ecialists, in which "oliticians do not, and should not, ha&e any
in&ol&ement+ Dut the second "ur"ose 0ust as im"ortant is to reassure2 to reassure the "ublic
that the agencies are alert to the threat, and ha&e the skill and ca"abilities to deal with it+
9ne of the ways in which go&ernment can ensure that the agencies are best e4ui""ed to deal with
the terrorist threat, is by gi&ing them the resources that they need+ 9n @ August, the Prime
Minister, the %oreign Minister and I announced that the o&ernment had decided to in&est an
additional FE/- million into the national security agencies o&er the ne3t four years+
1oday, I am announcing that from within this new funding the go&ernment will be "ro&iding
A$I9 with an additional F.;E+6 million+ 1his funding will be used to increase the number of
intelligence officers, analysts and technical s"ecialists in order to strengthen A$I9!s human
intelligence collection, technical collection, sur&eillance, in&estigation and assessment
ca"abilities+ It will also allow A$I9 to increase its liaison with counter"art security agencies
A$I9 makes a &ital contribution to Australia!s counter-terrorism effort, as we ha&e seen from
recent counter-terror o"erations+ 1his additional funding will better "osition A$I9 to "ro&ide an
intelligence edge in the fight against terrorism and those who seek to do us harm+
1he other way in which go&ernment can ensure that the intelligence agencies and the "olice are
e4ui""ed to deal with the terrorist threat is to gi&e them the "owers they need+ As you know, we
are at the moment in the course of the biggest legislati&e o&erhaul of our national security laws
in a generation+ About half an hour ago, the Bouse of Ge"resentati&es "assed the National
Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1). 1his is an historic reform2 the most com"rehensi&e
rewrite of the "owers of A$I9 since the current Act the ASIO Act of .;C; was "assed
following the findings of the Bo"e Goyal Commission+ It also contains "ro&isions reforming the
"owers of the other national security agencies as well+
As you know, the "ro&isions of the NSLAB Bill gi&e effect to unanimous recommendations of the
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and $ecurity, which conducted a long in4uiry
during the 5/
Parliament following a reference from Attorney-eneral Go3on+ I want to single
out for "articular "raise and thanks Anthony Dyrne, who chaired that in4uiry with great skill and
"ersistence+ 1hose recommendations were enhanced by a re&iew of the legislation undertaken
by the current PJCI$ under the chairmanshi" of (an 1ehan+ It has been claimed, with 4uite
stunning inaccuracy, that this legislation was =rushed> through the Parliament+ %ar from being
rushed, it is the culmination of work which was initiated in May ,-.,, which was the sub0ect of
two PJCI$ in4uiries, the first of which conducted no fewer than nine days of hearings and
considered ,5- written submissions+ It was the sub0ect of a long committee stage debate in the
$enate last week, "ro&ision for which had been made by the e3tension of hours last 1hursday
1he National Security Legislation Amendment Bill is the first of three tranches of legislation
which the Prime Minister and I announced on @ August+ 1he second, the Counter-Terrorism
Legislation Amendment (Foreign Figters) Bill, was introduced into the $enate last week and has
been referred to the intelligence committee for in4uiry and re"ort by %riday .C 9ctober+ It is the
o&ernment!s intention to deal with the Dill in the 9ctober sitting fortnight+
7nlike the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill! which deals with agency "owers and
which is concerned with the totality of the intelligence agencies! o"erations, the Foreign
Figters Bill, as its name suggests, is designed, in "articular, to deal with the threat to our
security "osed by the "artici"ation by Australians in the conflict in the Middle ?ast who then
return to our shores+
As our earlier e3"erience of the conflict in Afghanistan shows us, there is a high correlation
between returning foreign fighters and domestic terrorism+ More often than not, "eo"le who
return from fighting foreign wars in the name of Islamist terrorist grou"s come back to Australia
reinforced in their ideological commitment to the destruction of our liberal-democratic &alues,
our secular "olitical institutions, and our "luralist, tolerant way of life+ 1hey are ruthless in their
methods and, in many cases, well-trained in the tradecraft of terrorism+ 1he threat which such
"eo"le "ose to our national security and the safety of our "eo"le must not be underestimated
nor should the sa&agery with which they are willing to "rosecute their cause+ 1hat is not 0ust
the &iew of the Australian o&ernment2 it is, as the %oreign Minister has "ointed out as recently
as yesterday, a &iew shared by the go&ernments of our allies and "artners as well+
Although the Foreign Figters Bill is designed in "articular to deal with that menace, it also
contains measures of more general a""lication+ In "articular, a new offence of ad&ocacy of
terrorism is being introduced, to address a ga" in the e3isting law+
1he third tranche of legislation, which will create a scheme of mandatory data retention, is in
de&elo"ment at the moment+ 1he details of that scheme are the sub0ect of discussion between the
Attorney-eneral!s (e"artment, A$I9, and telecommunications "ro&iders+ It is the intention of
the o&ernment to introduce that legislation before the end of this year+
In crafting an a""ro"riate legislati&e res"onse to the current threat, I ha&e taken great care to
ensure that the measures we are introducing are a measured and "ro"ortionate res"onse+ 1he
community e3"ects the go&ernment to do what is necessary to "rotect the safety of the "ublic+ It
also e3"ects us not to o&er-reach+ 'e ha&e been careful not to do so+
As a lawyer, I ha&e a bred-in-the-bone res"ect for due "rocess and the rule of law+ As a liberal, I
ha&e an instincti&e reluctance to e3"anding the "ower of the state or diminishing the freedom of
the indi&idual+ Dut as the Minister within the go&ernment with res"onsibility for "rotecting our
national security, I am determined to do what the community e3"ects to "rotect it from a real and
"resent threat+ I belie&e that the legislation which we ha&e introduced, and that which is in
"re"aration, does ser&e that end without com"romising the rule of law and without unreasonably
or unnecessarily abridging "ersonal freedom+
In A"ril this year, I went to the 7nited $tates and the 7nited Kingdom to meet with the national
security agencies of those countries and to learn from their e3"erience+ 'hile in 'ashington, I
ga&e an address to the Centre for $trategic and International $tudies, during the course of which
I made the following obser&ation2
=9&er the decade or more since ;<.., some commentators began to suggest that terrorism
no longer "osed as significant a threat to national security as it once did+ 1hat &iew is
sim"listic and frankly wrong+ 'hile there is some e&idence that we are witnessing a shift
in terrorism tactics and techni4ues from large-scale, $e"tember .. style attacks to Hlone-
actor!, smaller-scale, multi-mode attacks, a change in terrorist tactics, if that is what
occurring, is not e4ui&alent to a diminution of the terrorist threat+ As terrorist tactics and
o"erational doctrine e&ol&e, security agencies must de&elo" and maintain effecti&e
ca"abilities in order to mitigate the ongoing threat+>
A great deal has ha""ened in the si3 months since I made that s"eech, but I would not resile from
one word of it+
1he Abbott o&ernment has been strong, resolute and forward-leaning in ensuring Australia has
the "rotection it needs in the face of the threat of modern terrorism+ I am sorry to say that that
threat is likely to be with us for a long time to come+ Dut we are determined to do what we must
to secure our freedoms and to kee" our "eo"le safe+