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New MP has seen the worst and the best

AAP logoAAP 12/09/2016

The first Muslim woman elected to federal parliament says she's seen the worst of humanity as well as the best.

An internationally recognised expert in counter-terrorism and deradicalisation, Egyptian-born Dr Anne Aly said she had worked with former violent extremists, their victims, families who had lost sons and daughters and mentored young people who had fallen prey to violent ideologies.

"I have seen the worst of humanity and I have often despaired, often despaired. But I have also seen its best," she said in her first speech to parliament.

She said she believed every young person had it within them to rise above youthful mistakes and find a valued place in Australian society.

Dr Aly said the fight against terrorism was a fight for reason.

"We cant afford to let it be hijacked by populism or by party politics," she said. "This is not the sort of issue where pointing out the gaps in our policy response should attract accusations of being soft on terrorism or insinuations of appeasement or, even worse, supporting terrorism."

Dr Aly, member for the WA seat of Cowan, said she came from a part of the world where passing of time was marked by war and the birth of a girl child was greeted with clicking of tongues, not congratulations.

"I was not born in this country but I am surely born of her," she said.

Dr Aly said she learned at school that values that make us Australians weren't measured by colour of skin, religion or place of birth but by dedication to fundamental principles of equality and fairness.

She said she was dedicating her parliamentary career to the creation of a national strategy delivering the benefits of growth to the outer suburbs of every city in Australia "from Lakemba where I grew up to Cowan which I represent and to every outer suburb in between."

"We need to promote the people on the edge. We need to talk about how we plan to distribute our wealth just as much as we talk about how we plan to grow our wealth," she said.

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