Attorney-General George Brandis Photo: Daniel MunozNSW Police arrest two men as part of investigation into terror plots
A French national was deported last month after trying to enter Australia carrying “extremist literature” and three cans of mace, just days after the Paris attacks which killed 130 people.
Attorney-General George Brandis said the man was stopped at Melbourne Airport on November 15 and detained at Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre before being deported to France where he was questioned by authorities there.
Senator Brandis said the man was questioned and searched by Australian Border Force and counter-terror officials and found to be carrying “extremist literature” and three cans of mace. He said the intervention showed the Australian government’s determination to keep the country safe.
“Everyone who comes to Australia is assessed by Australian Border Force and Australian authorities and when there is an unacceptable level of risk, and in this case the man had extremist literature and prohibited goods, then appropriate measures will be taken,” Senator Brandis told the ABC.
The man had no links with the terrorists who carried out the Paris attacks.
Real and present threat
Asked if the government was worried about a Christmas or New Year attack on home soil or the targeting of Australians abroad, Senator Brandis responded: “Of course we are.”
He said the domestic threat level had not changed since September 2014 when it was assessed that a terrorism event in Australia is likely.
“This is not something the government is saying merely to scare people,” Senator Brandis said.
“We have in the last 14 months seen three lethal terrorist events in Australia – at Endeavour Hills, at Martin Place and most recently in Parramatta, each of those was inspired, in one way or another by Islamist extremism.
“This is a real and present threat.”
Indonesia on high alert
Senator Brandis this week travelled to Indonesia with Justice Minister Michael Keenan to meet their Indonesian counterparts for talks on boosting co-operation on counter-terrorism operations.
Indonesian authorities are on high alert for a possible terror attack, noting that on Christmas Eve in 2000, Al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah operatives killed 18 people in a series of coordinated attacks.
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