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Australian spies on alert for copycat attacks

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Counter-terrorism and security agencies are on high alert for copycat behaviour in Australia following the deadly Paris attacks.

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Paris terror attacks

But there’s evidence of any connection between what happened in Paris and the security situation here, Attorney-General George Brandis says.

“Whenever an event of this kind occurs then obviously it is encouragement to other like-minded people,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“The national security agencies and the police are very alert to ensure there isn’t any copycat behaviour in Australia.”

The situation was under “constant” review, with about 400 individuals being monitored by Australia’s domestic spy agency ASIO.

Australia’s terror alert level remains at “high”, meaning an attack is likely.

Brandis said the Paris attacks reinforced warnings by world leaders that Islamic State posed a “very grave threat” to western nations.

But he expressed confidence in Australia’s security agencies, saying while it was not a fail-safe process every possible thing was being done to keep people safe.

Defence Minister Marise Payne believes defeating IS is more than just a military operation in the Middle East.

She wants governments to try and win over the hearts and minds of those people tempted to get involved in radical extremism.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott called for a movement within Islam to challenge extremism while Brandis said working with the Muslim community was “absolutely essential”.

“The worst thing we could to is to alienate the Muslim community,” he said.

Abbott also called for the immigration and border protection minister to be reinstated to cabinet’s national security committee.

Peter Dutton joins the committee on an as-needs basis only following a decision by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shortly after he seized the Liberal leadership in September.

“The minister for border protection is, in my judgment, a significant part of our national security machinery,” Abbott told Alan Jones on Radio 2GB.

TERROR ALERT LEVEL

* Low: attack not expected

* Medium: attack could occur

* High: attack is likely

* Extreme: attack is imminent or has occurred.

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