Abbott says the participants in the alleged ISIS plot to kidnap and kill Australian members of the public showed clear intent to commit ‘demonstration’ beheadings in Sydney:
The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country. So this is not just suspicion, this is intent, and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.
After receiving intelligence of an Islamic State supporter plot, Australian police perform a sweeping raid to stop potential public executions. The operation thus far is the largest anti-terrorism in history, making use of 800 police and with the aid of intelligence officers from the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. Charges set against two suspects and 15 people are under arrest. The investigation continues even with nine detainees let go. Two suspect woman must appear before the court system. Citizens complain about the raids. Informing reporters, the Prime Minister justifies the raids. Abbot:
The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country. So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.
Abbott announces that Australia will deploy 400 air force personnel and 200 special forces troops to the United Arab Emirates where they will be based at a U.S. facility in preparation for possible military operations against ISIS. Eight Super Hornet jets, an EWAC (Early Warning and Control) plane and a tanker aircraft for aerial refueling will be deployed. He tells reporters in the Northern Territory capital city Darwin that the government considers the deployment ‘prudent and proportionate’, but that there there are ‘obviously further decisions to be taken’ before Australian forces commit to combat action.
I have to warn the Australian people that should this preparation and deployment extend into combat operations, that this could go on for quite some time
Australia raises its terror threat level to High from Medium at the advice of the Australian Secret Intelligence Organization (ASIO), indicating that an attack is considered ‘likely’ but not imminent.
We have no specific intelligence of a particular plot. What we do have is that there are people with the intent and capability to mount attacks.
Obama and Abbott discuss the Iraq situation in a phone call. Obama thanks Abbott for Australia’s contribution to the fight against ISIS in the form of humanitarian airdrops and weapons deliveries to groups fighting against the extremist organization. Abbott’s office says they discuss cooperation on the security situation in Iraq and Australia’s planned contributions to the ‘core coalition’ of countries fighting ISIS, but that Obama makes no ‘specific request’ regarding Australia’s involvement. White House statement:
The two leaders discussed the need to continue addressing both the ongoing humanitarian situation as well as the threat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses to Iraq and the broader region.
A poll of 1207 Australians for The Australian newspaper finds that 62% of voters support the action taken so far in Iraq by the Abbott government, consisting of humanitarian aid drops of food, water and hygiene packs by the Royal Australian Air Force, as well as shipments of weapons and ammunition to anti-ISIS groups. It finds that 25% of voters are opposed and 13% are uncommitted. The Newspoll survey finds that 70% of men support the action and 18% oppose it, while among women the split is 54% in favour and 31% against. It finds that 75% of supporters of Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition favour the government’s action while 19% oppose it. It says that 53% of Labour opposition voters support the action and 31% oppose it.
Abbott announces that uranium trade with Russia is ruled out until further notice due to its actions in the Ukraine, several days after the government announces other sanctions including restrictions on investment, travel, and access by Russian banks to Australian capital markets.
Australia has no intention of selling uranium to a country which is so obviously in breach of international law as Russia currently is
Abbott says Australia is considering ‘non-lethal’ military action and humanitarian assistance in the Ukraine:
… Ukraine continues to be subject to active destabilisation and indeed outright invasion from Russia, a country it has never ever sought to harm … along with our European partners and allies, we are considering short-term humanitarian assistance and non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine and in the medium term … we are considering civil and military capacity building assistance to that country.
Abbott announces increased sanctions on Russia, bringing Australia’s sanctions in line with the European Union. The extra sanctions include restrictions on arms exports, restrictions on Russian State-owned banks to Australia’s capital markets, stopping exports used for oil exploration and production, restrictions on Australian trade and investment in Crimea, and targeted travel bans and financial sanctions on 63 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and entities. He doesn’t impose sanctions on the uranium trade, but says:
The government does not rule out further sanctions in the future
The Royal Australian Air Force will deliver weapons to Kurdish fighters battling ISIS. Abbott says the decision to join Canada, Italy, the U.S., France and Britain is made to address a worsening ‘humanitarian crisis.’
Australia will join international partners to help the [anti-IS] forces in Iraq
The RAAF will provide C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster aircraft. It has previously limited its air operations to humanitarian drops.
Abbott says an apparent movement of Russian troops into Ukraine represents an ‘invasion’ and is unacceptable:
Clearly if, as seems to have been the case, Russian armed forces have simply moved across the border that is an invasion and it is utterly reprehensible. It is an absolutely clear cut case of a larger country bullying a smaller country and should have no place in our world.
The act presents a risk to global security:
You cannot have an international order if might is right. You cannot have a safe and secure world if powerful countries are able to take what they want and plainly what we’ve seen in the Ukraine over the last six moths or so is an increasingly aggressive role by Russia and it seems that Russia is now stepping out of the shadows and overtly trying to achieve its objects of domination in the Ukraine. It is completely, absolutely and utterly unacceptable.
Abbott calls on both sides to cease hostilities:
It should be a ceasefire immediately by both sides. That’s what there should be, because plainly, too many people are dying. It’s just wrong what’s happening, so there should be a ceasefire
Canberra’s support for Israel isn’t unconditional
[…] they’re capable of making mistakes just like everyone else is, but no one intends, or should intend, any attack which results in the death of innocent people
Support for the Palestinian right to statehood also depends on recognition of Israel:
that’s got to go hand-in-hand with the recognition of Israel’s right to exist behind secure borders. The problem in the Middle East is that in the end so many people are not prepared to accept Israel’s right to exist.
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