World

Boost for military's powers in 'terrorist incidents'

Boost for military's powers in 'terrorist incidents'

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will on Monday announce the changes, which follow a review into the 2014 fatal Lindt Cafe siege.

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.

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.

State governments will be able to call on help from the Australian Defence Force immediately under changes to the Defence Act.

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

The government initiated the review of Defence's support to the national counter-terrorism effort a year ago in response to the changing nature of the terrorist threat, as shown by attacks overseas.

Turnbull claims the enhanced collaboration between state police and the ADF will allow "the ability for the ADF to be able to say to the police in certain circumstances, we can do something that you can't". "We must constantly review and update our responses to the threat of terrorism".

The Australian Defence Force has two tactical assault groups - one in Sydney and one in Perth - on standby to rapidly deploy to a terrorist attack.




But the coroner did note the "challenge global terrorism poses for state police forces calls into question the adequacy of existing arrangements".

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 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. This provision will be abolished.

"We need to make sure that the "call out" powers are appropriate for the current circumstances".

The ADF will offer state and territory governments specialised training from special forces for select law enforcement teams.

"It is essential that Australia evolves its responses and countermeasures in response to the changing threat", he said.

The proposed changes need parliament's approval.

The Federal Government is giving the Defence Force the power to help state and territory police deal with terrorism attacks, saying it is, "vitally important that defence is able to respond and assist in domestic counter-terrorism efforts".


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