Australian migrants struggle to find work



Chef preparing duck in restaurant

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The BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney reports on the increasingly tough labour market for migrants in Australia.

To watch chef Zeng Qing Chen carve duck meat into moon-shaped entrees in a steam-filled kitchen at his Chinese restaurant is to see a master craftsman at work.

Born in Beijing, he spoke only Mandarin when he settled in Australia in the late 1980s.

He now owns a flourishing business in the solidly middle-class Chatswood district of Sydney, but in the early days a lack of English was a real obstacle. Unable to find work, he went to college.

“The language is the first priority to mix with the locals, so I went to school to learn English. When you have English you can communicate and you can start a new life,” he explains.

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Often people who have got names such as Mohammed or Abdul are not even getting that opportunity of being interviewed”

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Joe Caputo
FECCA

“I am working hard, seven days a week, no break, no holiday. I deserve to have a good income, so life is good, and family is good, children are good. Happy life, but working hard!”

Other migrants, however, have found that speaking English alone has not been enough to help them break into their chosen fields.

‘Concerning’

Recent figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that one in three migrants who are in employment found it tough to land their first job, a figure virtually unchanged from the same survey conducted three years ago.

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) says that new migrants endure far higher rates of joblessness than other Australians.

“The rate of unemployment of people newly arrived from non-English speaking backgrounds is double [the national average]. That is concerning to us,” says the FECCA’s Italian-born chairperson, Joe Caputo.

An unemployed man holding a sign offering to work for food for his children as Australia's unemployment rate spiked to a 12-year high of 6.4 percent in JulyAustralia’s jobless rate hit a 12-year high in July because of its slowing economy

A record monthly increase in jobs last month has sent Australia’s creeping unemployment rate into retreat from a 12-year high of 6.4% reached in July.

But a more robust labour market, into which about 120,000 positions were added in August, disguises a far gloomier outlook for migrants and temporary residents.

Job discrimination

Recent settlers often struggle to find work in Australia because of a lack of relevant experience or references, language problems and prejudice.

Most eventually overcome these initial struggles, and become part of the kaleidoscopic fabric of their adopted homeland, but it can be a frustrating journey.

“We know that there is a degree of discrimination,” Mr Caputo says. “Often people who have got names such as Mohammed or Abdul are not even getting that opportunity of being interviewed.

“We often find that people have to change their names. Once they change their names at least they get to the interviewing table,” he says, adding that employment is important to making sure migrants become part of society and not alienated from it.

History of migration

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It is quite clear the links between immigration and trade, and foreign investment have improved Australia’s per capita income”

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Tim Harcourt
UNSW economist

More than 40% of Australians were either born overseas or have at least one foreign-born parent. Theirs is a modern country built by successive waves of settlers.

The issue of immigration can be a battlefield, especially over asylum seekers who come by sea, where the debate is divisive and often toxic.

But Tim Harcourt, an economist at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) believes there is a general acceptance that broader immigration has been a critical foundation of Australia’s economic success.

“There’s an overwhelming consensus in Australia that multiculturalism and immigration has been a good thing,” he says.

“If you think of Westfield, Bing Lee or Myer – any of our great [retail] icons – they have been started by someone with probably no English and no capital in their pocket who have come to this country. You wouldn’t have this great entrepreneurial spirit without immigration.”

There is little or no appetite in Australia, according to Mr Harcourt, for stricter language controls on new migrants because it would be an unsavoury reminder of the “White Australia Policy” that used a controversial dictation test to stop non-whites entering the country.

While there are sections of Australian society that consider immigration levels too high, the majority view is that diversity has brought prosperity.

“It is quite clear the links between immigration and trade, and foreign investment have improved Australia’s per capita income,” Mr Harcourt adds.

Deep frustrations

John KonJohn Kon first entered Australia as a refugee before becoming a naturalised citizen

Nevertheless, the frustrations of migrants trying to find skilled work is evident in the Sydney suburb of Auburn, one of Australia’s most multicultural neighbourhoods.

John Kon, a young refugee from South Sudan, is a community worker who has a degree in medical science, and has ambitions to become a doctor.

“I had to struggle actually,” Mr Kon says. “For the first three years when I first came to Australia I had to struggle to go to school to learn more, and then I had to go to the factories.

“Getting a factory job was really very difficult too, so I had to keep trying until I got my first job.”

