National Approach To Counter Terrorism To Keep Us Safe

07 June 2017

Commonwealth security agencies will play a key role in any parole decisions relating to offenders on the terror watch list under a proposal to be tabled for discussion by the Victorian Government at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on Friday.

Victoria already has the toughest parole laws in the country, with the number of people on parole falling from more than 1600 to 853 in the past four years but following the terrorist incident in Brighton, it is clear that more needs to be done.

While there is strong Commonwealth—State cooperation in intelligence sharing, countering the threat of terrorism requires new ways of thinking and new ways of acting and Victoria is supportive of a national approach to align parole laws across the country.

Victoria’s proposal would see states partner with the Commonwealth when it comes to parole decision making, ensuring that Commonwealth security agencies including the Australian Federal Police and ASIO actively participate in parole decisions for persons of interest.

For the first time, this would see the Commonwealth have direct involvement in the granting of parole for persons of interest. This makes sense – as the most up-to-date information about persons of interest is often held by these Commonwealth security agencies.

Victoria is willing to discuss a range of options to achieve this including referring powers to the Commonwealth to enable the enactment of legislation to achieve this purpose.

The proposal acknowledges that national security is a shared responsibility.

The threat to our society from violent extremism requires us to go well beyond changes to parole laws.

The Victorian Government remains determined to counter violent extremism and will continue to work with the Commonwealth and other states to respond to the evolving threat of terrorism.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“We need to work together on national security, not just by sharing information but by sharing responsibility.”

“Violent extremism is a reality we have to confront in our state and across our nation, clearly action is needed on parole and more broadly across our justice systems.”

In the event that parole decisions need to be made for someone on a terrorist watch list, we want the experts in our national security agencies to be directly involved in the decision making process.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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