Australian Military To Be Given More Power To Tackle Terror Incidents
Jul 17 2017
The Turnbull government is set to announce a terror law overhaul that would allow troops to take over from state police during extremist attacks, Fairfax and News Corp reported.
Australia has seen several Islamist-inspired attacks over the past years, prompting a review of how police and authorities can respond better.
The government will also make changes to the act to make it easier for the ADF to support the police response, such as the ability to prevent suspected terrorists from leaving the scene of an incident.
Turnbull also mentioned implementing "full legal protections to ensure that police are empowered to use lethal force where the public is at risk".
The changes, to be unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday, follow a review into the deadly 2014 Lindt Cafe siege.
Hostages flee from the Lindt cafe in Martin Place during the early hours of December 16, 2014.
"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". "We have to stay ahead of them", Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.
SPECIAL forces will provide select state and territory police teams with specialised training. The move was made in consideration to the significant distance between Australia's two military tactical assault groups in Sydney and Perth, and other localities.
Under current laws, domestic police can only call on the defence force if it is believed that police capability or capacity to respond has been exceeded. 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.
'We need to make sure that the "call-out" powers are appropriate for the current circumstances'.
Exactly what defence forces will be empowered to do under the new laws is unclear, though at one point Turnbull gestured to the heavily armed forces behind him as an example of what the ADF can offer, potentially flagging a substantial expansion of domestic military presence and powers.
Citing recent attacks in London, he insisted police would remain the first responders to any incident but it was time to increase co-operation with the military.
"There would only be limited circumstances in which the niche military capabilities that we have would be required", he said.