For his friend, Akok Ngor, a job delivering pizzas and work in a warehouse helped to fund a university education, although a prized job as a project manager in the construction industry remains elusive.

“I am working as a casual bus driver and I am holding a bachelor of business degree. Can you believe that?” he says.

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Shot Australian ‘was terror suspect’

Police and forensic officers investigate the scene of a fatal shooting of an 18-year-old man at Endeavour Hills Police Station in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, on 24 September 2014Police said the man stabbed the officers as they came to greet him

A teenager shot dead after he stabbed two police officers was a “known terror suspect” whose passport had been cancelled on security grounds, Australian officials say.

The incident happened at a Melbourne police station late on Tuesday.

The 18-year-old, who had been asked to attend an interview, stabbed two counter-terrorism officers several times. One of them then shot him.

Police would not confirm reports he made threats against PM Tony Abbott.

Media reports also said he had been seen with a flag of Islamic State (IS, also known as Isil), the radical Islamist group that controls areas of Iraq and Syria.

“It is true to say there was a flag involved, whether it was Isil or not is not absolutely clear to me but there are some concerns about that issue,” Commissioner Ken Lay of Victoria Police said.

Forensic police are seen at the scene where a man as shot dead after stabbing two counter terrorism officers in the suburb of Endeavour Hills on 24 September 2014 in Melbourne, AustraliaThe incident took place on Tuesday evening at a police station in Melbourne

The man, who was named in parliament as Abdul Numan Haider, is of Afghan origin and had been associated with al-Furqan, a radical group, local reports said.

Mr Lay said he stabbed the officers as they greeted him.

“One’s extended his hand to shake his hand and the response has been he’s been stabbed in the arm,” he said.

“The attacker’s then turned on the second police member and stabbed him three or four times in the body and in the head.

“The first wounded member has then shot and killed the young man.”

Both officers required surgery, but were in a stable condition, police said.

Terror raids

The 18-year-old was described by Justice Minister Michael Keenan as “a known terror suspect who was a person of interest to law enforcement and intelligence agencies”.

Police said the meeting at the Endeavour Hills police station was prompted by an escalation of activity that had led to concern.

Mr Abbott, who is overseas, said the incident showed “that there are people in our community who are capable of very extreme acts”.

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer patrols in front of Parliament House in Canberra (23 September 2014)Security has been tightened across Australia recently, including outside parliament

The incident came days after police conducted major anti-terror raids in Sydney and Brisbane in response to an alleged plot by IS followers to publicly behead a randomly-selected Australian.

One man has been charged with serious terrorism offences following that operation.

In recent months, Australian officials have been expressing growing concern over the the impact of Australians fighting with Islamist groups in the Middle East on domestic security.

They are concerned both about returnees and those who sympathise with the causes they advocate.

In response, the government is introducing new legislation to prevent Australians travelling to conflict zones to join militant groups, and to penalise those who do.

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Australian ‘terror suspect’ killed

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott briefs media in Sydney, 19 Sept 2014The man had reportedly made threats against Mr Abbott

An 18-year-old man who had made threats against Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been shot dead in Melbourne, reports say.

The man had been under surveillance as a “person of interest”, and was being investigated over claims of terrorism, the ABC broadcaster said.

Two police officers were reportedly stabbed by the man before he was shot.

They have both been taken to hospital and one is reported to be in a critical but stable condition.

The incident happened when the man arrived at a police station in the Endeavour Hills suburb of Melbourne on Tuesday evening.

He had been asked to attend an interview there, ABC reports.

According to Sky News Australia, the man was brandishing a flag of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer patrols in front of Parliament House in Canberra (23 September 2014)Security has been tightened across Australia recently, including outside parliament

The crew of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) F/A-18F Super Hornet sit in the cockpit as they prepare to take-off from RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland (Australia has pledged that its fighter jets will play a part in US-led air strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq

Terror suspect under arrest in Sydney (18 September 2014)Last week’s raids are being called Australia’s biggest ever anti-terrorism operation

A police statement said that an Australian Federal Police officer and a Victoria state police officer – part of a joint counter-terrorism team – met the teenager outside the station. It was then that the violence erupted.

The Melbourne Age quoted onlookers as saying that the man had been shouting insults at Mr Abbott and the Australian government in general in the moments before he was shot.

Sources quoted by The Australian said that he was a “known extremist” who was intercepted by two teams of police. The paper said it is believed that he had recently had his passport cancelled.

