Australian PM calls for political solution in Syria
Malcolm Turnbull made the comments during his first major speech on national security since winning term in office. (AFP/File)
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Australia will not deploy combat troops in Syria to fight Islamic State despite the Paris terror attacks, because there must be a political solution to terrorism, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told parliament Tuesday.
In his first major speech on national security since becoming prime minister two months ago, Turnbull said a terrorist attack in Australia "remains likely."
But his response to terrorist attacks was more moderate than that of his predecessor, Tony Abbott, who last week called for increased military action on the ground against the jihadists in Syria.
"This is not a time for gestures or machismo," Turnbull said.
Anger at the attacks in Paris must not "cloud our judgement," he said, insisting that terrorism will be defeated by being "calm, clinical and professional."
Turnbull said Islamic State is in a fundamentally weak position.
"It has more smartphones than guns, more Twitter accounts than soldiers. We must not be fooled by its hype," he said.
"The 60 nation-strong coalition's objective is to disrupt, degrade and ultimately to defeat ISIL. This will require a patient, painstaking full-spectrum strategy. Not just military, but financial, diplomatic and political."
Turnbull stressed that Australia's contribution to coalition forces in Iraq was second only to the United States, and that ISIL expansion in Iraq had been halted.
But he said the consensus of world leaders he had met in the past week was there was no support for a US-led military force to conquer and hold IS controlled territory.
Australia supports negotiations in Vienna to find a political resolution in Syria, he said.
"We will defeat these terrorists. And the strongest weapons we bring to this battle are ourselves, our values, our way of life," he said.
"And the strength of our free people will see off these thugs and tyrants as it has seen off so many of their kind before."