Australian Conservatives leader and South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi is warning that the repatriation of the wife of an Islamic State terrorist and her three-year-old child to Australia, could open the floodgates for foreign fighters and their families.
Australian Conservatives policy is crystal clear that there should be no repatriation for ISIS terrorists or their families. Senator Bernardi tweeted this morning:
A report in The Australian newspaper today alleges that the woman and her child were secretly returned to Australia last year, the first confirmed case of an Australian family escaping the Syrian “caliphate”, having lived in the so-called Islamic State caliphate since late 2015.
The arrival of scores of jihadis and their families poses unprecedented challenges for security services, which must monitor a generation of potentially radicalised children and their parents.
It will also tax social service providers, who are preparing to cater to the needs of dozens of traumatised children and their battle-hardened parents.
The arrival of the mother and her child marked the culmination of months of discussions between the woman, her family and Australian government officials, conducted under a cloak of total secrecy while mother and child were still in Islamic State territory.
According to ASIO, up to 70 Australian children have been caught up in the conflict, either because they were taken there by their parents or because they were fathered by Australian fighters who either married or raped women in the war zone.
Shortly after the couple’s child was born, the woman’s husband was killed in the fighting. Sources close to the woman said she became terrified. Under ISIS’s medieval legal code, women are second-class citizens and she was unable to leave the house without a male escort.
The Australian Conservatives’ policy on repatriation states that, "Permanent residents will be subject to ongoing character tests, and permanent residency will be withdrawn in the event of significant criminal conduct, either within Australia or overseas."
"This includes going to unsanctioned conflicts as a ‘foreign fighter’ or actively co-operating with Australia’s enemies."
"Foreign-born dual nationals travelling to proscribed zones like Syria without prior approval will have their Australian passports revoked. Residency withdrawal will be extended to include family members who entered Australia under the same visa application as the individual concerned."
Senator Bernardi also moved amendments during the citizenship debate last year to ban people being granted citizenship if they supported a terrorist organisation, or had travelled to a 'declared area' (a term already used by the government to describe, for instance, ISIS-controlled parts of the Middle East).