Australia On Alert: Government Steps Up Security

ISIS militants (Photo: AP/Supplied)

For the first time in Australia’s history the terror threat level has been raised from medium to high.

In response, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has raised the public alert level to high.

This is the first time in 11 years the terror threat level has been raised since its inception.

The PM revealed outgoing ASIO Boss David Irvine last night raised the terror threat level from medium to high, meaning an attack is likely.

“There are people with the intent and capability to mount attacks here in Australia,” Abbott said.

“People who are overseas fighting, people who have already come home, and people who are in Australia. Theses are people of real security concern.”

ASIO Boss David Irvine said concern has been mounting and he has been considering raising the threat level over the past few months.

“The long history of al-Qaeda types and the rhetoric coming out of the Middle East now is encouraging Australians to take violent actions, which increases the likelihood of attacks here,” Irvine said.

Irvine added, “raising the threat level raises awareness.”

Abbott said Australia has been experiencing “significant levels of threat” for an extensive period.

“There are people out there who wish to do us harm. I regret to say we are targets and would be targets no matter what we did.”

The PM said that while it was too early to go into exact detail the public should not expect to see significant changes in how police operate, and insisted community protection is the government’s number one objective.

Abbott said the increased threat level would not affect the daily lives of the majority of Australians, however, people may notice more security at airports, ports, military bases, government buildings and public events.

He warned the Australian Muslim community were “particularly exposed” and said protecting them, their communities and their interests was important.

“Nothing that I have said today, has to do with religion. It’s about combating crime,” he said.

“The only people who should feel impacted by this is terrorists.”

The government is expecting to introduce new legislation in the next two weeks to assist in protecting Australia from potential attacks.

It was reported yesterday that a small number of Islamic radicals have “settled plans” to conduct terror attacks in Australia.

It is understood around 60 Australians fighting with the ISIS in Syria and Iraq, with an additional 100 working in active support of the terrorist cause.

Anyone who has information pertaining to terrorist activities have been strongly encouraged to call the National Security Hotline.

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