Victorians deemed as possible terror threats could be banned from areas like Melbourne’s CBD or forced to wear electronic monitoring devices under a plan the State Opposition is promising to fast-track.
- 100 police officers would get counterterrorism training under the Opposition’s proposal
- 50 new terrorism analysts and surveillance staff would be hired
- Eight extra police patrols would be deployed in Melbourne’s CBD
The election promise comes just days after Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who was known to intelligence authorities, fatally stabbed one man and wounded two others in Melbourne’s Bourke Street.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has promised to give courts the power to issue “terrorism restriction orders” for individuals suspected of being radicalised but who did not meet the threshold for a preventative detention order or control order.
Speaking at Parliament House a day after Bourke Street rampage driver James Gargasoulas was found guilty of murdering six pedestrians last year, Mr Guy also pledged to increase the police presence in the CBD by adding eight extra patrol teams of four officers each.
“I think we can all see from the tragic events of last Friday, how seconds mattered, how every second counted,” he said.
“The safety of every person in this state will be the primary objective and goal of any government that I lead.”
Mr Guy also promised to train 100 existing police officers in advanced counterterrorism operations and measures, and hire 50 extra analyst and surveillance staff for the Victorian Fixated Threat Assessment Centre and Counter Terrorism Command.
The Coalition would also introduce legislation for the “terrorism restriction orders” by Christmas.
Under the plan, Victoria Police would apply to a magistrates’ court or children’s court to have an order imposed.
The cancellation of a person’s passport for a terrorism-related reason would create a presumption in favour of an order being required.
The man responsible for Friday’s Bourke Street attack, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, had his passport cancelled in 2015 over fears he planned to travel to Syria.
As part of such an order, the court could require a person to:
- reside at a specific address
- abide by a curfew
- regularly report to law enforcement agencies
- wear an electronic monitoring device
- attend counselling, de-radicalisation programs or drug and alcohol rehabilitation
- stay away from certain areas, such as the Melbourne CBD
- not use their mobile phones and internet services, or other people’s communication devices
- not communicate with other persons of interest
Mr Guy said the creation of such orders was a key recommendation of a review of Victoria’s terrorism laws, which was commissioned by the Andrews Government in June last year in the wake of a siege in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton.
In that siege, a gunman took a woman hostage, killed a man and injured three police officers before being shot dead by police.
The review, led by former police chief commissioner Ken Lay and former Victorian Court of Appeal Justice David Harper, recommended the creation of “support and engagement” orders which would enable courts to impose a “support and engagement plan”.
It said that plan could include participation in counselling, family group conferencing and support and disengagement programs.