Australia's Defence Force gets more powers to assist police with terrorism threats




Australia's defence laws will be overhauled the smooth the way for soldiers to be deployed to assist local police dealing with terrorist threats.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the changes yesterday, which follow a review into the 2014 fatal Lindt Cafe siege.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Mr Turnbull described the current processes as "very cumbersome", with one of the major changes removing a clause from the Defence Act saying the military is only to be deployed if the state is unable or unlikely to be able to "protect itself against the domestic violence".

Special Forces soldiers will provide specialised training to state and territory police forces and some may be embedded to improve cooperation.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan says the changes build on an already strong relationship between the military and police, but are more flexible.

"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.

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