SUBJECTS: Terrorist attacks; technology companies co-operating with government; national unity.

07 June 2017

KIERAN GILBERT, PRESENTER: With me now Labor front bencher, Ed Husic. Just heart-breaking. The cowardice of those attackers, tearing down the lives of these two young women in their twenties with confirmation as well this morning, Sara Zelenak also killed. Its just awful.
ED HUSIC: Its just wrong. To the Boden and Zelenak families: the heart aches and obviously the deepest and most heart-felt condolences to them. Two young Australians who had a lot to give you heard the stories and the backgrounds to both of them. In particular, Kirsty was very giving of herself. As the South Australian Premier rightly pointed out, all deaths are hard to deal with but the circumstances around the loss of life in these two cases are particularly tough. No one should be forced to endure that and go through that.
I guess I would start by the words that were used at the end of your last interview with Dan Tehan, by Dan Tehan, when he said this is a time not to divide but to unite to deal with something that has an impact on the broader Australian community and look at that challenge head on, but in a united way.
GILBERT: On that front, whats the Labor view when it comes to this idea of getting better access to encrypted technologies and that sort of thing to prevent these barbarians from using the technologies to communicate out of the reach of intelligence and security?
HUSIC: We do need to find a way to deal with that, particularly to be responsive to the concerns of the national security agencies that know that these platforms are being used to communicate. This week you saw for instance concerns raised about the encrypted app, Telegram. Its been the case in the aftermath of the San Bernardino terrorist attack in the US, where the authorities were trying to get access to the iPhone that was used and this caused a big ruckus in the States because some companies feel they are trying to do their best to protect consumer privacy but national security agencies have a job to do to protect the livelihoods of people in countries. So it is something that needs to be dealt with.
I also wanted to pick up on some of that conversation you had with Dan about the tech companies and the issue of radicalisation. I think Facebook and Twitter have taken too long to respond on some of these issues and I think more needs to be done as well as YouTube in hosting material that is, in many instances, provoking or being used to radicalise people. Got to move quicker on this theres no excuse. And Im also keen to find out about the $40 million investment thats been made by the Federal Government. How are we going with that? What lessons are being learned? How successful is it going? Do we need to make more of an investment in de-radicalisation? I think weve all got a stake in this and we need to find out whats going on.
GILBERT: Now, in terms of the debate around Islamophobia, the description of what were seeing in terms of these attacks Islamist-inspired terrorism. What do you make of this discussion right now? Is it something that needs to be addressed that people need to confront as emanating from a strain of Islam, that its Islamist radical individuals that are carrying out these attacks?
HUSIC: I dont want to get hung up on a debate about names and calling it whatever it is. Its Islamist terrorism and it needs to be dealt with. There are three groups that I think about in this debate: there are the people feeding the bait, the people taking the bait and theres rest of us affected by that act. We need to be able to, for the people that are taking the bait and who think they need to undertake a terrible act we need to get to those people and get to them quickly. Thats why de-radicalisation plays a part. But also for people in the community that see people wandering off the path and theyve got worries about them, we need them to keep feeding that information to agencies. We need to be as hard as a hammer on those people that are feeding the bait and trying to get other people to undertake murderous, terrorist acts. We need to deal with that as well.
Again, coming back to that point, lets unite rather than divide. Im not interested in side debates, the type of stuff youve seen being promoted earlier in the week by someone who should know better in Tony Abbott. Lets just focus on the task. Lets make people safer; lets deal with the people who want to disrupt that safety.
GILBERT: Ed Husic, were out of time. Well talk to you soon.
HUSIC: Thank you.
GILBERT: Appreciate your time this morning.