Working with Indonesian experts on countering violent extremism
20 August 2015
Today I met with a range of Indonesian experts to discuss the significant threat posed by the recruitment of foreign fighters by terrorist organisations and the evolving threat of domestic radicalisation of vulnerable individuals, particularly young people.
Our countries cannot afford to wait until people have already radicalised and formed the intent to do harm. We need to reduce the risk of violent extremism by taking steps to tackle the problem at its roots.
We must find new ways to help credible and respected voices in our region counter the spread of violent and barbaric terrorist propaganda.
This sensitive work is already underway in Australia, with intervention programmes already operating or being rolled out in all jurisdictions.
This work is vital in keeping our nation safe because the number of Australians with hands-on terrorist experience is growing. More than 100 Australians are currently fighting in Syria and Iraq despite the repeated warnings of the Australian Government.
Building the capacity of all governments in our broader region to challenge violent extremism is a key priority in our collective efforts to counter all forms of terrorism and extremism.
Together, we must prevent the warped interpretation of a violent minority from undermining our shared commitment to freedom, democracy and tolerance.
The emergence of foreign terrorist fighters and the spread of violent extremism pose a grave threat to us all. It is a complex and unprecedented threat that can only be overcome through cooperation on both sides.
Indonesia’s long-standing commitment to countering terrorism and violent extremism has made them a global leader in this area – and we have much to learn from shared experience.
Together, over many years of close cooperation, we have built a strong foundation to face this threat.
When I visited Indonesia last year, I was impressed with the breadth and depth of cooperation between our governments.
It is more important than ever that we build on this solid foundation.
Today’s roundtable was an opportunity to update participants on implementation of the outcomes from the Regional CVE Summit held in Sydney earlier this year.
Amongst other measures, Australia will work closely with regional governments to develop narratives to amplify effective messages across the region to counter terrorist propaganda, particularly in the online space where extremists are grooming vulnerable people to recruit, radicalise and carry out harm.
A regional network of civil society groups will also be established to foster peer-to-peer learning and partnerships, and assist with identifying and better utilising community leaders and influencers across the region to reach target audiences.
These outcomes will inform our contribution to discussions at the upcoming UN General Assembly meeting in September 2015.
I was also able to outline a range of activities that the Australian Government is undertaking as part of our countering violent extremism strategy, including our $40 million investment in CVE programmes.
I was impressed by the breadth of work being undertaken in Indonesia at all levels, including through mosques, youth groups and universities to prevent radicalisation and foster community cohesion.
We discussed the importance of promoting positive messaging within our communities to counter misleading and harmful terrorist narratives.
Keeping our nation safe and secure is the highest priority of the Australian Government and we are doing everything we can to see that happen.
The Coalition Government is leaving no stone unturned in stopping people from going down the dark path of radicalisation.