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Australia reveals tough new security measures

Monday, February 23, 2015 - 01:25

Australia's PM announces a national security crackdown that could see dual-nationals stripped of their Australian passports and some citizens barred from travelling. Rough cut. (No reporter narration.)

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday (February 23) announced a national security crackdown that could deny welfare payments to people seen as potential threats, strip the passports of those with dual nationality and curb travel overseas. He said some personal freedoms would have to be curtailed to fight what he called a rapidly growing threat from radical groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Abbott unveiled the measures in the wake of a hostage siege in a Sydney cafe that left three dead in December. "For too long, we have given those who might be a threat to our country the benefit of the doubt. The perpetrator (of the Martin Place siege) was given the benefit of the doubt when he applied for a visa. He was given the benefit of the doubt for residency and citizenship. He was given the benefit of the doubt at centre link. He was given the benefit fit of the doubt when he applied for legal aid and in the courts, there's been bail when there should've been jail," Abbott said. He was speaking a day after the release of a damning report into the siege, in which two hostages and a radical self-styled sheikh who had sought to align himself with Islamic State were killed. Abbott said new laws would remedy failings exposed in the areas of immigration, welfare, policing and intelligence by clamping down on those who supported radicals, especially recipients of welfare. Abbott explicitly linked welfare to terrorism, accusing dozens of Australians fighting in Syria and Iraq of having been on the dole, adding that payments to "individuals assessed to be a threat to security" could soon be cancelled. "It has long been the case that people who fight against Australia forfeit their citizenship. So Australians who take up arms with terrorist groups, especially while Australian military personnel are engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq, have sided against our country. And should be treated accordingly," he said. Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its action against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown Islamist radicals since last year.

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Australia reveals tough new security measures

Monday, February 23, 2015 - 01:25