Saturday, 23 September, 2017

Military to be given new terror powers

Ex-New Zealand prime minister John Key to receive Australia's highest honour Sir John Key on receiving Australia's highest honour
Lillian Steele | 17 July, 2017, 20:47

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 global incidents.

The PM announced a plan to increase cooperation and shared training between State and Territory police and the Australian Defence Forces (ADF), and make it easier for the ADF to be deployed domestically during a terrorist attack.

"If we are ever required to be called out it ... allows us to support them more quickly and in a better way", defence force chief Mark Binskin said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is scheduled to hold a press conference at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney's southwest on Monday morning.

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

The changes are created to assist in preparing for incidents, enabling a more comprehensive ADF response if needed, and improving the flow of information between the ADF and police during an incident.

But he noted Australian police officers carry guns, while those in London who responded first to the June attack were armed with batons.

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

"Because there will be circumstances where, through our intelligence, we get wind of an attack being likely or being planned and so you can get people in position in advance", he said.

Among a raft of changes, police will no longer have to wait until they have exhausted their capacity to call on the army during a terror attack, while special forces will be embedded in law enforcement agencies for better coordination, Malcolm 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.

"It is essential that Australia evolves its responses and countermeasures in response to the changing threat", he said. It's also led to criticism about the appropriateness of using members of the defence forces as human props.

"There is a fine line between acknowledging and celebrating the incredible work that our Defence Force personnel do on the one hand, and politicising them on the other", Mr Marles said.

"And it is for all of us in this space to use our judgment appropriately to make sure that we are doing this in a way that is respectful to the ADF".

"I think that the Australian people can well see a prop when it is presented". They can sniff it from a mile away.

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