Gulf News talks to Shaoquett Moselmane, a Muslim member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, to get his reaction on the new security plan proposed by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
How do you see the new security laws proposed by Prime Minister Abbott?
The new security laws proposed have not yet been submitted to the Parliament. I believe it is in our national interest that any proposed laws be drafted in consultation with all members of Parliament, as well as a broad cross-section of the Australian community, including the Muslim community. I [am], however, concerned that the language he [Abbott] used was scapegoating the Muslim community by suggesting that Muslim leaders do not mean it when they say Islam is a religion of peace. Abbott’s statement was demeaning to Muslims, and a low blow to a community of proud Australians that are working with the government on these issues.
How will the new laws affect communities in Australia
The new laws will not specifically target Muslims — they will affect any Australian citizen who sympathises with terrorist organisations and choose[s] to fight overseas. In the past month we have seen a number of Australians travel to war zones to fight on both sides of [the] conflict. Those who do travel or support Daesh make up a minuscule part of the Muslim community, and anyone who does support terrorism should be perused and brought before the law.
Will these proposals have the bipartisan support?
Bill Shorten, Leader of the Federal Opposition, has said that he would work with the government on proposed terrorism law changes, and that any proposed changes must be shown to be effective for the nation as a whole. This is a view that I endorse. Laws of this nature that do not have bipartisan support cannot be in Australia’s interest.