Abbott issues Australia with renewed national security warning
Updated: 2015-02-16 09:05
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott addresses members of the media after a party room meeting at Parliament House in Canberra February 9, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
CANBERRA - Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has issued a strengthened national security warning as the country prepares for the release of a review into last year's Sydney siege.
Three people, including gunman Man Haron Monis, were killed in Sydney in December last year during a 16-hour hostage situation, with a detailed Commonwealth and State joint-review into the terror saga expected to be unveiled in parliament next week.
Ahead of its release, Abbott has said that the government will no longer give the "benefit of the doubt" to known terror threats and suggested a nationwide crackdown on dangerous individuals that have been identified by authorities.
Abbott also touched on Monis' past in reference to future restrictions, with the Iranian on bail at the time of the siege, despite facing charges in relation to the murder of his ex-wife, in addition to multiple sexual assault cases.
Monis had also been granted a Visa to enter Australia in 1996, despite warnings from Tehran regarding his criminal history.
"There's been the benefit of the doubt at our borders, the benefit of the doubt for residency, the benefit of the doubt for citizenship and the benefit of the doubt at Centrelink," Abbott said in a recorded message on Monday.
"And in the courts, there has been bail, where clearly there should have been jail.
"We are a free and fair nation, but that doesn't mean we should let bad people play us for mugs and all too often they have. Well, that is going to stop."
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop echoed his comments and suggested that lessons that could be learned from the fateful events of the Sydney siege.
"At every step along the way, it seems from his history he ( Monis) was given the benefit of the doubt and quite clearly he made a number of fraudulent claims," she told Sky News Australia on Monday.
"So the prime minister is referring to us tightening the approach and bringing fresh eyes to consider some of the circumstances that our border protection and immigration people are presented with."