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Parliamentary Committee recommends Australia expand listing of Hezbollah

Jun 22, 2021 | AIJAC staff

2560px Flag Of Hezbollah.svg

The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) extends its appreciation to the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) for its recommendation that Australia consider listing all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

After a thorough examination of Australia’s current listing of Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation (ESO), the committee unanimously recommended that Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews consider expanding Australia’s listing to include the entirety of the Lebanese-based, Iran-backed organisation.

Over the past 18 years, AIJAC has consistently advocated for Hezbollah to be listed under Australia’s Criminal Code as a unitary organisation. AIJAC has long argued that listing the Hezbollah ESO is not effective to protect Australia’s national security.

AIJAC, as well as the Zionist Federation of Australia and Executive Council of Australian Jewry, each presented a written submission to the committee noting that expanding the listing would be both in Australia’s national interest and would prevent Hezbollah taking advantage of Australia as a safehaven – as other countries have moved to ban the militant group. Australia’s Five-Eyes security allies, the US, UK and Canada, all proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety. New Zealand lists Hezbollah’s Military Wing.

AIJAC was also invited to answer questions posed by members of the committee – including but not limited to chair Senator James Paterson, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs Kristina Kenneally and Member for Berowra Julian Leeser – at a public hearing.

“This is a mighty step in the right direction for Australia and reflects the seriousness with which the committee takes the deadly activities of Hezbollah,” AIJAC executive director Dr Colin Rubenstein said.

“I thank chair Senator James Paterson, Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus and all the other committee members for their thoughtful consideration of this matter.”

“I urge Minister Andrews to seriously consider the committee’s recommendations. This committee, which reached its recommendations unanimously, very rarely proposes a change to the Minister’s decision when it comes to terrorism listings. The fact that it has recommended a change to the current listing needs to be respected.”

Three years ago, the last time the listing of the Hezbollah’s ESO was reviewed, the PJCIS recommended the Australian Government extend Australia’s terrorist listing to the entirety of the Military Wing. That recommendation was not accepted by then-Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.

“It is now the right time for the Australian Government to list Hezbollah in its entirety,” Dr Rubenstein added. “During the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, we saw Australians flying Hezbollah flags on Sydney streets and read vile comments from Australians who support the murderous group on social media.”

Hezbollah has perpetrated extensive terrorism at home and abroad and is responsible for the killing of scores of Lebanese, Israelis and Americans. Hezbollah is known to be active in Australia and a dual Australian-Lebanese Hezbollah operative was sentenced in absentia to life in prison in Bulgaria in 2020 for his role in a terrorist attack that killed six people. Hezbollah, supported by its Iranian puppet masters, is also sworn to the destruction of Israel.

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