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Malcolm Turnbull takes tougher line on Australian citizenship to battle extremism

12 June 2017 10:40 PM
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Malcolm Turnbull takes tougher line on Australian citizenship to battle extremism

Turnbull to push parole plan at COAG2:38

PM Malcolm Turnbull says there will be discussions at COAG about parole for people on terror watchlists.

THE most senior terrorist Australia has ever produced is gaining thousands of viewers on YouTube each week with his jihadi Q&A sessions, leading to calls for the internet giant to get tougher on extremists.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will today issue a joint call for digital companies to crackdown on threatening figures who lurk online.

Mostafa Mahamed, also known as al-Qaeda member Abu Sulayman, has appeared on Q&A-style YouTube videos in a month-long series for an English language news site, The Australian reports.

In his most recent video, the 33-year-old terrorist — who grew up in Sydney’s southern suburbs — says the cancellation of his Australian passport was part of the reason he joined the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda.

“It wasn’t possible just to pick up and leave,” Mahamed says in the video.

He then goes on to say he was given an opportunity to perform an obligation he believes is “extremely important to realise for every Muslim” by the “head honchos” of the Syrian branch, who assured him they did not kill innocent civilians.

As part of an update to parliament on the a national security risks facing Australia, Mr Turnbull will outline the need to do more to crackdown on terrorists in “ungoverned digital spaces”.

Mr Turnbull will also tell parliament Australia is not immune from the global impact of the conflicts in the Middle East and instability around the world.

“But we should also be reassured — our law-enforcement agencies, intelligence services and Australian Defence Force are among the best in the world,” he will say.

“We lead our Australian way of life on our terms. We will not buckle or be cowed by this scourge of Islamist terrorism.”

The Prime Minister will announce that the Attorney-General, George Brandis, will work with his counterparts in the Five Eyes intelligence network on a way to tackle the issue of terror in digital spaces.

Meanwhile, Mr Shorten will call for Facebook and Twitter, as well as the developers of encrypted communications apps, to do more in the counter-terrorism space.

“Facebook has created new dedicated teams and employed thousands of people specifically to monitor its Facebook Live stream and remove offensive content,” he will say.

He will also call for better co-operation between the federal and state governments to protect communities and detect and prevent terrorist attacks.

“Terrorism has no respect for human life and no regard for our laws — this is not the time for circular arguments about jurisdiction or terminology,” he will say.

In his speech today, Mr Turnbull will also urge Labor to pass laws to change visa and citizenship requirements.

“There is no more important title in our democracy than ‘Australian citizen,” he will say.

“And we should make no apology for asking those who seek to join our Australian family to join us as Australian patriots — committed to the values that define us, committed to the values that unite us.”

Borrowing a line from John Howard, Mr Turnbull will say: “Our success as a multicultural society is built on strong foundations which include the confidence of the Australian people that their government, and it alone, determines who comes to Australia.”


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