Australian military to have more power in combating terror threats
Requests for military backup during terrorist attacks will be fast-tracked under a major shake-up of defence laws.
States and territories will no longer be forced to exhaust their capacity to respond to an attack before requesting military assistance.
The new laws to be introduced to federal parliament will allow the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to search, seize and control movement at the scene of a terror attack.
Police will continue to take charge of incidents, but it will be easier to call in the Defence Force for help.
The proposal has been prompted following the inquest into Sydney’s Lindt Cafe siege in 2014.
Defence Minister Marise Payne tells Deborah Knight it’s about making it “simpler” for government to call on the ADF.
“We will be making it simpler for the state and territory governments to call on both the resource and expertise of the ADF when they need it to deal with either a terror-related act or other act of violence.
“The fundamental, underlying principle is that civilian law enforcement powers remain paramount.”
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Liberal Senator Jim Molan tells Ben Fordham this change is “exactly what we need”.
“The state had to consider itself to be almost overwhelmed before it asked for the military.
“The beauty of this Bill is now they say to themselves, ‘well, could the military, or part of the military, enhance what we’re trying to do around this particular incident?”
The retired major general says the time taken to draft the Bill has been necessary in order to get it right.
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Image: Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence