There will be a new presumption against bail and parole for those with terror links, as part of a federal law enforcement crackdown in the wake of the Brighton siege on Monday.
At a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting of state and territory leaders in Hobart, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an agreement that would restrict the liberty of those prisoners who had expressed support for, or who had links to, terrorism. Brighton gunman Yacqub Khayre was on parole when he killed one man, held a woman hostage for several hours and shot three police officers.
"We have agreed that states and territories will strengthen their laws to ensure that there will be a presumption that neither bail nor parole will be granted to those who have demonstrated support for or have links to terrorist activity," the PM said on Friday afternoon.
"This presumption is a vital element in keeping these people who are a threat to our safety, and our safety of our families, off the streets. Violent criminals with terrorist links should not be walking the streets. They belong in jail and this is a very important change and an indication of the resolution of leaders of our governments, of Australia's governments to defy and defeat the terrorists."
"We are utterly united, Australian governments, and Australians, to find the terrorists and doing all we can to ensure that their plans are disrupted, uncovered and they're put behind bars and stay there."
Turnbull said the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, Border Force, and state and territory police forces would collaborate on new arrangements around bail and parole, to be coordinated by joint counter-terrorism teams, with plans to "further strengthen" counter-terrorism squads by adding "suitably security-cleared corrections service officers".
The meeting heard from the director-general of ASIO, the AFP, the PM's cyber-security adviser and counter-terrorism co-ordinator, as well as discussing security arrangements around places of mass gathering.
The council also resolved to hold a dedicated COAG meeting on security.
"[The security meeting] is going to comprehensively review our nation's laws and practices that are directed at protecting Australians from violent extremism," Turnbull said.
"To overcome this threat, governments cannot simply set and forgot. We have to be as agile, as those who seek to do us harm."
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, in whose state the Brighton siege occurred earlier this week, spoke of the need for the dedicated COAG security meeting and hinted that further serious police action and terror crackdowns are in store.
"Events in Melbourne, tragic and deadly events are a reminder to all of us that terror and violent extremism is not half a world away, it is very real and we, all of us as Governments, need to show the conviction, need to show the strength of character and need to do the hard work, just as our law enforcement, both at a State and national level do so well every single day," he said.
"I think we are at a point in our nation's history where we have to give very serious consideration to giving law enforcement some tools and powers that they don't enjoy today. That may well be unpopular with the civil liberties community. It may mean occur taking the rights and freedoms of a small number of people. That is what will be needed in order to preserve and protect a great many more."
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