Global News

Australia seeks to expand role of military in domestic terror threats

Australia seeks to expand role of military in domestic terror threats

The changes come after recent worldwide terrorist attacks and follow a review into the deadly 2014 Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney.

Hostages flee from the Lindt cafe in Martin Place during the early hours of December 16, 2014.

The military will also be allowed on the streets to support the wider police response, including blocking potential suspects from leaving the scene.

The changes will include the removal of the provision that now limits states and territories from asking for ADF support and specialist military skills until their capability or capacity has been exceeded.

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.

State and Territory Police Forces remain the best first response to terrorist incidents, immediately after an attack starts.

These measures are meant to provide increased Commonwealth support to states and territories in their role as first responders to a domestic terrorist incident.

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Flanked by the Chief of the Defence Force Mark Binksin and standing in front of an inflatable boat with six heavily armed and masked special forces soldiers, Mr Turnbull said that now states needed to "demonstrate that they have exhausted their ability to defend themselves". "We must constantly review and update our responses to the threat of terrorism".

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.

The main change in the Defence Act will remove a clause that says the military can only be deployed if the relevant state "is not, or is unlikely to be, able to protect itself against the domestic violence".

A series of global security incidents, in particular the central Sydney cafe siege in December 2014 in which two hostages were killed, prompted the measures, said Greene.

The proposed changes need parliament's approval.

"The measures I'm announcing today will ensure that the ADF is more readily available to respond at terrorism incidents providing state and territory police with the extra support to call on when needed", Turnbull said.

"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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