The incident has occurred amid heightened tensions due to major counter-terrorism raids last week in Sydney and Brisbane.

The raids were aimed at disrupting alleged IS-linked plans to publicly behead a randomly-selected Australian.

Australian authorities believe at least 60 Australians are in the Middle East fighting with IS (also known as Isis or Isil) and other militant groups.

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Tipsy Australian ‘repels’ crocodile

A large saltwater crocodile shows aggression. File photoCrocodile numbers have increased in Australia since being declared a protected species in 1971

An Australian hunter says he has survived a crocodile attack – by poking the reptile in the eye.

Stephen Moreen, 20, said he waded into water in the Northern Territory to retrieve a goose he had shot when the crocodile grabbed and pulled him under.

When the hunter jabbed the 2m-long (6ft 6in) animal in the eye, it let him go.

The hunter’s cousin then shot the reptile. Mr Moreen admitted he had been “a little bit tipsy” at the time.

He said he drank some more beer to numb the pain from minor injuries as he waited for an ambulance.

“I have a scratch on my back, the rest (is) on my arm. He (the crocodile) ripped out a bit of skin and left me with two to three holes,” he was quoted as saying by Australia’s ABC broadcaster.

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The incident happened on Friday evening in Peppimenarti, about 320km (198 miles) south-west of Darwin.

Last month, a fisherman was killed by a giant saltwater crocodile as he waded into the Adelaide River, south of Darwin.

Crocodile numbers have increased since being declared a protected species in 1971. They are a common feature of Australia’s tropical north.

The Australian government rejected a controversial plan to allow crocodile safari hunting in the Northern Territory in March.

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New Zealand votes in ‘dirtiest’ poll

Prime Minister John Key gives the thumbs up outside his campaign bus during the National Party Bus TripPrime Minister John Key remains popular despite allegations of dirty politics and domestic surveillance

Voters in New Zealand have begun voting after what is being called the dirtiest campaign in the nation’s history.

Until very recently Prime Minister John Key looked set to easily win a third term.

But in recent weeks he has been forced to defend his National Party against allegations of dirty politics and planning mass domestic surveillance.

Mr Key’s personal popularity, however, remains strong among voters, polls show.

On Friday, a New Zealand Herald poll showed the National Party had 48% support. The main opposition Labour Party held 26%, with 11% for the Greens.

New Zealand’s proportional representation electoral system means a coalition government is more likely than any one party winning a majority.

My Key might be forced to rely on New Zealand First’s leader, Winston Peters, to form a government. Mr Peters, who has been in this position before, has not said which way his party will go.

Labour would need to form a coalition with the Greens, their old ally, New Zealand First and potentially the Internet-Mana Party which has been funded by Kim Dotcom, the online billionaire accused of copyright infringement in the US.

“Distractions”

Mr Key, a former banker, has campaigned on his strong economic track record and has pledged tax cuts.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has promised to narrow the wealth gap through a capital gains tax and raising the minimum wage.

Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Internet Party leader Laila Harre, Robert Amsterdam, Glenn Greenwald at Kim Dotcom's Moment of Truth rallyWhistleblower Edward Snowden and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange took part in Kim Dotcom’s rally via video links

However, the main policy issues have been somewhat overshadowed by allegations in a book Dirty Politics that National used bloggers to smear opponents. It resulted in the resignation of Justice Minister Judith Collins.

Then Mr Dotcom held an event featuring Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency whistleblower, and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who accused Mr Key of mass domestic spying.

However, Mr Key dismissed the allegations. “There’s been all these distractions and different issues going on but the polling hasn’t really moved,” he told reporters on Friday. “There’s just the natural tightening you get in any [campaign] cycle.”

Polling ends for the 3.4 million eligible voters at 19:00 local time (07:00 GMT) and initial results are expected a few hours later.

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Australia boosts parliament security

New South Wales Police and Australian Federal Police officers raid a house in Sydney, Australia, on 18 September 2014 Police conducted sweeping anti-terror raids in Sydney on Thursday

Security is being upgraded at the Australian parliament following “chatter” suggesting extremists could target it for attack.

PM Tony Abbot said Australian Federal Police would assume responsibility for security at the site in Canberra.

The move came a day after major anti-terrorism raids took place in Sydney.

They were aimed at thwarting an alleged plan by Islamic State (IS) supporters to carry out killings in Australia, including an on-camera beheading.

