When parliament returns later this month, Labor’s Anne Aly will become the first Muslim woman to take a seat in the lower house. Aly is an internationally renowned scholar on counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation.
In 2014, she was the only Australian expert invited to attend Barack Obama’s summit on countering violent extremism. Aly tells Michelle Grattan she has spoken with many people who have been involved in violent organisations, including former members of the Irish Republican Army, former right-wing neo-nazis, and violent jihadists.
Aly says most deradicalisation programs fail because all that they can do is remove the opportunity, the capability and perhaps change the environment.
“But very rarely, if someone is highly radicalised, can outside forces actually change their world orientation or their world view. Many of them need to go through a process to arrive at disillusionment … in order to fully move away from the movement itself,” she says.
On the bread-and-butter issue of the GST, she welcomes Malcolm Turnbull’s idea of reforming its distribution to give her home state of Western Australia a better deal, and would like to see Labor and Liberal come together to promote WA’s cause.
“Now that Mr Turnbull has made that, I guess, commitment, to at least looking at it, I’d like to see the Western Australian cohort work across parties for the best interests of our state,” she says.
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra