Military’s new power to strike at jihadists
AUSTRALIA'S military can now be pre-emptively on patrol at sporting grand finals, riots or a meeting of world leaders if there's a credible terror threat under new laws prompted by the review into Sydney's fatal Lindt Cafe siege.
Sweeping new "call-out" powers will be introduced by the Turnbull government today to allow the Australian Defence Force to be more easily enlisted to help NSW Police deal with terror threats and respond urgently to live attacks.
Military will be permitted to use lethal force on citizens if it is reasonable and necessary to protect life, in accordance with the Australian civil standard.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said under the previous laws it was virtually impossible for the states to call out the ADF, because they would have to concede that they had lost the capability to deal with the incident at hand.
"Where there's a prolonged siege type circumstances or multiple acts of violence, it's quite possible the ADF is in a position through its particular experience to assist and enhance a state response," he said.
"As things presently stand, a request wouldn't be made of the ADF unless the states have reached a determination that they would be unlikely or unable to protect commonwealth interests."
The changes mean that if there is information about a terror threat during a major event, such as a sporting grand final, riots or world meet like APEC, you could see military present on the streets, in fast boats or in choppers to monitor the situation.
The ADF will have expanded powers to "search and seize, and to control movement during an incident".
NSW authorities would still need to call the Prime Minister, or if he is unavailable, the Attorney-General or Home Affairs Minister, to authorise the call-out of the ADF.
The Prime Minister would need to be satisfied that domestic violence, such as terrorism, is occurring or is likely to occur, or there is a threat in the offshore area.
The new law "pre-authorises the ADF to respond to anticipated or foreseeable threats" with capacity to respond from the land, sea and air.
Mr Porter said it was impossible to determine whether the new laws would have changed the course of events during the 2014 Lindt Cafe siege, in which cafe manager Tori Johnson, barrister Katrina Dawson and terrorist gunman Man Haron Monis were all killed.
However, he said the skills of the ADF in terror situations were needed, along with police, as the nature of terror attacks was constantly evolving, while the weapons used were unpredictable.
"Terror incidents have evolved," he said.
"They might be prolonged in terms of siege situations, they might conceivably, as they did in Paris and the London Bridge attacks, involve multiple geographically diverse but co-ordinated series of violent events.
"They could involve a range of deployed weapons from terrorists which could extend out to things the ADF have particular expertise in countering."
The new laws were first announced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in July last year but legal argy bargy within the government delayed their implementation.