In recent weeks, IS – a militant Islamist movement which has seized vast areas of Iraq and Syria – has released video footage showing the beheadings of two American journalists and a British aid worker seized.

‘Unusual level of fanaticism’

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Mr Abbott said parliament had been identified as a potential target.

“There certainly has been chatter amongst the terrorist support networks of an attack on government and government people, and Parliament House has been specifically mentioned,” he said.

As a result, an urgent security review had taken place.

“Subsequently we are placing the Australian Federal Police in charge of security, not just outside the building but inside the building as well,” he said.

Security has until now been handled by an in-house security team.

Asked about Thursday’s raids, Mr Abbott said that security officials had acted quickly to disrupt the alleged terror network “because we believed that a demonstration execution was likely quickly”.

More than 800 officers took part in the operation, which resulted in 15 arrests.

Terror suspect under arrest in Sydney (18 September 2014)Thursday’s raids have been described as Australia’s biggest anti-terrorism operation

Australian PM Tony Abbott in file image from 31 August 2014Mr Abbott said security officials had to act quickly in response to intelligence received

Australia media reports say the operation was triggered by an intercepted telephone call between the most senior Australian member of IS and domestic sympathisers in which he told them to carry out a series of random beheadings.

Two men have since been charged. One of them, 22-year-old Omarjan Azari, has been charged with conspiracy to commit acts in preparation of a terrorist act and financing terrorism, the AFP said in a statement.

Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said Mr Azari had planned to commit “extremely serious” offences that involved “an unusual level of fanaticism” and were “clearly designed to shock, horrify and terrify” the public.

A 24-year-old man was charged with unauthorised possession of a prohibited weapon and possessing ammunition without a licence.

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Australia and foreign fighters:

Phil Mercer: Australia’s home-grown terror threat

Who are Australia’s radicalised Muslims?

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Australia last week raised its terror threat level from medium to high – the second highest rank – amid mounting concern over the impact of Australians fighting with Islamic militant groups in the Middle East on domestic security.

Officials say dozens of Australians have gone to fight for IS, which has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, and the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in Syria.

Australia has recently committed troops to combat IS in Iraq.

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Australia want Lions 2017 tour game

Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver says he wants the British and Irish Lions to start their 2017 tour of New Zealand in Australia.

The Lions began their

successful tour of Australia last year

against the Barbarians in Hong Kong, although dates and fixtures for 2017 have yet to be announced.

“If they want preliminary games outside New Zealand then we would be a wonderful location for them. We would take it in a heartbeat,” Pulver said.

“That’s one of the conversations we’ve been having with them.”

The Lions were

whitewashed 3-0 by the All Blacks

on their last tour of New Zealand in 2005.

Lions

The British and Irish Lions triumphed 2-1 in Australia last year

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Australia in ‘beheading plot’ raids



A suspect is arrested in anti-terrorism raids

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Jon Donnison: “Authorities think an attack is not just possible but likely”

Police have carried out anti-terror raids in Sydney sparked by intelligence reports that Islamic extremists were planning random killings in Australia.

PM Tony Abbott said a senior Australian Islamic State militant had called for “demonstration killings”, reportedly including a public beheading.

The raids, with at least 800 heavily-armed officers, led to 15 arrests.

One man has been charged with planning an attack. Prosecutors said he planned to “gruesomely” execute someone.

Australian media reports said a plot involved beheading a random member of the public after draping them in an Islamic State flag.

Asked about the reports in a press conference, Mr Abbott said: “That’s the intelligence we received.”

“Direct exhortations were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL (Islamic State) to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country.”



Tony Abbott

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott says there was “intent” to carry out terror attacks


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Analysis: BBC’s Jon Donnison in Sydney

The news of an alleged plot to publicly behead a random Australian will shock many people here, including the vast majority of this country’s long-established moderate Muslim community.

Many Muslims are unhappy with what’s going on in Iraq and Syria but would never resort to violence. These raids risk antagonising the broader Islamic community.

But Australia, like many countries including Britain, is worried about the threat from Islamic State, not just abroad but at home. More than a decade on from Australia’s support for the US-led war in Iraq, the country finds itself embroiled in a conflict that is far from over.

Tony Abbott this week announced he is sending 600 troops to the Middle East to assist in the fight against Islamic State. Security forces clearly face a battle at home too.

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“So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.”

