Defence To Be Given Greater Leeway To Step Into Terrorist Incidents

Elias Hubbard
July 17, 2017

The Federal Government would be able to put troops on Perth streets if police needed help dealing with a terrorist attack, under new rules to be introduced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Turnbull also said the government will need to mobilize all available resources to stand up against terrorists.

Fairfax Media via Getty Images Police secure the area near Lindt Cafe in Martin Place.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Holsworthy Barracks.

The government said its proposed legislative changes to the Defence Act would remove a provision that limits states and territories from asking for ADF support and specialist military skills until their capability or capacity has been exceeded.

Special forces would also be embedded in law enforcement agencies for better cooperation.

Flanked by the Chief of the Defence Force Mark Binksin and standing in front of an inflatable boat with six heavily armed and masked special forces soldiers, Mr Turnbull said that now states needed to "demonstrate that they have exhausted their ability to defend themselves".

"What we want to be able to do - and this is consistent with the constitution - is be in a position where a state government ... can come to the conclusion that there is a special ... niche assistance ... required [then] it can be readily called upon and deployed".

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

"State and territory police forces remain the best first response to terrorist incidents, immediately after an attack starts", Turnbull said.

Turnbull added that the Australian government's major focus was to be ahead of the threat, overhaul and enhance law enforcement services' capabilities to ensure the country's safety. It's also led to criticism about the appropriateness of using members of the defence forces as human props.

Make it easier for Defence to support police, such as the "ability to prevent suspected terrorists from leaving the scene of an incident".

The Turnbull Government initiated the review of Defence's support to national counter-terrorism arrangements in 2016 in response to the changing nature of the threat as demonstrated in recent terrorist attacks around the world.

He said the Defence Force must always be used respectfully.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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