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COAG meeting on counter-terrorism was more about politics than practice

Keiran Hardy writes in The Conversation (6.10.17) about the federal-state agreement reached at COAG to establish a facial image database as part of new counter-terrorism measures introduced by the Turnbull government.

'Given the persistent and serious threat of terrorism, national discussions about the direction of Australia’s counter-terrorism strategy should be encouraged.

'However, such discussions require robust follow-up – not merely announcements about “getting tough” on terrorism – if they are to improve responses to terrorism in practice.

'As might be expected, the key messages from Thursday’s special Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting were about co-operation and a nationally consistent approach to counter-terrorism. The COAG discussion also focused on facial recognition software, pre-charge detention, and new criminal offences for terrorism.

'... These proposed changes have more to do with “getting tough” on terrorism than with filling gaps in the criminal law. After seeing Turnbull flanked by special forces soldiers and now tactical response police, one wonders whom he will pose with next.'

 

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