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Yes, terrorism is 'un-Australian'. So is paedophilia and domestic violence.

We can all agree that supporting terrorism is abhorrent. But so is child abuse and domestic violence.

The Federal Government has introduced a bill into Parliament that will strip the citizenship of dual nationals who fight alongside terrorist groups. In case you missed it, the bill means some people can be stripped automatically of their citizenship, even without a conviction, once they fight with a terrorist group like Islamic State in the Middle East.

Now, this is not a post defending terrorists or their supporters. Islamic State — with its bloodthirsty goal of strictly enforcing Sharia law while carrying out widespread ethnic cleansing and sickening sexual crimes — offends my values on every single level. The acts of terror that took place in three continents at the weekend were nothing short of abhorrent.

Related: Girls are being raped and buried alive by Islamic State. So why aren’t we talking about it?

But here’s something I’m not on board with: The fact that parts of this new laws’ wording is so very broad that the bill could theoretically permit someone guilty of a relatively minor crime to be outcast from the country. For example, “citizenship might be stripped from a 15-year-old who graffitis a Commonwealth building, or a person who damages federal property in the midst of a protest,” as legal expert George Williams writes for Fairfax.

(Also concerning is the fact that the laws may be applied retrospectively, and that some of the changes stipulate that “the rules of natural justice do not apply” — but that’s a legal rant for another post.)

Here’s another thing I’m certainly not on board with: The way these laws are being marketed to Australians using nationalistic, hyperbolic rhetoric.

The Federal government likes to position terrorism as the gravest danger facing Australians today.

“We face a heightened and complex security environment — regrettably some of the most pressing threats to the security of the nation and the safety of the nation come to citizens engaged in terrorism.”

“We face a heightened and complex security environment — regrettably some of the most pressing threats to the security of the nation and the safety of the nation come to citizens engaged in terrorism,” Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said recently. “The intention of the changes is the protection of the community and the upholding of its values”.

Tony Abbott similarly likes to use jingoistic references to ‘Australian values,’ and has used the phrase “un-Australian” to describe the promotion of ideologies that seek to justify terrorism. (The language he uses to combat violence against women and children is, by contrast, sometimes non-existent; in a recent speech about his main priorities and achievements, for example, he didn’t mention women once.)

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Tony Abbott.

Now we can all agree that terrorist brutes who behead journalists and rape underage girls and sell off women like cattle are inhumane and despicable and indeed, ‘un-Australian’.

Related: Should we be watching those barbaric Islamic State videos?

But let me pose a question: How are those offences any more un-Australian that other repugnant criminal activities carried out on Australian soil every single day?

How do they — and in particular, how do the relatively minor property offences to which some of these new laws extend — offend our values more than murder, rape, child sex abuse or domestic violence, which Rosie Batty has labelled “family terrorism”?

As Batty pointed out earlier this year, the government lacks any “real sense of urgency” about the epidemic of violence that claimed her own son’s life last year. “If we look at the money that we spend in terrorism overseas, for the slight risk that it poses to our society, it is disproportionate completely,” Batty quite rightly said.

Rosie and Luke Batty.

University of Melbourne social work professor Cathy Humphreys has echoed Batty’s sentiment, telling Mamamia she can’t understand why the government doesn’t “pay some attention to intimate partner terrorism”. (We can assume political point-scoring with the more xenophobic electorates has something to do with it.)

Related content: “Domestic violence occurrs in every class and community.”

Our government must get its priorities straight.

Just as the UK’s most  senior officer earlier this month declared that British police will treat rape and sexual offences as seriously as terrorist threats, our government must prioritise tackling the epidemics right here in our homes — the pervasive, awful violence that already devastates and claims lives daily.

Because supporting terrorism may be abhorrent and offensive to Australian values — but so are the homegrown epidemics to which women and children still fall victim.

And I don’t see anybody threatening to strip the citizenship from child killers, wife beaters and paedophiles.

What do you think of the new laws?

Also read: It’s killing more Australians than terrorism. So why won’t the government do more about it?

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