Greater role for Defence Force in Australian counter-terror

AAP Image  Brendan Esposito                       Special Operations Command soldiers are seen posing at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney

AAP Image Brendan Esposito Special Operations Command soldiers are seen posing at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney

The ADF will still be supporting states and territories in their role as the first responders to a domestic terrorist incident. Elite special forces would have full legal authority to shoot and kill terrorists.

"State and territory police forces remain the best first response to terrorist incidents, immediately after an attack starts", The Guarding quoted Turnbull as saying in a joint statement with the defence minister, Marise Payne.

"We can not afford to take a "set and forget" mentality on national security", Mr Turnbull said.

Defense officials will also provide specialized training to police forces as part of the measures.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull will on Monday announce the changes, which follow a review into the 2014 fatal Lindt Cafe siege. "We must constantly review and update our responses to the threat of terrorism".

Turnbull made an additional announcement over the reforms on Monday morning at Sydney's Holsworthy Barracks, which is the home of the 2nd Commando Regiment that domestic counter-terrorism operations.

But the main change will remove from the Defence Act a clause that says the military can only be deployed if the state "is not, or is unlikely to be, able to protect itself against the domestic violence".

The ADF has special forces "tactical assault groups" based in Sydney and Perth.

A series of global security incidents, in particular the central Sydney cafe siege in December 2014 in which two hostages were killed, prompted the measures, said Greene.

He said the Defence Force must always be used respectfully.

The ADF will offer state and territory governments specialised training from special forces for select law enforcement teams.

The changes, which need to pass Parliament, will be discussed at the next Council of Australian Governments meeting.

"Our police and law enforcement are the best in the world. if it's a situation where we have some specialist capability within the Australian Defence Force, or we had a requirement to use the Australian Defence Force in counter-terrorism response, I think Australians would understand we need to have the most flexible arrangements possible", he said.

Former SAS commander-turned federal MP Andrew Hastie has previously said the Sydney siege response demonstrated state police were "not up to the task" of dealing with the unique nature of Islamist terrorism.