The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA102 - 15 July 2004

Transnational Terrorism: The Threat to Australia

Today I have launched Australia's first White Paper on terrorism - Transnational Terrorism: The Threat to Australia.

Australia faces a serious threat from international terrorism and we must prepare for this reality. As a Western democratic country, our values of peace, religious freedom, liberty and tolerance put us squarely in the terrorists' sights.

Contemporary terrorism differs from any threat previously faced by Australia. This scourge compromises our way of life and we cannot ignore or hide from it.

Australian defence personnel, police and civilians have responded bravely to the war against terrorism in Afghanistan, in Iraq and in various ways around our region and within our borders. We will all need to maintain our efforts for many years to defeat this insidious threat.

The White Paper details the nature and international dimensions of the evolving terrorist threat to Australia. It highlights its manifestations globally and in our region and how our interests at home and abroad are endangered.

The Australian Government is ready to confront the terrorist threat but we cannot afford complacency. An attack here is a possibility but one we will do everything in our power to prevent.

The White Paper outlines the Australian Government's international response - what we have already done and our on-going efforts to diminish the threat. It also underlines our strong commitment to greater cooperation with our regional partners, traditional allies and other members of the global community.

The Paper demonstrates that terrorism must be challenged in a clear-sighted and forceful way by Australia and other communities under threat, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

It also reflects the high priority the Government places on dealing with this difficult issue and on keeping the public fully informed of the extent of the threat to Australia's interests.

The White Paper complements another recent Government publication - Protecting Australia Against Terrorism - which sets out the key elements of our national counter-terrorism policy and arrangements.

Media inquiries: Media inquiries: Chris Kenny (Mr Downer's Office) 02 6277 7500, Julie McDonald (Departmental) 02 6261 1555

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