Australia should expect a heightened risk of violence inside its own borders if it extends military action into Syria, as the Australian Government is now considering, according to the head of Australia’s Anglican Church, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier.

Many Australians are naïve about the effects of Australian military action in Iraq, Dr Freier says, which is portrayed as low-risk and remote but is really a “hot war”.

In a video on his website,, Dr Freier says Australia’s involvement is shown as “people flying very high in aircraft with high precision weapons beyond the scope of shoulder-launched rockets”.

 “As there is discussion about widening the military campaign to Syria, it’s important that we consider the consequences of being involved in a hot war. Many Australians are naïve, perhaps innocent, and don’t think about it much,” he says.

“But being engaged in a hot war of that kind, and the domestic responses which seem to be an unacceptable restricting of our freedom could be connected.”

Dr Freier says the strong public response against the recent proposed Operation Fortitude by the Border Force suggests many Australians have not recognised the links between military action in Iraq and the domestic “militarisation” to which they react negatively. By militarisation he means the more visible presence of government security resources within Australian society.

He says it is a perplexing problem, but Australians need to think carefully about the consequences of fighting in Iraq and extending military action to Syria, if that’s what the Government decides – particularly the likelihood of “asymmetric responses”, or domestic terrorism.

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