SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
MEMBER FOR ISAACS
PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY
RELISTING OF HIZBALLAH
23 JUNE 2021
Hizballah’s External Security Organisation has been listed as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code since 5 June 2003. It has been re-listed in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2015 and – in the last Parliament – on 2 May 2018.
On the 29th of April this year, Hizballah’s External Security Organisation was re-listed again and this report marks the completion of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s review of that decision.
All members of the Committee support the re-listing of Hizballah’s External Security Organisation as a terrorist organisation because of its record of directly and indirectly engaging in and supporting terrorist acts.
However, as the Committee did in June 2018, we are again asking why the Government has decided to confine the re-listing of Hizballah only to its External Security Organisation.
In June 2018, the Intelligence and Security Committee recommended that further consideration be given to extending the listing to the military wing of Hizballah.
Regrettably, the Government does not appear to have given this recommendation such consideration.
In this report, the Committee has gone further than it went in 2018 – by calling on the Government to give consideration to extending the listing to the entirety of Hizballah or, at the very least, to the military wing of the organisation.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and the Arab League all list the entirety of Hizballah, including its military wing, as a terrorist organisation.
The overwhelming evidence to the Committee has made clear that Hizballah is a unitary organisation, and it is difficult to see how it can realistically, or reasonably, be subdivided into different parts – only one of which constitutes a “terrorist organisation”.
Let’s be clear about who – and what – Hizballah is.
I have visited the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires. In 1994, a van loaded with explosives was driven into the building by a suicide bomber – killing 85 people and injuring hundreds more.
All of the evidence points to Iran and Hizballah being behind the bombing.
Given that even some representatives of Hizballah itself have said that it is “delusional” to draw a distinction between the so-called military and political wings of the organisation, I find it difficult to understand why it should matter what part of Hizballah carried out this devastating attack against the Jewish community in Buenos Aires.
In 2019, the United Kingdom moved from listing only the military wing of Hizballah to the whole of the organisation. In announcing the decision in the House of Commons on 26 February 2019, the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
… There have long been calls to ban the whole group, with the distinction between the two factions derided as smoke and mirrors. Hezbollah itself has laughed off the suggestion that there is a difference. I have carefully considered the evidence and I am satisfied that they are one and the same, with the entire organisation being linked to terrorism. …
This Government have continued to call on Hezbollah to end its armed status; it has not listened. Indeed, its behaviour has escalated; the distinction between its political and military wings is now untenable. It is right that we act now to proscribe this entire organisation.
Here in Australia, the Morrison Government has not followed the clear approach of our key allies, without – it must be said – explaining its position publicly, even at the most general level.
That is unsatisfactory, to say the least.
I urge the Government to read the Committee’s bipartisan report carefully and take its recommendations seriously. The Australian people deserve no less.