Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday that his government would seek to revoke the citizenship or curb the rights of Australians involved in terrorism and tighten immigration, visa and hate speech laws in a crackdown on terrorism.
“The terrorist threat is rising at home and abroad, and it is becoming harder to combat,” Abbott said. “By any measure the threat to Australia is worsening.”
Abbott’s national security address, delivered at the Australian Federal Police headquarters in Canberra, the capital, followed the release of a review of the nation’s counterterrorism operations and a report on Sunday into a 17-hour siege in a Sydney cafe, in which three people died, including the gunman, who had aligned himself with ISIL.
The national counterterrorism strategy introduced Monday would include the appointment of a senior official to oversee counterterrorism measures, better coordination among Australia’s surveillance agencies and initiatives to counter violent extremism.
The prime minister pledged stronger prohibitions on hate speech, intimidation and inciting hatred, but he stopped short of outlawing any organization.
He also announced measures to curb the rights of Australian nationals, suspending some of their citizenship entitlements if they engage in terrorism. This could include restricting a person’s ability to leave or return to Australia.
He also urged Australia’s Muslim leaders to speak up against the radicalization of young men and women. “I have often heard Western leaders describe Islam as the religion of peace,” Mr. Abbott said. “I wish more Muslim leaders would say that more often, and mean it.
“Everybody, including Muslim community leaders, needs to speak up clearly because, no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents must surely be blasphemy against all religion.”