Australia’s state and territory leaders will hold a special national security meeting to review counter-terrorism laws and practices.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the gathering would take place as soon as possible, telling reporters following the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Hobart that it was not an area of policy “where you can set and forget”.
Mr Turnbull said: “We’re going to be very proactive, constantly upgrading our defences.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the special COAG meeting was very important.
“I think the community will take a very dim view of each of us if, after that meeting, we do not have a detailed list of concrete, common sense steps, doing what has to be done to keep every Australian safe,” Mr Andrews said.
Leaders were briefed by the director-general of domestic intelligence agency ASIO, the acting commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, the Prime Minister’s cyber security advisor and counter-terrorism co-ordinator.
A range of national security issues was discussed, in particular, the work that’s being done to protect crowded places and areas of mass gathering.
Mr Turnbull confirmed all states and territories had agreed to strengthen their laws to ensure there will be a presumption against granting bail or parole to anyone who has demonstrated support for or has links to terrorist activity.
“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,” he said.
“Violent criminals with terrorist links should not be walking the streets,” he told the meeting.
It follows this week’s terror attack at a block of units in Melbourne, carried out by a man released on parole late last year.
The Prime Minister also announced that security-cleared corrections service officers will form part of the joint counter-terrorism teams.
That will enable more information to be shared and greater collaboration.
Energy security was also a key topic, following the delivery of chief scientist Alan Finkel’s major review into the electricity system.
Mr Turnbull said leaders will examine the recommendations in detail and will report back in August.
— with AAP