Terrorists just a bunch of 'very dangerous d---heads'
TERRORISTS are not sophisticated. They're actually d***heads. Very dangerous d***heads.
That's according to Liberal Democrats Senator for NSW David Leyonhjelm on the ABC's Q & A panel on Monday night.
His comments came after Social Services Minister Christian Porter described recent terror attacks in Paris and London as being orchestrated by "highly organised networks of individuals".
"Both in terms of the way in which individuals are radicalised, but also the way in which offences are perpetrated," Mr Porter said.
"These terrible criminal deeds are perpetrated by highly organised, sophisticated groups.
"They manage to get weapons, whether they're trucks or semiautomatic weapons, as was the case if France.
"Our intelligence agencies are dealing with a high level of sophistication, both in the radicalisation almost of the offences, but also in the way they play out on the ground."
But Mr Leyonhjelm begged to differ.
"I disagree with the suggestion the people are sophisticated. They are not. They are actually d***heads, most-of-them," he said.
Host Tony Jones shushed the cheering crowd to suggest the senator's remarks downplayed the danger posed by terrorists.
"They are dangerous d***heads, but let me explain," Mr Leyonhjelm responded.
"Most get caught before they do anything damaging."
The Australian Government has effectively thwarted 12 terror attacks since the threat level was raised in 2014. Sixty-three people have been arrested in connection with that, Mr Porter said.
Those figures don't include an incident today where possible terror links were made to a siege in which police gunned down one man and found another dead in Melbourne's southeast.
Mr Porter described the current environment as "difficult".
"The environment in terms of the threat is evolving all the time," he said.
"Of course, every responsible government has to also evolve in terms of trying to keep up with that threat.
"So, we constantly look at a range of issues, legislative, in terms of administrative and procedural issues around how you respond on the ground.
"You have to respond cautiously particularly when you are talking about fundamental freedoms."
Social Services Minister Christian Porter described recent terror attacks as being orchestrated by "highly organised networks of individuals".
Britain's terror threat level remains at "severe" after terrorists killed seven people and injured 48 in London on Sunday (AEST). Four Australians were caught up in the horror with at least one in a critical condition after three knife-wielding men rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge and stabbed others nearby. British Prime Minister Theresa May said police have identified all the London Bridge attackers and that 11 people remain in custody for possible connections to the attack. She is now demanding new terrorism legislation including pre-emptive detention laws to hold suspected terrorists without definitive evidence.
The Q & A panel discussed whether or not similar laws would be beneficial in Australia.
Opposition infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese said Labor wouldn't make policies "on the run".
"One of the reasons why we have been successful, is because we've acted on the basis of proper advice from the appropriate authorities from the security agencies," Mr Albanese said.
"We have been through a process - legislation has been examined with the great deal of rigour.
"The Government has been prepared to change its legislation on the basis of making sure that we achieve two objectives.
"The first objective and the primary objective of Government, not a particular Government, but Government as a whole is to keep Australians safe.
"But the second objective as well is to remember that you don't win the struggle against totalitarian fascism, of whatever variety, be it Islamic terrorism or any other, by completely giving up your freedoms.
"So, you need to get the balance right."
Mr Albanese said there was an "ideological movement driven by the Salafists and funded by some states, including some that we have positive relationships with".
"We need to call that out for what it is. It is dangerous. It is propagating hatred of us and our society," he said.
"And as a result of that, you have people who - maybe there was something wrong with them to begin with - but certainly there are people who are motivated to engage in this activity which undermines us.
"That's the negative side. But on the positive side, I think the response of civil society has been quite inspiring in recent times.
"Whether it be the concert that was held in Manchester today of 50,000 people, just saying: 'No - we will go out and continue to enjoy our ourselves, celebrate freedom'.
"Thank goodness the (UK) election is happening this Thursday."