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Australia's Special Forces To Be Used During Domestic Terror Attacks
17 July 2017, 03:38 | Rufus Hill
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced sweeping reforms to Australian Defence Force "call-out" powers on Sunday, that would allow for the Australian military to take further charge in responding to terror attacks on the continent.
But the main change will remove from the Defence Act a clause that says the military can only be deployed if the state "is not, or is unlikely to be, able to protect itself against the domestic violence".
"But defence must be able to contribute effectively to domestic counter-terrorism efforts, in addition to its offshore counter-terrorism missions and regional capacity-building activities". "We have to stay ahead of them", Malcolm Turnbull said.
"I want to reassure all Australians that the arrangements we have in place at the moment are exceptionally effective and the evidence for that is the fact we have stopped a dozen terrorist attacks from occurring on our soil", Mr Keenan said.
The measures - including specialised training by special forces for law enforcement teams - will provide more Commonwealth support to state police forces, which are still acknowledged as the appropriate "first responders".
The move, which was brought about following a review after the Nice and Paris terror attacks will take pressure off the country's police forces in relation to handling terror events as they unfold.
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"In 2005 we never imagined Australia would be under the current terrorism threat that it is", he told ABC radio.
The package addresses some of the coroner's recommendations in the report on the 2014 Lindt cafe siege, in which two victims and the attacker, Man Haron Monis, died. That provision will be abolished under the Turnbull government's changes, meaning states could request federal help even if they retained control of the situation.
Mr Turnbull said the new system would better support states in preparing for terrorist incidents and improve information flows between the ADF and police during an incident.
In practice, this means that it will be easier to deploy the Defence Forces in response to domestic terror incidents.
Asked whether the government had used the ADF as props at the announcement given the striking imagery of the commandos, Mr Marles said he had not seen the images of the press conference but added that "there is a fine line between acknowledging and indeed celebrating the incredible work that our defence force personnel do on the one hand and politicising them on the other".
Former SAS commander-turned federal MP Andrew Hastie has previously said the Sydney siege response demonstrated state police were "not up to the task" of dealing with the unique nature of Islamist terrorism.
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