Senior NSW politician adds his voice to listing Hezbollah as 100% terrorist group in Australia

July 23, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The NSW Shadow Minister for Police and Counter-Terrorism has thrown his support behind a growing campaign to list the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation in Australia.

Walt Secord in Buenos Aries

This follows a bipartisan Federal report on June 22 by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) that recommended the full listing of Hezbollah in Australia. It unanimously recommended that the Morrison Government’s Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrew designate the Iranian regime-backed Hezbollah’s entire organisation as a terrorist entity.

NSW Shadow Minister for Police and Counter-Terrorism Walt Secord said: “I would like to see the Morrison Government accept the parliamentary committee’s recommendation.

I would also like to see the Berejiklian Government support the listing and urge their Federal counterparts to take action.

For those who monitor extremist groups, the appearance of Hezbollah flags at recent anti-Israel rallies in Sydney is disturbing and chilling.

Make no mistake, Hezbollah is a deadly terrorist organisation and it has carried out a number of terrorist attacks around the world, including the 1994 attack in Buenos Aires where a suicide bomber took a van loaded with explosives to the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA –  Argentine Israelite Mutual Association) building – killing 85 people and injuring hundreds more. This was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack since the Shoah.”

In December 2019, Mr Secord visited Buenos Aires and the site of the 1994 AMIA attack and the 1992 attack on the Israeli Embassy in Argentina.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim political party, militia, transnational terrorist and organised crime group.

Australia only designates Hezbollah’s “External Security Organisation (ESO)” as a terrorist organisation.

This despite about 20 countries including Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Arab League fully listing Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

A number of Jewish communal organisations have also called for the full listing. They include the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the Australia-Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, and the Zionist Federation of Australia.

In June 2021, the PJCIS again reviewed the terrorist listing of Hezbollah’s ESO. This time, it recommended that the Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews expand the listing further to encompass Hezbollah in its entirety. AIJAC was among the interested parties to provide evidence urging the PJCIS to make this recommendation.

In making the recommendation, PJCIS chair Senator James Paterson said: “The evidence provided to the committee was overwhelmingly supportive of proscribing Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organisation, rather than only the ESO. On the strength of this evidence, the committee thinks it’s time for the government to consider expanding the listing as all of our Five Eyes partners have done.”

The committee’s deputy chair Mr Anthony Byrne MP also said: “It’s clear that the distinction drawn between the ESO and the rest of Hezbollah is arbitrary, and in the committee’s judgement, not something Australia should persist with.”

In mid-July, Mr Secord, who is also the deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel and patron of the NSW Labor Israel Action Committee lodged a series of formal questions on notice in the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council.

Mr Secord asked the NSW Government’s view on the proposal to fully list Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. Mr Secord posed the questions to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Police Minister David Elliot and the Minister for Counter-Terrorism, Anthony Roberts.

Presently, under Australia’s Criminal Code, it is illegal to support the Hezbollah ESO. The Australian Government claims that the ESO is a discrete wing of Hezbollah that sits within its military apparatus and organises terrorist attacks outside of Lebanon. The rest of Hezbollah can be legally supported by Australians, including sending money or recruiting people to join the organisation. This stands in stark contrast to the approach to Sunni Muslim terrorist groups, like ISIS and Al Qaeda, which are banned in Australia.

Walt Secord has asked the NSW government if has expressed a position or a view to the Federal Government on a full listing of Hezbollah.

He added: “If so, what is the New South Wales Government’s position on the full listing of Hezbollah? If not, why has it declined to provide advice or a state a position on Hezbollah?”

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