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#################### Geoff Seidner
Malcolm Turnbull has passed his first test as a national security leader after the shocking terrorist murder outside the police centre at Sydney’s Parramatta.
The essence of Turnbull’s wisdom here has been balance.
He has said essentially three things. The first, this is a shocking, cold-blooded murder and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family and the NSW Police Service.
Second, this is an act of terrorism.
Third, no one should attribute guilt by association for this terrible act to the Muslim community or to any other Muslims individually. The need for dialogue with the Muslim community is not only to maintain social cohesion but also to help in efforts to counter the radicalisation of young people. Each element of these messages was necessary. To miss any one would have been to unbalance the response.
Turnbull’s response has won appreciation and support from each of the relevant audiences: the public generally, NSW police, security agencies and leaders of Muslim communities.
Turnbull’s government signalled in its earliest days that it was going to change the tone of the rhetoric it used in relation to terrorism.
No one could doubt Tony Abbott’s abundant goodwill in this area, but his rhetoric had become a little clunky, the constant repetition of the phrase “the death cult” was off-putting and some Muslim community leaders felt he had been a bit rough with them, in particular
in his remark he wished more Muslim leaders would say Islam was a religion of peace and mean it.
In any event, numbers of otherwise moderate and mainstream Muslim leaders felt alienated and some degree of co-operation had declined.
National security agency leaders are at one in thinking that a warm embrace of the Muslim community, which is overwhelmingly law-abiding, was necessary in principle and also for effective counter-terrorist work.
The relevant parliamentary secretary, Connie Fierravanti-Wells, told this newspaper that many Muslims felt alienated from the government’s approach.
Turnbull has an opportunity therefore to reset the tone of the government’s interaction with community leaders in Australia. This cannot come at the expense of going soft on terrorism.
If Turnbull was going to make a mistake, it would have been in not wanting to classify this hideous event as terrorism. But as NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione remarked, this was violence with a political motivation and therefore it was terrorism. That Turnbull had no hesitation in calling this killing was very important.
Some in the government were privately uncertain whether it had been wise to label even the Sydney Lindt cafe killings as terrorism, because the perpetrator was clearly unbalanced and had acted without direct contact with Islamic State, yet many terrorists around the world are unbalanced, he had used ISIS iconography in the attack and Islamic State had called directly for such unprovoked attacks.
For all that the response to the Parramatta shootings has been swift, effective and assured, and well co-ordinated between state and federal law enforcement agencies and political leaders, this is a terrible moment for Australia.
Not only has an innocent husband and father been killed, but this is now the third fatal terrorist incident in Australia in a short period of time. Apart from the Lindt cafe killings, there was Numan Haider’s attack on Victoria Police in which the assailant was killed, and now the Parramatta shooting.
Our intelligence and police agencies do a fine job in keeping Australians safe. Co-operation with the Muslim community itself is a central part of that, but our political leaders must also answer critical questions: are the resources adequate to tackle the problem, are the agencies as co-ordinated and as effective as possible, are the laws adequate to deal with the problem, and do the political leaders provide that necessary combination of steely resolve, calm reassurance and community outreach.
In this first tragic test, Turnbull has done well. Sadly, it is unlikely to be his last such test.
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"no one should attribute guilt by association for this terrible act to the Muslim community" Yes we should and must if this is to stop.
Social psychology determines altruistic enforcers justification authorization and methodology of dealing with in-out group boundaries driven by "categorisation engines" are determined by cultures construct of Other not the 'few' the culture creates. If the Muslim culture is not responsible and culpable for this terror who is? Unless this is the number one fact we all realise is a truth the bloodied bodies in our streets will keep coming as they continue elsewhere.
Listening to the ABC 7.30 Report tonight talks about this 'young boy'.......what description next...... A toddler . C'mon people as soon as he pulled the trigger he become an Adult making big Adult decisions........don't be delusional.........he is no 'Boy'
@Margaret well at least give Team Turnbull a few months, Team Abbott turned out to be a dismal failure. May I suggest you stick to the propaganda espoused by Andrew Bolt & Miranda Devine, much more comforting.
Nice condescending acknowledgement Greg to support Malcolm after your over-zealous loyalty to US and Abbott. You may now get an interview before Andrew B & Alan J et al. Be careful you do not become the replacement for Gerard Henderson.
