Australia boost military’s powers to help police deal with terror threats

Australian Defense Force authorized to help Police during terror attacks

Australia’s military will be more promptly deployed to respond to domestic “terrorist incidents” under proposed changes to laws by the government.

According to new measures announced by Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, the state and territory governments would be able to call for military help any time a “terror incident” is declared.

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.

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.

“Our enemies are agile and innovative. We have to stay ahead of them,” Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.

“We have to ensure that every resource we have – legislative, military, police, intelligence, security – is always at the highest standard and able to be brought to bear to keep Australians safe.”

Police will remain the first responders but the changes will allow them to work more closely with the army, he said.

The key thing we need is the most flexible possible arrangements — the threat’s changed very significantly,” Justice minister Michael Keenan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“What we want to do is make sure we’re working with the police, so whatever assets the Commonwealth has including the ADF (Australian Defence Force) are being used,” Keenan said.

Peter Dutton to be elevated with creation of Australian Department of Homeland Security

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is expected to be charged with a greater role in coordinating counter-terrorism policy among changes to national security which include military intervention in terror incidents.

The new changes are anticipated as PM Turnbull announced law changes to make it easier for Australia’s military to help police deal with terror attacks, the prime minister said again it was important to stay ahead of terrorists.

Source: Tribune International and news agencies

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