'Extreme force' 'proper' response to ISIS, says PM
PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has advocated "extreme force" as the "quite proper" response to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq, again escalating his rhetoric against the listed terrorist group on Tuesday.
Mr Abbott on Monday told parliament failing to act in the Middle East against the ISIL forces could leave millions of people exposed to "ethnic cleansing".
While he said he was not considering sending Australian ground troops in, the government is waiting on formal requests from the United States for any further assistance.
Mr Abbott has already responded to US requests, on the weekend confirming Australia would help send arms and military equipment to help Kurdish Pehsmerga fighters against the Islamic State in Iraq.
The government's response has sparked warnings from The Greens and the only federal politician with experience inside Australia's intelligence community, Tasmanian Andrew Wilkie, to call for any military intervention to be subject to parliamentary debate.
In an interview on 2GB Radio this morning, Mr Abbott said the situation was "dire and dreadful" but that "sadly, sometimes dire and dreadful measures are necessary in response to the pure evil that we are now seeing across a large swathe of the Middle East".
He confirmed he had talked to a range of leaders across the Middle East about the situation, including the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, describing the region's response as "just as alarmed as the West".
"Basically, this death cult has it in for everyone and everything that doesn't strictly conform to their own narrow version of what's right in the eyes of God," Mr Abbott said.
Australia prepares to drop weapons to Iraqi fighters
IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison is dismissing concerns that Australia is bypassing the Iraqi government in supplying weapons to Kurdish soldiers.
In a statement to Parliament on Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott described Islamic State as a "death cult" and confirmed arms shipments to Peshmerga fighters would begin "in coming days".
ABC reports Australian C-130 aircraft will fly firstly to the capital Baghdad for customs clearance, before heading to Kurdish-controlled Erbil.
The planes will then land to hand over the weaponry, which will include mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
Iraq's ambassador to Australia, Mouayed Saleh, has said the arms and weapons should be given to Iraq's government, the ABC reported.
On Sydney radio this morning the Prime Minister conceded that Australians were apprehensive about becoming involved in the conflict, but said it needed to be done to stop the advance of the Islamic State.
"We've seen a number of individuals, Australian, posting the most gruesome images of themselves involved in execution, involved in various barbaric acts," he said.
"People like this they have come to hate everyone who doesn't share their particular predilections about God and religion and a way of life.
"This is why they are an absolute menace."
The Labor Opposition too has supported the measures, with leader Bill Shorten telling reporters on Monday it was "the sensible thing to do".
"It is just sensible and I think that the air supply which a range of nations are working on, and also through the Iraqi Government, is a sensible measure," he said.
"There are no easy options here but I also fundamentally believe that providing the Kurds with light weapons the opportunity to defend themselves against people who would kill their families to me is the only logical choice here."