The first step must be to review and alter The Policy of Multiculturalism,
Under The Policy of Multiculturalism, Muslims by law, are never required to assimilate/ integrate/ become a part of mainstream Australia and can remain in an "outside" position and continue their "us" ( poor victimised Muslims position) and " them" ( horrible people of Australia with western values who won't even let us have Sharia Law).
The Policy of Multiculturalism SETS up this divide scenario!
Until we remove the Policy of Multiculturalism which has NOTHING to do with cultural diversity which we had in the past and which was INCLUSIVE of everyone and replace the current Policy with one that AGAIN establishes that all Australian citizens must integrate and accept only Australian Law, nothing will change with Muslims in this country and they will keep playing us while the Government and security agencies let them so as to not OFFEND them.
Our signing up to the UN 2030 Agreement ( which comes into effect next year) will even further strengthen their rights for Sharia Law in this country .... so if we can AT LEAST have a new Migration Policy that establishes integration we can have some sort of a counter balance to the UN Laws that this new Government is so obscenely eager to sign us up for.
@Helen Very good point, Helen. Multiculturalism seems to have failed in whatever country has been silly enough to introduce it. Muslims come here of choice, no one forced them, they are welcomed into the community, then some of them set about killing citizens of this country which has given them succour. To my mind, unless so-called moderate Muslims start to speak out against the behaviour of some, they should all be deported out of the country. I am very tired of politicians in a way blaming the wider Australian community for the behaviour of some Muslims when they say things like they are alienated in the community. They have their own community and they have every advantage here, so I think politicians who pursue this line are way out of line.
There is no such thing as moderate Islam Elizabeth, by its very nature it is an extreme philosophy. The fact that some of us are prepared to give control of our lives to a religion that has no place in the 21st century means that we are happy to conform with an extreme concept, to a greater or lesser extent, it is still extreme.
@patricia lol - lucky David Cameron didn't take notice of those polls that told him he and his Government were about to be decimated and crucified and kicked to the curb. A landslide WIN was actually the order of the day. People aren't fools and just because the LEFTY media wanted (and got) Turnbull it does NOT mean it's what the REAL voters want or will vote for.
@Patricia@bruce Does your rubbish ever end? Internal Liberal polling in Canning was showing they would win by about 7% before Turncoat Turnbull got into the act, and that is precisely what happened. Just goes to show, anyone who trusts polls in not very with it.
@Patricia Childish nonsense, Patricia. It is an 8% turn around and it should be more. Menzies Liberals have been inclusive of all conservative views and believe our Judeo-Christian heritage has stood us in good stead, and is worth fighting for. Mostly for this reason the Liberals have been the most successful party since the war.
@Marco Have a look at any minority religion in almost any Muslims country - this is not a benign religion and the political elements of Islam can't be separated from the spiritual.
How many terrorist acts, wars, oppressive regimes would it take for this irrelevant 'diversity' to be washed away and the underlying tyranny? What sort of diversity? Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are diverse, but minorities consistently and regularly has the human rights, and often their lives, extinguished. Egypt and Nigeria are the Coptic Christians happy to be oppressed and Nigerian Christians to be bombed - oh but think of the diversity.
However, you raise a good point. No matter how diverse, no matter how pious or perfunctory Islam is there is one common theme, the oppression of human rights of non-Muslims and Muslims alike.
Given such diversity and such abuse, it really doesn't bode well for reform.
What responsibility do the young killers parents take for this? Or is it just a shrug of the shoulders and inshallah? I am a parent of a 14 year old. I know what he is doing, I take an interest. I monitor his phone and computer use. When there are problems I talk about it even if it is hard. If I thought he wasn't turning up at school and going elsewhere I would do something about it - directly. I don't put my head in the sand. These killings are all linked to the same religion - a religion that just doesn't seem to care enough about the killing of innocent Australians to really make a fuss about it. It is all go quietly quietly. I am so sad for the victims family.
I don't agree Greg. The obsequiousness to the Muslim community & rushing to commiserate with the murderer's family first, has just alienated a large swathe of Australians. Turnbull is about as tough as a wet noodle. There has to be consequences for this sort of behaviour beyond appeasing comments .