Malcolm Turnbull made a significant U-turn from the rhetoric of his inflammatory predecessor Tony Abbott, who often thundered about how Australia was at serious risk of being attacked by the "Daesh death cult."
Speaking to media this morning on the Brussels attacks pic.twitter.com/u8hhVm6IBa— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 22, 2016
Speaking at the Lowy Institute on Wednesday, Turnbull said that while no country can be sure that terrorism is absent, Australia is "better placed than many of our European counterparts" in minimizing the terrorist threat, "because of the strength of our intelligence and security agencies, our secure borders and our successful multicultural society; one that manages to be both secure and free."
The statement comes as Belgium's intelligence services and airport security measures are under scrutiny for failing to foil suicide bombings in Brussels' airport and metro Tuesday. The attack, for which Daesh has since claimed responsibility, left 31 dead (plus three attackers) and dozens injured.
Deeply concerned by the attacks in Brussels. Australians' thoughts, prayers & solidarity are with the people of Belgium.— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) March 22, 2016
Turnbull claimed that terror operations such as those carried out in Brussels are devised to sow discord within societies, but underlined that his country's cultural antibodies will manage to overcome the risk.
"My government works hard to promote inclusion and mutual respect, ensuring that all communities and all faiths feel part of ours, the most successful multicultural society in the world," he said.
"Strong borders, vigilant security agencies governed by the rule of law, and a steadfast commitment to the shared values of freedom and mutual respect — these are the ingredients of multicultural success," he added.
Turnbull also defended the military intervention Australia and other countries have launched against Daesh-held territories in Iraq and Syria, claiming it will be key to bringing the terror group to its knees.
"While more attacks in Europe and elsewhere are seemingly inevitable, the genesis of many of the current issues lies in Syria. We must continue working with our allies and military partners to seek a military and political solution. Defeating ISIL [Daesh] at its source will significantly constrain ISIL's reach into the west," Turnbull said.