Constituent Statement – Anti-terror Raids

This is my first opportunity in the Parliament to speak about the events of last week.

Much of which was focused in my electorate – a number of the raids and arrests took place there.

I want to put on record my thanks to the Australian Federal Police, the NSW Police and the other national security agencies involved.

I have been privileged to work closely with most of them over the last few years as a Minister, and I know that the work they do is not only very important but very difficult.

The work they do is critical in keeping our community safe.

The alleged plot they thwarted is terrifying. It’s intended to be.

If proved true, it shows that what is happening on the other side of the world, the mess in Mesopotamia, can poison the minds of people with enough hate to do the most evil things here in Australia.

I represent an electorate with a many Muslim Australians. The overwhelming majority are good honest hard working people. As horrified by this as every other Australian.

Dr Jamal Rifi, a great mate of mine, wrote in the Daily Telegraph on Friday that there is a great sense of relief in the Muslim community that this alleged plot was nipped in the bud.

But there is also a feeling of isolation.

People are angry that their religion has been hijacked by extremists.

They are also frustrated that they constantly have to prove that they are Australian.

And they are worried that they are going to be targeted because of the actions of a few.

This is a real risk. I see it happening already.

A friend of mine Amer has a young son. He is 11 years old.

In the last few years his biggest issue has been deciding whether he is going to cheer on the Eels or support the Bulldogs. On Friday he came home from school and asked his dad “Why does every body hate us?”.

This worries me a lot. It’s exactly what organisations like ISIS want. They prey on people feeling isolated. They pray on people feeling they don’t belong.

Because if people feel like they don’t belong then they are going to be more susceptible to the type hateful poisonous messages being preached by ISIS.

Tackling this problem requires more than just laws and more than just the good work of our law enforcement agencies.

It also requires more than just the help of community and religious leaders, and parents and teachers, health professionals and youth workers.

It requires the help of every Australian – to make sure we are everything that organisations like ISIS despise. That we are a free and tolerant people and that we live in a country where everyone feels like they belong.