Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull

Labor jumps on Turnbull's IS comments

UPDATE: A LABOR frontbencher has called on Tony Abbott to make a "declaration" on Malcolm Turnbull's comment that Islamic State should not be overestimated.

In a speech at the Sydney Institute on Tuesday night, Mr Turnbull also said those who questioned or criticised government national security policies should not be vilified.

Labor's workplace relations spokesman Brendan O'Connor told ABC Radio that Mr Turnbull's comments showed divisions in Coalition ranks on national security and it was a "pointed attack" on the government's policies.

Mr Turnbull's comments were widely interpreted as being directed at Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who last week said IS was "coming after" all governments and people.

The Communications Minister said overreacting to threats from IS would only encourage the group, which was not "Hitler's Germany, Tojo's Japan or Stalin's Russia".

"Its leaders dream that they, like the Arab armies of the seventh and eighth century, will sweep across the Middle East into Europe itself," Mr Turnbull said.

"They predict that before long they will be stabling their horses in the Vatican. Well, Idi Amin wasn't the King of Scotland either.

"We should be careful not to say or do things which can be seen to add credibility to those delusions."

EARLIER: Turnbull warns against overplaying terror threat of IS

MALCOLM Turnbull has downplayed threats to national security from the Islamic State (IS) militant group, warning against turning the counter-terrorism debate into a "caricature".

The Communications Minister denied the comments were directed at Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who consistently refers to IS as a "death cult" and has warned Australians the group is "coming to get" them.

"The Prime Minister has been very measured in his comments on all these things as we all have," Mr Turnbull told reporters after his speech to the Sydney Institute.

In his prepared comments, Mr Turnbull said the danger posed by IS was not as grave as past threats to national security, such as Adolf Hitler.

Laws which damaged individual freedoms played into terrorists hands, Mr Turnbull argued.

More on this at ABC News

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is Tony Abbott overplaying the threat of IS in Australia? Or does he have every reason to warn Australians to be ever vigilant?  Join the conversation here by leaving your comments below.


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