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Cabinet looking at new anti-terror steps


National security ministers are looking at what further steps can be taken to protect Australia from terrorist attacks.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is briefing the national security committee of cabinet in Canberra on Monday on his discussions with world leaders about ways to address the terrorism threat.

At the start of the final parliamentary sitting fortnight for the year, the committee is also hearing from security agencies and senior Defence officials.

Turnbull has met with key leaders including US President Barack Obama at summits where pledges were made to ensure terrorist bombings and shootings were not the “new normal”.

In May 2014, Attorney-General George Brandis was asked to review all federal counter-terrorism laws to ensure they are strong enough while not violating individual rights.

Since then he has introduced five tranches of law updates – including one regarding control orders last week – to strengthen the powers of security agencies and give police more flexibility in enforcing the law.

The government also wants laws to allow dual-nationals suspected of terrorism offences to be stripped of their citizenship passed by the end of next week.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who is not routinely on the national security committee, has been asked to take part in Monday’s meeting.

Further law changes have not been ruled out in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Brandis said at the weekend the government needed to “rethink where the balance lies”, arguing there would be occasions where Australians will have to accept greater limits on their privacy.

Treasurer Scott Morrison on Monday said the government was taking a deliberate and calm approach to dealing with a terror threat, rather than a “hot-headed” response.

“They want to be assured that the government is doing everything it possibly can, and we are, to ensure that Australians are protected, particularly here at home,” he told Sydney 2GB radio.

The meeting comes as a new poll shows increasing concern about a terrorist attack.

The Newspoll of 1573 people found 76 per cent believe it is likely, very likely or inevitable that a large-scale terrorist attack will be carried out in Australia.

Just one per cent believe it will never happen.

On committing ground troops to fight Islamic State, Newspoll found 42 per cent in favour, 45 per cent opposed and 13 per cent uncommitted.



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