Mr Abbott did not name the Australian concerned. But local reports say an intercepted phone call involving Mohammad Ali Baryalei, a former Sydney bouncer described as Australia’s most senior IS member, and domestic IS supporters triggered the operation.

In recent weeks, IS has released video footage showing three foreign nationals seized in Syria being beheaded.

Terror suspect under arrest in Sydney (18 September 2014)Police say that at least 15 people were arrested in the early morning raids

Forensic experts collect evidence from a house in the Guildford area of Sydney on 18 September 2014Hundreds of officers were involved in the early-morning raids

‘Random attacks’

Police say the anti-terror operation was the largest in Australian history.

The raids began early on Thursday, with officers executing 25 search warrants across 12 Sydney suburbs.

One of the arrested men, Omarjan Azari, 22, later appeared in a Sydney court charged with conspiracy to prepare for a terrorist attack.

Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said Mr Azari planned to commit “extremely serious” offences “clearly designed to shock, horrify and terrify” the public.

Other raids took place in Brisbane. Acting Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said they were not “directly linked” to the Sydney operation but related to a raid last week on an Islamic centre that led to two men being charged with terrorism offences.

Terror suspect under arrest in Sydney (18 September 2014)The arrests have been described as Australia’s biggest anti-terrorism operation

Police and other law enforcement agencies cordon off a street as forensic experts collect evidence inside a house in the Guildford area of Sydney  (18 September 2014)Police cordoned off a street as forensic experts collected evidence from a house in the Guildford area of Sydney

A police officer searches a house in Mount Gravatt, Brisbane (18 September 2014)Police also carried out raids in Brisbane

Last week, Australia raised its terror threat level to high amid concerns of the growing number of Australians “working with, connected to or inspired by” Islamist groups.

Officials say dozens of Australians have gone to fight in the Middle East for jihadist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as the al-Nusra Front).

At least 60 Australians are believed to be fighting with jihadist groups in Syria and northern Iraq, and 15 Australians have been killed so far in these conflicts, including two suicide bombers.

About 100 more Australians are thought to be actively supporting these groups, police say.

Officials are worried about the impact of both returning fighters and supporters of these groups on domestic security.

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Australia and foreign fighters:

  • 21 Jul: Officials say Australian suicide bomber behind Iraq blast
  • 5 Aug: New legislation aimed at preventing people going to fight in the Middle East announced
  • 11 Aug: Image emerges of son of Australian fighter holding severed head of Syrian soldier
  • 27 Aug: New counter-terrorism units set up in airports to stop departing fighters
  • 10 Sept: Brisbane Islamic centre raided; two charged with terrorism offences
  • 12 Sept: Australia raises terror threat level
  • 14 Sept: PM Abbott commits 600 troops to fight against IS

Phil Mercer: Australia’s home-grown terror threat

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It is the first time Australia’s threat level has moved from medium to high – the second-highest rank – since the system was introduced in 2003.

“Medium” means an attack could occur. “High” means an attack is likely and “extreme” means an attack is imminent or has occurred.

Australia has also recently committed troops to the fight against Islamic State.

Mr Abbott, who has been spending a week in an indigenous area in northern Australia, is heading back south to see off departing troops.

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Australia launches anti-terror raids

Australian police. File photoAustralian police declined to provide any immediate further details of the operation

Australian police have made arrests in Sydney and Brisbane, in what they say is the nation’s biggest counter-terrorism operation.

More than 600 heavily armed officers raided properties in the two cities. Police said the operation was ongoing, giving no further details.

Last week the country raised its terror threat level from medium to high.

The move comes in response to growing concern over the domestic impact of militant conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

‘No specific intelligence’

Police said the raids were being carried out in the western parts of Sydney and Brisbane’s south.

Officials declined to say exactly how many people were arrested. Further updates are expected later on Thursday.

Separately, in one part of Sydney, death threats were shouted from a car bearing a flag of Islamic State militants near a church, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald reported.

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A local priest was quoted as saying the people in the vehicle threatened to “kill the Christians”.

Last week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the country had raised its terror threat level to high amid concerns of the growing number of Australians “working with, connected to or inspired by” Islamist groups.

But he said: “I want to stress that this does not mean that a terror attack is imminent. We have no specific intelligence of particular plots.”

Officials say dozens of Australians have gone to fight for jihadist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as the al-Nusra Front) in the Middle East.

