Scott Morrison has vowed to make stalled foreign fighter laws a key priority of a returned Coalition government, demanding they be passed by both houses within the first week of the new parliament, setting up an election clash with Bill Shorten over national security.
The Conservative Party is strongly in support of the legislation which the Prime Minister yesterday accused Mr Shorten of holding up in parliament.
The Weekend Australian reports, the legislation will give the government greater powers to prevent and control the return of foreign fighters, following the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday bombings which killed 253 people.
“If we are elected we want to see it passed in that first week … It must be.”
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security recommended that the temporary exclusion orders laws be passed, with Labor’s support, in the final week of parliament.
The national security challenge to Mr Shorten came as the Opposition Leader faced another difficult day on the hustings.
Late yesterday he was forced into agreeing to a third leaders’ debate despite refusing requests earlier this week from the Nine Network and ABC.
And Mr Shorten’s political attack on the government for cutting a preference swap with Clive Palmer backfired when the United Australia Party leader confirmed that ALP powerbrokers had secretly approached him to secure their own preferences deal.
Mr Morrison yesterday called out Labor over holding up the foreign fighter legislation.
The Weekend Australian has learned from intelligence sources that Islamic State played a direct role in the planning of the attack and the targets, raising fears that the terror group is tapping into networks outside Syria that are strengthened by the return of foreign fighters with hardened combat experience.
Mr Morrison attacked Labor’s record on national security laws, arguing that the government had been “endeavouring to bring in temporary exclusion orders” that would prevent an individual from returning to Australia for up to two years unless they were issued with a permit putting conditions on their re-entry.
The Prime Minister accused Labor of “dragging its feet” on the proposed foreign fighter legislation, which was introduced into parliament in February by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and referred to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security.
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