Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has the blessing of state and territory leaders to develop uniform laws that will see convicted terrorists facing indefinite detention because they’re an ongoing threat.
Chairing his first Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Sydney today, the PM proposed a national “post-sentence preventative detention scheme” in a bid to keep “high-risk” terrorists behind bars after their sentence is completed.
The laws would be similar to existing state-based legislation used to keep pedophiles behind bars after their sentence ends.
“This would be consistent with the arrangements that apply in a number of jurisdictions for sex offenders and for extremely violent individuals,” the prime minister said.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said “if there are checks and balances, you can count Victoria in to provide support”.
The process would be overseen by the courts, the PM said.
The federal government also wants to see authorities allowed to keep terror suspects in detention for longer before being charged.
NSW is already working towards longer pre-charge detention for terror suspects.
Turnbull needs the backing of the state because there are “constitutional impediments to the Commonwealth government legislating for pre-charge detention”.
There are currently 13 terrorists in jail – nine in NSW and four in Victoria.
Turnbull said he wants the legislation in place across the state and territories “as soon as possible”.
The PM had less success on tax reform.
While the state and territory leader agree there’s an $80 billion shortfall in their budgets, with health the biggest financial burden, the leaders are split over how to gather more revenue, with some, like Daniel Andrews, wanting to increase the Medicare levy, while others are considering an increase in the GST.
The COAG agreed to try and finalise a plan before they meet again in March.
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