Australia, Highest Contributor to Armed Group Conflicts
By Athena Yenko | June 23, 2014 4:21 PM EST
Following confirmation by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop of the 150 Australians fighting with jihadists, Australia becomes the highest foreign per capita contributor to armed group conflicts, ABC reports.
Members of the Iraqi security forces and volunteers, who have joined the security forces to fight against the predominantly Sunni militants from the radical Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), shout slogans on the outskirts of the town of Udaim in Diyala province, June 22, 2014.
The government is planning to toughen security laws to ensure that the nation is protected from jihadists wanting to come back into the country.
"The Government will take whatever measures are reasonably necessary to ensure the community is protected. We will soberly consider the best approach and any measures will be taken through the Parliament as required." a spokeswoman for the Prime Minister told ABC.
The border security officers are put on high alert to monitor possible jihadists gaining access back into the country.
"We are monitoring this very closely all around the country whether at sea ports or airports. It is a crime to fight with terrorist organisations and this is a listed terrorist organization," said Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
The Coalition is exhausting all possible security measures to track down suspected jihadists, including those people that are helping them. It is also looking for ways that could allow the Government to prosecute rebels in Australian courts.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said that Labor is willing to work together with the Coalition in making toughened national security laws against returning jihadists.
"Security agencies should be given appropriate powers with one caveat: that there's appropriate oversight. As a country, I believe we are smart enough to improve our national security and ensure the rights of individual citizens aren't trampled. If you are a young Australian who thinks that somehow you are pursuing some ... misguided definition of faith by engaging in the sort of medieval [barbarianism] that we're seeing in parts of Iraq, if you leave Australia, I don't expect you can reasonably expect to be welcomed home," Shorten said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Thursday that the Government will do whatever it can to stop Australian jihadists from returning into the country.
"The best thing we can do for Australians at home is to ensure that jihadis do not come back to this country. This is very worrying, because they're being radicalised and militarised through that experience," Mr Abbott said.
"The important thing is to ensure our borders are secure. Border security is not just about stopping illegal boats. Border security is also about ensuring that we don't have people coming back to Australia and potentially causing mayhem. They will feel the full force of our law," Mr Abbott warned.
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