Defence support to domestic Counter-Terrorism arrangements


Defence support to domestic Counter-Terrorism arrangements

Australia's military will be given greater power to act during terror attacks, the prime minister said Monday, following a review of security forces' responses to a spate of local and worldwide incidents.

The process involved in a military "call out" to an incident, including a provision that limits the states from asking for military assistance until their capability has been exceeded, will be streamlined.

State and territory police forces would remain as the first response, but the military would offer support to enhance their capabilities, Turnbull said.

The fallout from the deadly 2014 Lindt cafe siege in Sydney triggered a year-long review of the so-called callout provisions of the Defence Act amid fears the legislation contained so many legal and administrative barriers it would hinder any swift military response to a terrorist assault in Australia.

"We can not afford to take a "set and forget" mentality on national security", Mr Turnbull said.

The new powers will also allow troops to help police stop suspected attackers from fleeing the scene.

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

"Our police and law enforcement are the best in the world. if it's a situation where we have some specialist capability within the Australian Defence Force, or we had a requirement to use the Australian Defence Force in counter-terrorism response, I think Australians would understand we need to have the most flexible arrangements possible".

That will include an offer of training from ADF special forces units such as the SAS, which is based in Swanbourne.

The decision to grant the army greater powers came following a review of security forces' responses to a spate of local and worldwide incidents.

Turnbull and Payne stressed that responses to the terrorism threat must be constantly updated.

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

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".

"The most lethal means of statecraft resides with the ADF", Mr Hastie said.

Turnbull had been hinting for months of plans to strengthen Australia's counter-terrorism regime following the coronial report into the Lindt cafe siege.

"In 2005 we never imagined Australia would be under the current terrorism threat that it is", he told ABC radio.