Military to be given new terror powers

Military to be given new terror powers

Military to be given new terror powers

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has toughened stand on terrorism and announced giving greater power to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to respond to domestic terrorist incidents.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speaks to Special Operations Command soldiers at Holsworthy Barracks today.

"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 ensure that every resource we have - legislative, military, police, intelligence, security - is always at the highest standard and able to be brought to bear to keep Australians safe", he told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Turnbull emphasised the police would remain the first to deal with terrorism incidents and pointed out that, even in Sydney where the special forces troops are based at the Holsworthy barracks, it could take hours for them to reach a terrorist incident and it would be many hours to reach other cities in Australia.

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

Turnbull said that the reforms were triggered in large part as a result of the "changing nature of the (terror) threat as demonstrated in recent terrorist attacks around the world".

Defence will offer soldiers for embedding within police forces to bolster engagement between authorities.

The Government will also make changes to the Act to make it easier for Defence to support the police response, such as the ability to prevent suspected terrorists from leaving the scene of an incident.

"In the current threat environment, it's most likely that a terrorist attack will use simple methodologies, a knife, a gun, a vehicle and the attack itself could be over in minutes", Turnbull said.

The measures came months after the prime minister ordered a review of terror response, after it was concluded that police were ill-equipped and too slow in responding to the Lindt cafe siege in Sydney in 2014.

In practice, this means that it will be easier to deploy the Defence Forces in response to domestic terror incidents.

The changes, which need to pass Parliament, will be discussed at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting.

"What I am doing is taking a lot of the red tape and the gum out of the works to enable the cooperation between the police and the ADF (Australian Defense Forces) and particularly the they can work together more seamlessly", Turnbull said on Monday.

Constitutionally, states are responsible crime prevention.

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