A sweeping overhaul of the way the Australian Defence Force is deployed and assists local law enforcement at terrorist incidents in Australia is to be announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday in the Federal Government’s response to the deadly 2014 Lindt Cafe siege in Sydney.
This strengthening of engagement will assist with pre-positioning of the ADF in response to a possible terrorist incident.
Shadow Minister for Defence Richard Marles said he supported the changes, but said Mr Turnbull politicised the military by posing with heavy weaponry and commandos for a televised press conference.
Turnbull said the law must be changed that requires state and territory governments to exhaust their capacity to respond to domestic terror events before they can ask for military help, reports The Guardian.
“But Defence can offer more support to states and territories to enhance their capabilities and increase their understanding of Defence’s unique capabilities, to ensure a comprehensive response to potential terrorist attacks”.
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”.
He said the proposed measures “will ensure that the ADF is more readily available to respond to terrorism incidents, providing state and territory police with the extra support to call on when they need it”.
“There would only be limited circumstances in which the niche military capabilities that we have would be required”.
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 system also only allows the ADF to be deployed if the governor-general signs off on a request from the prime minister, attorney-general and defence minister, who all have to agree state forces are incapable of properly responding.
“It would be quite wrong of me to start trying to re-open the issues around the the Lindt cafe”, he said.
The Australian government is moving to give the Defence Force a greater role in dealing with terror threats on home soil, including using special forces to train police.
NEW powers to prevent suspected terrorists from leaving the scene of an incident.