Abbott’s response to the Paris killings is much better than those by other world leaders, including Obama. Abbott identifies the origin as coming from the IS death cult that has “declared war on the world”. The others are seemingly afraid to make any substantive link with the Muslim religion and the support (indeed encouragement) it provides to some believers that jihadist activity is justified even necessary. But the question that arises is what response does the government have?
It surely cannot be limited to Abbott’s suggestion that Australian people should simply continue going about their normal lives.
The inquiry into the two murders by jihadist Honis will doubtless find there were serious inadequacies in surveillance, police policy in handling the siege and judicial administration in regard to bailing and associated policies and that these need to be corrected and improved. But the article below suggests (see “Disrupt and deter: police operation to thwart local attack”) that increased policing is not sufficient because the existing overall legal/policy situations are seriously deficient. In effect, Australia has in its population a small number of people who are jihadists and who are planning killings and/or destructions but who are difficult to stop before they act or start to act. At the very least there must be an increase in the power to detain such people, preferably by cooperation between the Commonwealth and the States but if necessary through federal legislation alone.
And there is a need to go further than this. Legal changes should make it an offence to advocate violence whether on the internet or through social media ie jihadism should be outlawed. At the same time an amendment of Section 18C should again be tried to allow, inter alia, criticism of Muslim and other religions. Immigration policy should be radically changed, with much tighter screening of both normal immigrants and refugees and rejection of obvious and suspected believers in extremist action. Such changes should be accompanied by a statement outlining Australia’s belief in western values and indicating that such aspects of the Muslim religion as sharia law are not acceptable in Australia.
The Paris and Monis killings provide an opportunity for the Abbott government to initiate changes which are not only necessary but which, handled properly, should help improve polling too. The editorial in today’s Australian (see below) provides an excellent perspective.