Interview with Kieran Gilbert – Sky News – Wednesday, 24 May 2017



KIERAN GILBERT: Now with me in the studio is the senior Labor frontbencher, Trade spokesman Jason Clare. What are your thoughts on events in the UK? Obviously just shock around the world at the depravity of such an attack.

CLARE: I think it’s getting harder and harder for us to get our heads around how someone could do something like this, now targeting kids. As a new dad it sort of sends a shiver down my spine as well. How does somebody get to a point in their own life where they’re so poisoned by this sort of evil ideology they’re getting either through the internet or through some other place that they think that it’s a legitimate thing to do to turn up outside a concert and blow kids up? That’s what’s happened.

In our role as politicians we’ve got to make a couple of hard headed assessments. One is that the more successful we are in the Middle East the more chance there is of events like this continuing to happen in the West. The second is that there will be people that will have seen this on television over the course of the last 24 hours that aren’t shocked but think about that as an opportunity as something that they could repeat themselves. The risk of a copycat exercise, whether it’s in the UK or whether it’s in Australia.

The Prime Minister said something this morning which I think is very important which I think needs to be underlined, and that is the importance of intelligence. The information police collect, whether it’s through a phone tap or over the internet or whether it’s information that they get from members of the community. At the end of this that is the core. That is the critical element that helps to keep Australians safe.

GILBERT: Increasingly the terrorists are either, as Professor Barton earlier pointed out, they’re off the grid or as agencies as recently as the Prime Minister in New York was briefed by the FBI and others about how they’re using technologies, encrypted technologies and other apps and so on which makes them almost impossible to detect as well.

CLARE: That’s right. And where you’ve got a lone wolf, somebody who is acting without the support of others they’re potentially not talking on the phone or collecting information online so it becomes even harder to track them because there’s nothing there to collect. But you can still sense the signs and people have mentioned that this bloke looked like something was wrong with him over the last few weeks. Obviously he was preparing for this attack. Likewise, if there are people in Australia who are contemplating doing similar things there will be people around them that will sense a difference and we do need to make sure that we’re encouraging people to, if they identify people that are likely to commit acts like this, tell the police and get in touch with intelligence agencies.

GILBERT: The Prime Minister also mentioned that 12 conspiracies have been foiled since late 2014 early 2015. This is reassuring but the British have also stopped many attacks over the last 12 years. This – the first mass casualty IED type attack we’ve seen since the London Bombings of 10 years ago, 12 years ago now.

CLARE: I think the point here is we can’t be naïve to assume that just because we’ve been successful in the past we’ll continue to be successful. It only takes one lunatic to be able to break through and avoid police detection and to be able to either get behind a steering wheel or to put together a bomb like this bloke did and then you can have mass casualties. So this is hard work. I guess the other point I’d make is it’s not just the job of police and intelligence agencies to help stop this. It requires the help of school teachers, of doctors, of health professionals – most of these people are mentally ill – community leaders, all of us, to keep our eyes out, identify people who may be going off the grid and help to bring it to public attention as quickly as possible.  

GILBERT: And as a member of Parliament that represents a big Islamic part of the community as well, what do you want to see and hope to see from those representatives of that part of the community there?

CLARE: The key to success here is building an integrated society where everyone belongs. So that’s why public education is so important in my neck of the woods. Where kids from different faiths all come together and learn from each other. It’s why English language training is so important for new Australians because if you learn English you’ve got a better chance of getting a job and I’d encourage the Government to think about even more investment in that area as well. And it’s just about trying to make sure you’ve got a society where people don’t feel like they don’t belong. You’ve got to make sure you don’t have an underclass with high levels of unemployment. We do better than most countries in the world when it comes to this but we can always do more.