Media Release

14 November 2018

Guy: A Liberal Nationals Government will fast track public security and counterterrorism measures

Wednesday 14 November 2018

A Liberal Nationals Government will fast track public security and counterterrorism measures

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will immediately action urgent public security and counterterrorism measures to ensure Victorians are kept safe.

A Liberal Nationals Government will:

  1. Introduce new Terrorism Restriction Orders
  2. Train 100 more existing police officers in advanced counterterrorism operations and measures
  3. Boost the Victorian Fixated Threat Assessment Centre and Counter Terrorism Command with 50 additional analyst and surveillance staff
  4. Increase the visible police presence on city streets with an additional eight dedicated patrol teams of four police officers in the CBD

A Liberal Nationals Government will fast track legislation to empower courts to impose Terrorism Restriction Orders on persons who have been radicalised towards violence or may be developing terrorist behaviours.

As the full facts about last week’s terrorist attack come to light, it has highlighted the urgent need to have such orders on the statute book.

Introducing such orders was a key recommendation of the Harper-Lay Review of Victoria’s terrorism laws established following the Brighton terrorist attack.  However, 12 months after the review’s final report, no action has been taken.

Victoria Police sought the power to obtain such orders in their submission to the Harper-Lay Review, to address the gap that currently exists where control orders or preventative detention orders can only be obtained in limited circumstances, such as where a court is satisfied an attack is about to occur or that an individual has engaged in specific terrorism related activities.

Victoria Police have called for these new orders to enable police to intervene early when individuals are in the processes of becoming radicalised towards violence, but do not yet meet the threshold for a preventative detention order or control order.

The Harper-Lay Review supported that view, saying that the changing nature of terrorism attacks means police have far less time to intervene before an attack, and that it is increasingly difficult to predict when an attack will occur.

Under the Liberal Nationals legislation, Victoria Police will be able to apply for a terrorism restriction order to the Magistrates’ Court or the Children’s Court.

Where a person has had their passport cancelled for a terrorism-related reason that will create a presumption in favour of an order being required.

As part of a terrorism restriction order, the court will have power to impose such conditions as it considers appropriate. These conditions could include:

  • Mandatory wearing of electronic monitoring devices
  • Residing at a specific address
  • Exclusion from certain areas of potential risk such as Melbourne CBD
  • Restrictions or prohibitions on communications with other identified persons of interest
  • Imposition of conditions on use of communications, including secondary mobile devices or internet services
  • Prohibition on the use of other individuals’ communications devices
  • Imposition of regular reporting to law enforcement agencies – similar to bail reporting conditions
  • Curfews
  • Mandatory counselling, de-radicalisation and/or drug and alcohol programs.

The Liberal Nationals will also provide funding to allow an additional 100 current Victoria Police officers to undergo advanced counterterrorism training. This will help boost the overall counterterrorism capacity of Victoria Police.

The trained officers will be available on short notice to Counter Terrorism Command to provide additional support when required and to provide urgent surge capacity in a crisis situation.

Additionally, a Liberal Nationals Government will recruit 50 new surveillance and analyst staff to ensure that intelligence gathering, threat assessments and preventative measures can be undertaken quickly and effectively, threat assessment backlogs can be cleared and people under Terrorism Restriction Orders can be properly monitored.

The additional staff will be allocated to the Victorian Fixated Threat Assessment Centre and Counter Terrorism Command. These specialist staff will help ensure that Victoria Police have rapid access to the information needed when assessing and responding to terrorism threats.

A Liberal Nationals Government will also fund an additional 76 frontline police to operate in eight patrol teams of four on Melbourne CBD streets to make our city safer.

According to The Police Association figures, frontline police numbers have fallen under Daniel Andrews with 190 fewer uniform officers than in 2013.

That’s why a Liberal Nationals Government will deliver more frontline police.

A Liberal Nationals Government will ensure the continued evolution and refinement of the Victoria Police Staff Allocation Model and direct the resources to identified areas of need, including visible policing in the Melbourne CBD in response to the ongoing risk of terrorism.

An elected Liberal Nationals Government will provide $89.5 million for these new counterterrorism measures.

Comments attributable to Leader of the Liberal Party, Matthew Guy:

“I do not, have not and never will accept that ‘violent extremism is part of contemporary Australia’.

No Victorian or Australian should accept that.

I do not accept it as opposition leader and I would never accept it as Premier.

That’s why as Premier I will immediately take action to toughen our approach with more frontline police, more police with specialist counterterrorism training, more specialists in the Counterterrorism Unit for surveillance and monitoring and introduce Terrorism Restriction Orders to give police more control.

There can be no complacency, no equivocation when it comes to protecting the community.

No ifs, or buts and no acceptance that extremism is just part of contemporary Victoria.

A government I lead will never accept that violent extremism is part of contemporary Australia.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Counter Terrorism, Robert Clark:

“While voluntary engagement is usually the first approach to consider for those at risk of being radicalised towards violence, where this is unsuccessful or the individual is already too far radicalised, having terrorism restriction orders available is a key part of preventing terrorist acts and helping to keep the community safe.

We can’t afford to continue to leave Victorians exposed by not having this legislation in place, and leaving Victoria Police without this vital part of their terrorism-fighting armoury.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Police, Edward O’Donohue:

“The Liberal Nationals understand that Victorians want and need a strong visible police presence, particularly in the CBD. That’s why as part of our frontline first policy, we will put more police in the city to help keep Victorians safe.

Once again Daniel Andrews has failed to make the tough decisions to keep Victorians safe.

Victorians will have a clear choice at the next election. More of the same excuses and failed policies of Daniel Andrews and Labor or a tough approach from the Liberal Nationals to get back in control of public safety.”

Comments attributable to Shadow Attorney-General, John Pesutto:

“We need to get back in control of community safety and that means making some tough changes.

These first four measures will deliver immediate improvement to safety and security.

There’s no doubt that the fast and effective response of the first responders at last Friday’s attack saved innocent lives.

It was a powerful demonstration of why we need more police on the frontline and more counterterrorism specialists to help keep Victorians safe.”