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Australia opens way for faster military response to 'terrorist incidents'

Australia opens way for faster military response to 'terrorist incidents'
From Reuters - July 16, 2017

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's military will be more readily deployed to respond to "terrorist incidents" on home soil under proposed changes to laws announced by the government on Monday.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said state and territory police forces would remain as the first response to such incidents, but the military would offer support to enhance their capabilities.

Under the proposed law changes, state and territory governments would be able to call for military help at any time after a "terror incident" has been declared. Previously, the military could only be called upon once police concluded they could no longer deal with an incident.

Turnbull said future attacks would likely remain the responsibility of the police but the military could also assist in incidents such as a central Sydney cafe siege in December 2014 in which two hostages were killed.

A coronial inquiry found in May that police failed to respond quickly enough to end the 16-hour siege, which has been described as Australia's deadliest incident inspired by Islamic State extremists. The gunman, who was killed by police, had no direct ties to the militant group.

"In the current threat environment, it is most likely that a terrorist attack will use simple methodologies, a knife, a gun, a vehicle, and the attack itself could be over in minutes," Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.

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