Draft laws should make it easier to respond to terror attacks. Picture: Brendan Esposito
Draft laws should make it easier to respond to terror attacks. Picture: Brendan Esposito

Terror attack responders get more power

IT WILL soon be easier for state and territory governments to call in special forces troops to help respond to terror attacks.

The Turnbull Government will introduce draft laws to federal Parliament on Thursday updating military call-out powers.

"The types of situations we are looking at are perhaps long siege situations," Attorney-General Christian Porter told the Nine Network on Thursday.

"Or if something terrible like the Paris attacks happened in Australia where you have multiple, geographically spread, co-ordinated violence."

The legal changes are the most significant since call-out powers were first introduced in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics.

The terror threat Australia faces today is greater and more complex than ever, Mr Porter said.

Under existing arrangements, states have to declare a situation out of control and beyond their resources before the military can be called in to assist local authorities.

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

A memorial site in Martin Place after the Lindt siege. Picture: Toby Zerna
A memorial site in Martin Place after the Lindt siege. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Defence Minister Marise Payne said the changes will give the Australian Defence Force pre-approval to respond to threats on land, at sea and in the air.

The move will also simplify and expand the military's powers to search, seize, and control movement at the scene of a terrorist incident.

"These reforms will ensure defence is more flexible and agile in the way it supports states and territories," Ms Payne said.

Police forces remain the best first response to terrorist incidents.

States and territories will continue to have primary responsibility for protecting life and property in their jurisdictions, Mr Porter said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced last July there would be increased co-operation between police and the military in response to incidents, including special forces providing specialised training to local officers.


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