It is important for Australia to be united if we are to deal with the challenges that we will inevitably face in the future. Australia is a country which shows a remarkable ability to pull together in times of crises and the sense of community is especially strong in country areas.
Tragedies like the loss of 298 innocent lives in Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 show us that disaster can strike in an instant. We should do what we can to prepare.
While it is important to be prepared we still may not be able to prevent acts of terrorism or violence. We have a better chance of protecting Australians at home or abroad if we are united as a nation.
In a post 9/11 world we are all the more aware that danger can strike unexpectedly. The Bali Bombings in 2002 also brought an awareness of the risks closer to home. More recently there has been very concerning evidence of Australians participating in terrorist activities in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Internet use has revolutionized the way in which terrorist organisations can operate across the globe. There is a danger that individuals who have been radicalized through an association with terrorist organisations overseas might return to Australia. The Federal Government will be introducing legislation in the next sitting period to address this risk. The Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) will receive $630 million of new money. This will boost their capabilities over the next four years.
The issues that bring us together are stronger than those that tear us apart. The Federal Government has decided not to proceed with the proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. This decision has been taken after talking with community members and taking public submissions. Together the community will now be able to focus on making positive steps towards constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
These anti-terrorism measures are all about ensuring safety in our communities. There has been no change to the security risks that Australia currently faces. However, it is best to actively prepare for and anticipate possible threats in the future. National security has been an area where the Government has traditionally worked with bipartisan support from the Opposition. More detail will be available to the public as we work through the legislative process.
On Sunday the 2014 Pollie Pedal began an eight day bike ride of over 1000kms from Moree to Penrith through parts of the Parkes Electorate.
The Pollie Pedal has raised over $3 million since it began and this year the chief beneficiary will be Carers Australia. For more information and to donate please visit: www.carersaustralia.com.au.