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PM plans new law to keep high-risk terrorists in jail indefinitely

National

Legislation that allows high-risk terrorist offenders to remain detained after their jail sentences end must be introduced quickly in the wake of recent global attacks, the Prime Minister says.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked Attorney-General George Brandis to convene a meeting of his state and territory counterparts as soon as possible, to consider the scheme and agree on the design.

“This is a significant public safety and security issue and our governments must do all we can to protect the community from individuals posing a high risk of reoffending and/or those in need of continued rehabilitation,” Turnbull wrote in a letter to premiers and chief ministers yesterday.

The proposed post-sentencing preventative detention scheme would allow for continued imprisonment of high-risk convicted terrorists, similar to processes already in place for sex offenders and violent criminals.

The Federal Government and state premiers agreed to the scheme at the meeting of the Council of Australian Government in Canberra in April.

The Prime Minister said today that the proposed laws were needed to keep Australians safe.

“It will provide a very real incentive for people in prison for terrorist offences not to engage in continued extremist activity,” he said.

Turnbull last week asked Australia’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator, Greg Moriarty, for ideas on how to prevent lone wolf attacks following the Nice massacre.

Eighty-four people were killed and hundreds injured when a 31-year-old Tunisian man with a record of domestic violence and petty crimes drove a truck through a Bastille Day crowd in the southern French city.

The terror threat level has been at “probable” since September 2014, meaning individuals or groups have developed both an intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.

Brandis wouldn’t say today whether terrorists currently behind bars will be affected if the proposed new law is passed.

-AAP

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