Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Australia won't close borders, says FM Julie Bishop

Ms Bishop said she did not agree with calls to close the nation's borders following the deadly Paris attacks, saying stringent screening and vetting processes were in place for all refugee arrivals.

'Australia is an open tolerant, free society - that would be caving into the extremists and terrorists who want to change our way of life,' she told reporters in Manila on Monday.

Calls for a rethink of plans to resettle fleeing Syrians came after a passport, found near the body of one attacker, reportedly carried the name of a Syrian refugee.

The minister said those reports were yet to be confirmed by French authorities.

'But we cannot succumb to the fear that the terrorist organisations thrive upon,' she said.

With the terror alert level remaining high, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed faith in the nation's security agencies when he spoke to reporters at the G20 summit in Turkey on Monday.

'Attacks in this environment are likely to happen in the future but Australians can be assured we have the best security agencies,' he said.  'They are monitoring the situation and are seeking to protect Australians at home and so far as we can abroad.'


First family of Syrian refugees to arrive in Australia

Marwan Alkhdah and his family are among the first Syrians to be granted visas under Australia's expanded resettlement program.
The first group of refugees under the federal government's special program for Syrians is due to arrive in Australia in the next 24 hours.

Social Services Minister Christian Porter announced on Monday that a family of five would soon arrive in Perth.

He said they were originally from the city of Homs, which has been ravaged by the Syrian civil war, but could not say where the family was flying from.

Mr Porter said the mum, dad and three children had been through a "great deal" and had spent "very long periods of time in refugee camps".   He would provide no further detail about their personal circumstances, other than to say they were arriving earlier than expected due to a medical issue.

One of Tony Abbott's final acts as prime minister was to announce Australia would permanently resettle 12,000 refugees from Syria.

Mr Porter said many of the refugees would begin to arrive in December, and that the program would "pick up speed" in January and February.

The Social Services Minister said the family would be met by government officials who would help them settle into a new life in Perth.

He added that the screening process to award the family refugee status had been slow but "very, very thorough".

The group had been through "all the levels of stringency that occurs for all humanitarian and refugee arrivals," Mr Porter said.

He said the process and circumstances around this family and others in the 12,000 group were very different from "largely unregistered refugees moving across porous borders in Europe".

Earlier on Monday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton warned of possible delays to the program, noting the government would not "rush".

"If the program time is blown out, it's blown out because we want to make sure we can be assured as to who is coming to our country and the government is not going to step back from that position," he told Fairfax Radio.

This comes after a Syrian passport, found near the body of one of the suicide bombers in Paris, suggests the attacker had arrived in France through Greece as a refugee. 


'Not every Muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim'

Outspoken politician Pauline Hanson has been slammed on social media for her controversial tirade in response to the Paris terror attacks after calling for a halt on Muslim refugees in Australia.

Appearing on Channel Nine's Today Show, the One Nation party leader claimed that one of the men involved in the horrific, co-ordinated attacks on Friday night (local time) had posed as a refugee.

In the wake of the deadly attacks, Ms Hanson has called on the Turnbull government to rethink its plans to resettle people fleeing conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

'My message has been that we must be more vigilant on who we bring out to Australia,' Ms Hanson told the Nine Network, from Queensland's Coleyville, on Sunday morning.

'These refugees may be cells that have been brought out, who have been planted ISIS... to become refugees who will end up in Australia, on Australian soil.'

Her call follows the harrowing ordeal in Paris that have left at least 129 people dead and hundreds more injured, including a young Australian woman, who is recovering in hospital.

It's believed one of the attackers may have travelled to Europe on a Syrian passport recently.

Ms Hanson's remarks echo those of former PM Tony Abbott, who warned of the risk that terrorists could be hiding among the tens of thousands of refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East.

'Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim,' she continued.

'People don't want another 12,000 refugees in Australia. People of Australia don't want more Muslim refugees in Australia who may be ISIS plants.'

Following her television appearance, many have taken to Twitter to voice their opinions over the Queensland Senate candidate.

Gabriella wrote: 'We need to stop giving Pauline Hanson a medium to spew her racist and hateful views. Bring all the refugees.'

Zozo posted: 'I became an Australian citizen to have a better life and to be free of politicians like you. Pauline Hanson does not speak for me.'

Fadi Antoun said: 'All these refugees want, is a safe country to protect their families.. Where's the compassion. Put yourself in their shoes Pauline Hanson.'

Meanwhile, some have defended Ms Hanson's stance.

Orietta Toro posted on Facebook: 'I'd never thought I would ever agree with Pauline Hanson but this time she has a valid point especially after the Paris attacks.

'Australia needs to be safe and we need to look at the safety of our children in the future the world isn't the same anymore and Australia does not need to have the same incident happen as Paris!'

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is in Turkey to attend the G20 summit, played down the threat.  'While there have been some exceptions, the history of terrorist activities in Australia and people of concern in this area is very much for the most part second- and third-generation Australians,' he said.  'So the screening of refugees of the humanitarian intake has been very careful.'

Greek authorities have confirmed that at least one of the men involved in the attacks - a Syrian passport holder - had registered as a refugee earlier this year.


NSW cops think they are a law unto themselves

Police 'illegally' hacked Facebook page of a man who posted an image of American pop star Miley Cyrus twerking over an officer

Police allegedly hacked a private Facebook account of a man who posted what appeared to be a digitally altered photograph of American pop star Miley Cyrus twerking in front of an officer.

Rhys Liam Halvey was charged with three counts of using a carriage service to offend police and three counts of publishing an indecent article, the Sun-Herald reported.

For four months, NSW Police Senior Constable Daniel Moss allegedly monitored the closed Facebook page by using another username between November 2013 to March 2014.

An account under 'Rhys Brown' was said to have posted several offensive posts, including an image saying: 'Here's my $25,000 for your $101 fine' and photos of officers, taken on a Sydney street.

However, Mr Halvey denied any involvement with being Rhys Brown and uploading the 'derogatory' posts on social media.

All six charges have been withdrawn and dismissed after Sydney magistrate Roger Brown slammed the measures carried out as a 'criminal offence' for committing an 'unauthorised access'.

During a hearing in April this year, Magistrate Brown said to Constable Moss: 'You use the term "monitored" the Facebook account of Rhys Brown ... you went into that account frequently?'

'Yes, I did,' the officer responded.

Magistrate Brown questioned: 'So, you didn't obtain a Supreme Court warrant ... you didn't obtain any judicial authorisation to invade the privacy of Rhys Brown's Facebook, did you?'

Constable Moss replied: 'No.'

In September this year, the case was withdrawn and dismissed with $14,429 in costs ordered against the police.


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