Officials are worried about the impact of both returning fighters and supporters of these groups on domestic security.

At least 60 Australians are believed to be fighting with jihadist groups in Syria and northern Iraq, and 15 Australians have been killed so far in these conflicts, including two suicide bombers.

About 100 more Australians are thought to be actively supporting these groups, they say.

Last week, police raided an Islamic centre in Queensland and arrested two men.

It is the first time Australia has moved from medium to high – the second-highest rank – since the threat level system was introduced in 2003.

“Medium” means an attack could occur. “High” means an attack is likely and “extreme” means an attack is imminent or has occurred.

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Australia to join anti-IS force

A member of Australia's Air Force carries out checks on a Super Hornet fighter jet - 11 August 2014The 600-strong force will include up to eight Super Hornet fighter jets, PM Abbott says

Australia says it is sending 600 troops to the Middle East ahead of possible combat operations against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the deployment, initially to the United Arab Emirates, was in response to a specific US request.

Nearly 40 countries, including 10 Arab states, have signed up to a US-led plan to tackle the extremist group.

France is hosting a regional security summit on Monday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris late on Saturday after a four-day tour of the Middle East trying to drum up support for action against IS.

Last week, US President Barack Obama presented a strategy to fight the group in both Iraq and Syria.

Speaking on Sunday, Prime Minister Abbott said Iraq had made it clear that it would “very much welcome” a military contribution to restore security.



US Secretary of State John Kerry with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry and Egyptian President Sisi

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Barbara Plett-Usher says Egypt and the US are united against a common threat

He said the force, which will also include up to eight Super Hornet fighter jets, was part of “an international coalition” not simply an “American-Australian operation”.

Mr Abbott said no decision had yet been taken to commit the forces, which will begin deploying next week, to combat action.

The announcement comes two days after Australia raised its terrorism threat level from medium to high.

Security officials are thought to be concerned by the growing number of Australians “working with, connected to or inspired by” Islamist groups, Mr Abbott said on Friday.

Islamic State is now in control of large parts of Iraq and Syria and the CIA estimates that the group could have as many as 30,000 fighters in the region.

Members of a Shia militia launch rockets towards Islamic State fighters during heavy fighting near Tikrit in northern Iraq - 12 September 2014Iraqi forces are fighting alongside Kurdish fighters and Shia militias against Islamic State in northern Iraq

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt - 13 September 2014John Kerry has managed to secure the support of 10 Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar

US air strikes have targeted IS in Iraq in recent weeks and President Obama has vowed to “hunt down” the group after it beheaded two American journalists.

Late on Saturday a video was also released appearing to show the beheading of UK hostage David Haines.

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America seeks to emerge as a Hollywood-style hero battling a crisis of its own making”

End Quote
Admiral Ali Shamkhani
Senior Iranian official

On Monday, French President Francois Hollande will welcome diplomats from up to 20 countries for a conference on Iraqi security.

The talks come ahead of a UN Security Council meeting next week and a heads of state meeting at the UN General Assembly later this month.

Iran unimpressed

One country not attending is Iran, which voiced its unhappiness at not being on the “selective guest list” by dismissing the talks as “just for show”.

“What would interest Iran is a real fight against terrorism in the region and around the world, not this selective one,” deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told state television.

On Friday, Mr Kerry said the US would not be seeking the involvement of Iran in its coalition because of its “engagement in Syria and elsewhere”.

Iran has backed the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, while the US and several European and Gulf countries have supported the rebel factions fighting to overthrow him.

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence in the Iraqi town of Sinjar west of Mosul, line up to receive food at a refugee camp - 13 September 2014The violence in Iraq in recent months is thought to have displaced an estimated 1.2 million people

The US stance was attacked in Iran, with one senior official accusing the US of playing a “central role” in “arming and training terrorist groups to topple the legal Syrian government”.

“In taking a big jump ahead of international bodies, America seeks to emerge as a Hollywood-style hero battling a crisis of its own making,” Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told state news agency IRNA.

In recent months IS has expanded from its stronghold in eastern Syria and seized control of more towns, cities, army bases and weaponry in Iraq.

The US has already carried out more than 150 air strikes in northern Iraq. It has also sent hundreds of military advisers to assist Iraqi government and Kurdish forces, but has ruled out sending ground troops.

Graphic of US air strikes on Iraq and Islamic State attacks

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Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-29195689#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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