WTF? Why do we have a humanitarian responsibility to Syria?
TANYA Plibersek wants to send aid to Syria rather than bomb terrorists.
The deputy Labor leader yesterday split with her boss Bill Shorten and criticised the Abbott government over discussions with the US about expanding aerial bombing raids from Iraq to Syria.
Ms Plibersek, who has twice described Africa as a country instead of a continent, said Australia had a humanitarian responsibility to Syria, in contrast to Mr Shorten’s position that stopping Islamic State is a priority.
The issue has the potential to split the party after The Daily Telegraph yesterday exclusively revealed Australia had been involved in “informal talks” with the Obama administration about increasing Australia’s presence in the Middle East.
Ms Plibersek said she would rather see Australia’s humanitarian role increased.
“Primarily, our assistance should be humanitarian,’’ she said. “We have a much greater humanitarian responsibility in Syria. With 11.5 million people displaced, with millions in neighbouring countries like Jordan, like Lebanon, like Turkey, we should be doing more to help, but we’ve actually reduced our assistance.’’
Ms Plibersek said there needed to a clear legal basis for Australia’s involvement.
Australian F18 Hornets are participating in bombing raids above Iraq after a request from the Iraqi government.
It is understood Canada and the UK are also in discussions with Washington about upgrading their roles.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed Australia had conducted talks with the US but said no final decision had been made.
“There have been some approaches made at various levels, but no formal request has come, no formal decision has been taken,’’ he said.
“Whether these air strikes are taking place in Syria or Iraq, the morality is the same, the death cult is just as evil on either side of the border.
“That’s why I can understand why there is some interest on the part of our partners in Australian air strikes.”
Mr Abbott said no decision would be made without the consultation of both sides of parliament. But he stressed that Australia needed to take its share of weight in the fight against terrorism.
Mr Shorten said that he would keep an open mind on the issue.
“Our priority and principles when it comes to this is to make sure we are helping defeat Daesh, ISIL, the terrorist organisation, which is causing such harm in northern Iraq and also destabilising security around the world,’’ he said.
TERRORIST HACKING IS NO THREAT
Daniel Meers and Geoff Chambers
THE hack by Islamic State of eight Australians, including a state MP and defence personnel, did not compromise Australian computer systems, the federal government has said.
The death cult’s hacking division released personal details of 1500 people, including mobile phone numbers, credit card details, online passwords and emails.
It is believed they hacked a US computer database that contained subscriptions to a US defence magazine.
Yesterday the eldest daughter of Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf posted her support of the hack on social media.
A Twitter account linked to the 14-year-old, who was married to Sharrouf’s dead terrorist mate Mohamed Elomar, re-posted screen shots of Australian television news reporting about the IS hacks.
Counter-Terrorism Minister Michael Keenan said none of the Australians was at risk: “Our security agencies are not aware of any specific threats to the eight individuals.’’
SHARROUF’S FAKE DEATH
AUSTRALIA’S most notorious terrorist faked his own death to stop “Aussie drones” following him, close friends in Syria said.
Islamic State propagandist and recent media reports claimed Khaled Sharrouf was killed in two separate air strikes.
But friends admit his “death” was faked in an elaborate plot and Sharrouf is alive and in hiding.
Some friends and family in Australia are also party to the ruse.