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National Security

COAG’s security focus Commonwealth & Australian states single out ‘security’ By Fiona Wade Canberra Correspondent

10 | Australian Security Magazine

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ational security has certainly taken centre stage during the Parliamentary winter break with a number of changes to the landscape being announced by the Prime Minister. It’s all in the timing. Just days after Somali-born Yacqub Khayre was killed by police after shooting dead a receptionist at Melbourne serviced apartment block, national security found itself at the top of the agenda of the 44th Council of Australian Government (COAG). Held in Hobart on 9 June, this was the first COAG meeting for NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and WA’s Mark McGowan, and had originally been expected to be dominated by a briefing from Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who presented his report on energy security; however, recent events in Britain and Melbourne meant that terrorism took the spotlight. COAG usually provides a forum for states to jostle for prominence, but instead there was collegial agreement with the Prime Minister Turnbull winning support for a tougher approach to parole and bail, where people have had terrorist connections. Questions over why Khayre (who was on parole, had a violent history and known links to terrorism) was out in the community, helped to pave the way for federal and

state leaders to agree to the need for an improvement in information sharing across state and territory police, AFP and ASIO Joint Counter-Terrorism Team in each jurisdiction. During deliberations, First Minsters agreed that there will be a presumption that neither bail nor parole will be granted to those persons who have demonstrated support for, or have links to, terrorist activity. In short, this means that there was mutual agreement for the necessity to work towards nationally consistent and tougher parole laws in a move to keep violent felons with links to terrorist organisations off the streets. “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,” said the Prime Minister at the post meeting news conference. “They belong in jail and this is a very important change and an indication of the resolution of the leaders of our governments, of Australia’s governments, to defy and defeat the terrorists.” He said. Federal and state leaders also agreed on ramping up their anti-terrorism strategies, calling for the improvement of information sharing across state and territory police, AFP and ASIO Joint Counter-Terrorism Team ( JCCT) in each

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