POLITICS

Victoria Wants The Feds To Beef Up Airport Security

The Premier, Daniel Andrews, is expecting other states to back him.

08/06/2017 10:33 AM AEST | Updated 09/06/2017 7:00 AM AEST
Jason South/Fairfax
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews: "This is a very important issue and one that we will take to COAG tomorrow, not for talk, but for action."

CANBERRA -- Under pressure for his government's response to two apparent terror incidents, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is calling for the Federal Government to bring in 24/7 anti-terror security at Australian airports and share the technology to disable phones in an emergency.

Andrews wants Victoria Police to have the technology, understood to be in the hands of Australian Federal Police (AFP), to shut down mobile phone networks during suspected terror events together with the ability to take over electronic message boards at major events to send out safety messages.

He will proposes these ideas - plus a push for federal oversight of parole decisions for terror suspects - at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Hobart on Friday and is expecting "strong support" from other states.

"The Tullamarine airport, Avalon airport, these are federal assets," the Premier told reporters in Melbourne. "And I think the time has come for us to have a dedicated 24/7 tactical response provided by the Australian Federal Police.

"We stand ready to support them, of course, as we always have, but I think, when you think about across the world, airports have so often been the target. And we need to take that next step."

The push comes after parolee Yacqub Khayre was shot dead by police in a suspected terrorism attack in Brighton on Monday in which a man was killed, a woman was taken hostage and three police officers were wounded.

And last week, passengers were left on the Melbourne airport tarmac for 90 minutes inside Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 with a restrained man who had allegedly shouted he had a bomb on the aircraft.

Police initially treated the incident as a possible terrorism case, but the charged man has a history of mental illness.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is not ruling the idea to beef up federal airport security in or out.

"We need to ensure that our levels of support at the airports are adequate and they're being constantly reviewed," he told radio 3AW on Wednesday.

"We have in my view, the best security and police forces, intelligence services in the world."

As for seeking technological assistance during major events, Andrews is looking to recent experiences in France.

He wants state police, as first responders, to have access to technology that allows a shut down of the local mobile phone network to isolate the suspects and not overload the network.

The ability is also being sought to take over electronic boards, like stadium scoreboards, for safety messages and directions.

"Technology was deployed to provide such important guidance and information to people," the Premier said.

"There are ways in which we can disable the mobile phone network and then provide one point of information -- perhaps at a sporting venue on the large electronic scoreboard -- that guides people on how to evacuate, guides people on how to avoid stampedes, crushes, those sorts of things.

"That technology is something we should roll out across the country. Of course, when it comes to some of these things, they are a matter for the Federal Government."

On Wednesday, Andrews outlined his push for the AFP and the domestic spy agency ASIO to be more involved in parole decisions for terror suspects.

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