Military to be given new terror powers

Malcolm Turnball Iraq


It will be easier for Australia's military to help police respond to terror threats under proposed new powers.

As well special forces soldiers will provide specialised training to state and territory police forces and some may be embedded to improve co-operation.

In certain circumstances, the military could take charge of responses.

The changes, to be unveiled by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday, follow a review into the deadly 2014 Lindt Cafe siege.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan says the changes build on an already strong relationship between the military and police.

"In 2005 we never imagined Australia would be under the current terrorism threat that it is," he told ABC radio.

"We need to make sure that the 'call out' powers are appropriate for the current circumstances."

Local police will still take the lead in responding to terrorist incidents.

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

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne refused to be drawn on what might have happened if the changes were in place before Sydney's Lindt cafe siege which resulted in the deaths of two hostages.

"It would be quite wrong of me to start trying to re-open the issues around the the Lindt cafe," he said.

State and federal governments were working together on recommendations from the coroner's report.

Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh said the opposition wanted to see the detail, but was generally supportive of changes that improved the relationship between police and the military.

© AAP 2017  Photo: AAP Image/Fairfax Pool, Andrew Meares

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