Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright—Chief Government Whip) (14:44): My question is to the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Will the minister update the House on the conflict in Syria and Iraq and the threat that it poses to our national security? What is the government's response to this threat, and are there other approaches?

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin—Minister for Foreign Affairs) (14:45): I thank the member for Wright for this very serious question because atrocities in Iraq and Syria continue unabated. Two days ago there were further reports that the terrorist organisation Daesh is using chemical weapons—this time mustard gas—in attacks on Kurdish forces in Syria. Systemic raping of women and enslaving of children continues, as does Daesh's killing spree and forced conversion of members of religious minorities. There are now more than 20,000 terrorist foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, including around 120 Australians. Australian extremists have been exploited by Daesh for propaganda and recruitment purposes but are now also linked to planning terrorist plots in Australia. Reports that Australian foreign fighters are serving with Daesh's English-speaking unit—the so-called Anwar al-Awlaki brigade—to orchestrate attacks on home soil are deeply disturbing. We make no mistake about this—this conflict poses a direct threat to Australia and its people.

The Syrian government itself has perpetrated awful attacks against its own citizens overnight. Regime airstrikes against a market outside Damascus reportedly killed over 80 Syrian civilians. This is militarily, politically and strategically a complex theatre of war and it is important that Australia presents a united front for these terrorist organisations otherwise they will exploit any divisions within Australia. That is why I was shocked to learn that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has broken ranks and is now attacking government policy on the fight against terrorism—in fact, she has had a go at the Leader of the Opposition on the way through. The member for Sydney—

Government members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease interjecting.

Ms King interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Ballarat is warned.

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: Members on my left will cease interjecting.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: The member for Sydney wants Australia's Defence forces to cease the airstrikes against Daesh. She wants our fighter jets to drop food hampers over Syria. Guess who will end up feasting on them? It will be a terrorist picnic. I know the Deputy Leader of the Opposition struggles with geography. She has said more than once that Africa is a country.

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume her seat. I call the member for Watson on a point of order. Those props are out of order and the clerks will collect them.

Honourable members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: I am not hearing the member for Watson until the interjections cease.

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston will cease interjecting.

Mr Stephen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Throsby will decide when the member for Watson gets the call.

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Herbert is warned.

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Herbert will remove himself under standing order 94(a).

The member for Herbert then left the chamber.

The SPEAKER: Member for Watson? No? I call the minister.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: I know the Deputy Leader of the Opposition struggles with geography.

Government members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease the chatter.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: She has said more than once that Africa is a country. It is not. Now she has claimed that Syria is about the same size as Australia. Australia is 42 times larger than Syria. If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition cannot get basic facts right, if she thinks that Daesh—

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume her seat.

Mr Watts: Mr Speaker, I have a point of order. This may be relevant for the leadership jostling on the frontbench of the government, but it is not relevant to the question that was asked of the minister.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The member for Gellibrand will remove himself under standing order 94(a). It is a complete abuse of the standing orders.

The member for Gellibrand then left the chamber.

Mr Hockey interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will cease interjecting.

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston is warned.

Ms JULIE BISHOP: If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition thinks that Daesh can be defeated by food not force, let us hope that she never has anything to do with the planning of strategy in this country. (Time expired)

The SPEAKER: The member for Kennedy, who missed his call earlier, has the call now. Member for Kennedy your time starts now.

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