Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Boost for Australia's military's role in combating domestic terrorism

Boost for Australia's military's role in combating domestic terrorism

Although police were absolved of blame during a 2014 Sydney cafe seige, in which two hostages and the gunman were killed, an inquest found authorities had underestimated the threat of the hostage taker and recommended a review of several procedures. The changes will be made in partnership with State and Territory Governments and we look forward to future engagement through the Council of Australian Governments and the Australia-New Zealand Counter Terrorism Committee.

In their announcement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Marise Payne said state and territory police forces remained the best first response immediately after an attack commenced.

The new measures would mean the Australian Defence Force (ADF) could be called in sooner to help police deal with threats.

Other changes will see army commandos train select state and territory police teams, while Defence will also offer to permanently embed officers within state law enforcement agencies to act as liaisons and advisers.

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"But defence must be able to contribute effectively to domestic counter-terrorism efforts, in addition to its offshore counter-terrorism missions and regional capacity-building activities".

He said the proposed measures "will ensure that the ADF is more readily available to respond to terrorism incidents, providing state and territory police with the extra support to call on when they need it".

The changes are created to assist in preparing for incidents, enabling a more comprehensive ADF response if needed, and improving the flow of information between the ADF and police during an incident.

The government will also strengthen the act to make it easier for Defence personnel to support the police response, such as clarifying their power to "stop and seize" suspects to prevent them leaving the scene of an incident. "We have to stay ahead of them", Turnbull told reporters at the Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney's southwest. That provision will be abolished under the Turnbull government's changes, meaning states could request federal help even if they retained control of the situation.

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"I want to reassure all Australians that the arrangements we have in place at the moment are exceptionally effective and the evidence for that is the fact we have stopped a dozen terrorist attacks from occurring on our soil", Mr Keenan said.

Mr Turnbull said the new system would better support states in preparing for terrorist incidents and improve information flows between the ADF and police during an incident.

Constitutionally, states are responsible crime prevention.

The Government's number one priority is keeping Australians safe.

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"Contain and negotiating, which was the approach in the Lindt cafe siege, isn't going to work [in dealing with Islamist terrorists]".

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