Australia to make it easier to deploy military for 'terrorist incidents'

Marsha Scott
July 17, 2017

SOLDIERS may be placed within police forces to help with Australian Defence Force liaison.

The new system, which has been approved by cabinet and the national security committee, will be announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Defence Minister Marise Payne during a visit to Sydney's Holsworthy Barracks on Monday.

Now the defence force can only be deployed if state police are unable to respond to the level of the threat.

The new powers will also allow troops to help police stop suspected attackers from fleeing the scene.

Turnbull also mentioned implementing "full legal protections to ensure that police are empowered to use lethal force where the public is at risk".

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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. "We have to stay ahead of them", Turnbull told reporters at the Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney's southwest. "We must constantly review and update our responses to the threat of terrorism".

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Special Forces soldiers will provide specialised training to state and territory police forces and some may be embedded to improve cooperation. The move was made in consideration to the significant distance between Australia's two military tactical assault groups in Sydney and Perth, and other localities.

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".

"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.

Today's announcement means Defence special forces can offer special training for police officers.

"There would only be limited circumstances in which the niche military capabilities that we have would be required", Mr Keenan said.

The proposed changes need parliament's approval.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said state and territory police forces would remain as the first response to such incidents, but the military would offer support to enhance their capabilities.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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