Australia has been spared an attack in the decade since the surprise assaults on the US which killed close to 3,000, but McClelland said the danger of a home-grown terror incident was ever present.
“Most Australians think that if we were to be attacked, it would probably be perpetrated by a foreign operative,” he wrote in an opinion article marking the upcoming 10th anniversary of the world-changing events in the US.
“In fact, in the decade since 9/11, there have been 4 major terrorist plots disrupted in Australia. 37 of the 38 people prosecuted for these acts have been Australian citizens, with 21 of them born in Australia.”
McClelland did not detail the cases but they are believed to include that of Algerian-born Muslim cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika who led a Melbourne terror cell which plotted to kill thousands.
In Sydney, five Muslim men were convicted in 2009 of conspiring to commit a terror attack using guns and explosives on an unknown target to protest against Australia's part in the “war on terror.”
In 2006, Pakistan-born architect and Australian citizen Faheem Khalid Lodhi was jailed after being found guilty of planning to blow up Sydney's electricity grid.
More recently, 3 Australians with links to al-Shabab extremists in Somalia were accused of conspiring to attack Sydney’s Holsworthy Army Base.
McClelland said that more than 100 Australians have been killed in terror attacks overseas since the shocking events in the United States a decade ago, many in the 2002 bomb blasts at a Bali nightclub strip in Indonesia.