AUSTRALIA

Abbott warns of home-grown terror, says migrants must be on ‘Team Australia’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 August, 2014, 9:14pm
UPDATED : Monday, 18 August, 2014, 9:14pm
AFP

Share

Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday said migrants had to be on "Team Australia", and warned all citizens to be vigilant to the threat of home-grown terrorism.

Abbott's government is hardening its terror laws to make it more difficult for Islamic extremists to travel from Australia to fight in places such as Iraq and Syria and easier to arrest them on their return.

"We've got a serious problem of radicalised people going to the Middle East to fight with terrorist groups," he told Sydney radio station 2GB.

"Some of them will want to come back to Australia and they pose a risk if they do, because they've been radicalised, militarised and brutalised."

As many as 150 Australians are said to be fighting alongside militants overseas, including a Sydney man and his son who posed for photos with a severed head.

Abbott said that of the Australian residents who had fought alongside insurgents in Afghanistan, about two-thirds became involved in plotting terrorist acts on their return.

"So, we do have to be vigilant against it and my position is that everyone has got to be on 'Team Australia'," he said, referring to a catchphrase he used when introducing the terror laws.

The prime minister, who met with Muslim community leaders in Sydney yesterday, stressed that Australia was made up of people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

"It's important that individual communities can't be caricatured on the basis of a militant few rather than on the basis of what I take to be a sensible majority," he said.