Mr HOWARTH (Petrie) (13:55): I rise today to advise the House that I will be submitting a petition for consideration by the Petitions Committee next week.
Signed by more than 7,000 people from around Australia, this petition was presented to me by Mr Colin Johnston from Barnabas Fund Australia. It draws attention to the plight of persecuted Christians throughout the Middle East.
We know that Daesh—or IS—are systematically slaughtering and murdering thousands of Christians, including children, in Iraq and Syria at the moment. The Minister for Foreign Affairs recently said in her address at the Sydney Institute that Daesh ‘seeks to drag the world back to the Dark Ages in its preferred form of brutality and violence—crucifixions, beheadings, mass executions’.
It kills with impunity and glorifies murder in the online world as part of its recruitment efforts. Christians have been executed in Libya. Minorities in Iraq and Syria are brutalised. This includes the appalling abduction of hundreds of Yazidi women and girls.
I want to acknowledge the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton, who has allocated 4,400 humanitarian spots for these people in need. Australia has joined an international response. We are among 30 nations providing support to eliminate Daesh. I thank the signatories of the petition for their compassion.