Turnbull toughens stand on terror, to give ADF greater powers

Turnbull toughens stand on terror, to give ADF greater powers

Turnbull toughens stand on terror, to give ADF greater powers

Malcolm Turnbull wants to make it easier for Australia's military to help police deal with terrorist attacks, including streamlining the process for the defence forces to be called out to incidents.

In May, a coronial inquiry established that police had failed to give a swift response to a 16-hour siege at a central Sydney cafe in December 2014.

While State and Territory police will remain the first responders to a terrorist attack, they will be able to call on military support much earlier than under the current laws, which require that states request military support only once their police capacity and capability have been exceeded - a process Turnbull referred to as "very cumbersome".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Marise Payne will announce the changes on Monday.

The changes come after his government initiated a review of the ADF's support to national counter-terrorism arrangements in 2016, following a spate of terrorist attacks around the world.

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

Certain state police teams would get specialist SAS training and could even have military personnel embedded to improve communications between the agencies.

Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles said he supported the changes, but said Mr Turnbull politicised the military by posing with heavy weaponry and commandos for a televised press conference.

The system also only allows the ADF to be deployed if the governor-general signs off on a request from the prime minister, attorney-general and defence minister, who all have to agree state forces are incapable of properly responding.

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

The proposed changes need parliament's approval.

Keenan said the overhaul of Australia's defence act isn't an indictment of state police but was about ensuring every resource was available in a terrorist attack.

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

Speaking about the changes on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio on Monday, Justice Minister Michael Keenan said police would not be resigned "to the back seat" in terror operations, merely, the special forces would work alongside police to provide the best response to terror attacks.

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