Australia leading the fight against terrorism at IPU
When parliament concluded last week, I joined an official delegation to Vietnam to attend a conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
This is a bi-annual meeting of parliamentarians from across the globe that seeks to build relationships and strengthen the democratic process.
Some readers may be aware that our very own Speaker, the Hon. Bronwyn Bishop, ran for the position of President of the IPU late last year. Despite an impressive campaign, of which I was proud to be associated, regretfully she was unsuccessful.
At this meeting though, Australia has met with much greater success.
Our delegation suggested that the ‘emergency item’ for debate be in respect to terrorism – and in particular the atrocities committed by ISIL and Boko Haram against women and girls.
It was one of eight motions put forward, with only one being chosen at each meeting. Gaining the two-thirds majority support required for success is about building alliances and ‘working the room’ very hard.
Ultimately, we merged our motion with a similar one from Belgium and through a combined effort we were successful.
This then leads on to the formal drafting process, and I was Australia’s representative on the committee.
Until it is experienced, you can only imagine the discussions in dealing with the interests of dozens of nations seeking agreement. The drafting group included representatives from all corners of the globe including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Canada, Burkina Faso, Chad and many others.
It’s fair to say that in the interests of diplomacy there were occasions where I had to bite my tongue but, after several hours of drafting, the good news was that we did reach agreement!
However, the real question is what happens after this conference.
How many of the nation states subscribing to this resolution will actually stand up against terrorism in all its forms?
Will they pursue and bring to justice those who finance the barbarism that is evident in so many parts of the world today?
What will they do to stop the radicalisation of youth in the name of an ideology that seems intent on destroying our culture, our values and our way of life?
Words are easy, action is somewhat harder, but unless we are united and relentless in stopping this extremism it will only get worse.
One key part of stopping terrorism is to cut off the funding supply that sustains the brainwashing and the lone wolf attacks as well as the more orchestrated atrocities.
Once we can demonstrate where the funding comes from, we will be one step closer to severing the head of the global terror network.
Of course it won’t be an easy task, but from an Australian perspective, given our resources, we should be able to identify individuals and groups at home who send funds or lend support to attacking our national interests.
We just need to make sure the will to do so is there.
This week, I would also like to extend my gratitude to so many of you for your support of my comment on halal last week. It is clear the Australian majority want to get to the bottom of Halal Certification schemes, even if only to dispel any misconceptions.
Rest assured I’ll be taking my proposal to the parliament when we return and I can only hope that other members will support the motion.
Perhaps in the meantime, you can contact your local member and Senators asking them to represent you by voting in support.
Finally, this weekend marks one of the holiest times in the Christian calendar. It’s very important to me and to many Australians.
Whether you are religious or not, may I extend my blessings to you all and wish you a Happy Easter.
Just make sure your celebratory Easter eggs aren’t halal certified!