Tony Abbott's Sydney Siege Review Will Question The Role Of Australia's Security Agencies

Tony Abbott. Daniel Munoz/Getty Images

A formal investigation into the Sydney siege, which left two hostages dead, will focus on how the gunman came to be moving freely about in Australia.

“In the aftermath of the horrific Martin Place siege and following the tragic loss of innocent lives, we must learn what we can from this incident and implement any changes necessary at the State and Federal level,” said Prime Minister Tony Abbott and NSW Premier Mike Baird in a joint statement.

The Federal and New South Wales governments will urgently conduct a review into the Martin Place siege and what lessons can be learned from the events leading up to and surrounding the incident.

A key focus will be the circumstances surrounding hostage-taker Man Haron Monis’ arrival in Australia and subsequent granting of asylum and citizenship.

The questions include finding out what information agencies had about him, how it was shared, and whether relevant national security legislative powers could have been better used.

“We are determined to ensure that nothing stands in the way of ensuring the people who put their lives on the line to keep Australia safe can get their job done,” the prime minister and premier said.

The Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet have been asked to start the review immediately.

The review will report by the end of January 2015.

The Review Terms of Reference:

The aim of the review is to identify lessons for the future: what worked well and what might be improved.

The review will examine and make recommendations in respect of Commonwealth and NSW agencies and the cooperation between them, in relation to:

  • The arrival of Man Haron Monis in Australia and subsequent granting of asylum, permanent residency and Australian citizenship;
  • Support received from, or any other interactions Monis had with, government social support agencies;
  • Information held by Commonwealth and NSW agencies about Monis for the period prior to and following his arrival in Australia up until the siege including how any information relevant to public safety was shared between, and used by, agencies;
  • The interaction of Monis with the NSW justice system;
  • Monis’ access to firearms;
  • Whether, how and at what stage relevant national security legislative powers including Control Orders were or could have been used in relation to Monis’ activities of security concern;
  • Any lessons learnt by the NSW and Australian Federal Police about the handling of the siege;
  • The effectiveness of public communication including coordination of messaging between the Commonwealth, NSW and jurisdictions; and
  • The effectiveness of co-ordination more generally between the Commonwealth and NSW.

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