Prime Minister Tony Abbott says it’s not good enough that another suspected Australian jihadist, believed to be from Bella Vista,has managed to slip past airport security en route to battlefields in the Middle East.
The19-year-old man wascharged with one count of improper use or possessionof an Australian travel document on Saturday.
The would-be jihadist raised suspicions with Australian authorities but was allowed to leave the country before being detained in the United Arab Emirates.
He was reportedly travelling on his brother’s passport.
Mr Abbott said he was pleased the man had been detained, but tougher security measures were needed so it didn’t happen again.
“It’s not good enough,” he told reporters outside Canberra on Friday.
Mitchell federal MPAlex Hawke said:”Incidents such as these underline the need for urgent measures to better identify and preventpeople leaving Australia on false travel documents.”
The federal government is investing $630 million over the next four years on security measures to combat the threat of foreign fighters returning to Australia from the Middle East.
An important element of this will be biometric screening at airports to detect individuals of concern.
Mr Abbott said the fact this man was eventually detained was a better outcome than a similar recent case, referring to convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf.
Sharrouf —despite being a convicted terrorist —managed to evade authorities and slip out of Australia late last year. He’s since been accused of partaking in atrocities in Iraq and Syria.
He shot to notoriety this week when he posted an image online of his seven-year-old son holding the severed head of a slain Syrian soldier.
Despite his boasts online, Sharrouf has been described as a mentally disturbed man with a history of drug abuse and petty crime.
A former Supreme Court justice who oversaw a major terrorism case implicating Sharrouf in 2005 told ABC the young man had schizophrenia and been a high school dropout later lured by radical Islam.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said he was “astounded” the government had not yet explained how Sharrouf managed to evade authorities in the first place.
“Now we’re getting disturbing reports that other jihadists are escaping under the noses of our authorities,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Friday.
Mr Shorten called on Immigration Minister Scott Morrison to outline what security measures were in place to stop would-be jihadists from leaving the country.
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