Prime Minister Tony Abbott has told parliament Australia will prevail in fighting terror.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott can’t promise there won’t be “hideous” attacks at home but insists Australia will prevail when it comes to fighting terrorism.

“I can’t promise that hideous events will never take place on Australian soil, but I can promise that we will never stoop to the level of those who hate us and fight evil with evil,” Mr Abbott said in a speech to parliament on Monday.

Mr Abbott said protecting Australians was the first duty of the government.

He will attend talks at the United Nations this week on how to tackle the Islamic State extremists.

On his return, cabinet will consider the use of Australian military force to mount air strikes and provide advice to Iraqi forces to stop IS.

“Stopping and reversing (IS’s) advance will help the people of Iraq,” Mr Abbott said.

“It should also reduce its magnetism for people from around the globe who are looking to join a fight.”

The prime minister said to call the group “Islamic State” demeans Islam and mocks the duties that a legitimate state bears to its citizens.

“It can hardly be Islamic to kill without compunction Shia, Yazidi, Turkmen, Kurds, Christians and Sunni who don’t share this death cult’s view of the world,” he said.

“Nothing can justify the beheadings, crucifixions, mass executions, ethnic cleansing, rape and sexual slavery that have taken place in every captured town and city.”

He said the extremists had issued an “ultimatum to the entire world”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor supported Australian military personnel carrying out a “clearly defined mission” in Iraq.

But the opposition’s support was based on four conditions.

These include no combat units directly engaging in fighting IS, operations being confined to Iraq, a pullout when the Iraqi government can take full responsibility for security and immediate withdrawal if Iraqi forces engage in “unacceptable conduct or adopt unacceptable policies”.

“Our support … is a calculation of conscience and national interest,” Mr Shorten told parliament.

Mr Shorten said there were clear differences between the situation in 2003 and now, warning that draining the swamp of terrorism will need more than just military involvement.

“If freedom and democracy are artificially imposed from the outside – they will not last.”