COAG agrees to hold suspected terrorists for up to 14 days

5 October 2017

COAG agrees to hold suspected terrorists for up to 14 days

Photo credit: chrisjmit (Pixabay) — CC0 public domain dedication

Suspected terrorists may be held for up to 14 days without charge under an agreement ratified by the Council of Australian Governments on Thursday.

The states and territories also agreed to the creation of a facial recognition system using drivers licence photos. Authorities will be able to use the database to identify terrrorism suspects in real time.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters at the COAG summit that the facial recognition database will help police identify criminals and terrorists far more swiftly.

“It’s really taking a resource that has been accessed for years and years, and making it available in a 21st century manner,” he said.

“I thought that most Australians would assume it would be accessed in this way now but it hasn’t been.”

Civil liberties are important, but…

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said decisions made by the state, territory and federal leaders will curtail the civil liberties of some people.

“Notional considerations of civil liberties do not trump the very real threat, the very real threat of terror in our country today,” he told reporters.

Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan showed his strong support for the new measures, saying he isn’t concerned about the civil liberties of terrorists or potential terrorists.

“Obviously if you don’t have this and if people are released they can go and destroy evidence or even worse they can go and detonate whatever material might have so you have got to have proper precautions,” the Labour Premier said.

“We are dealing with the civil liberties of terrorists and I don’t particularly care about the civil liberties of terrorists or potential terrorists so I think these are appropriate safeguards or precautions.”

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “We must always, always be conscious of individual rights and civil liberties however public safety and security must come first.”