'Why are we waiting for them to commit an offence': MP calls for extremist orders

'Why are we waiting for them to commit an offence': MP calls for extremist orders

A federal MP and former Victorian detective is calling for new control orders that family members and police can take out on known extremists, following Friday's deadly terror attack on Melbourne's Bourke Street.

One man is dead along with the suspect, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who came to Australia from Somalia in the 1990s, and two others remain injured following the stabbing attack.

La Trobe Liberal MP Jason Wood.

La Trobe Liberal MP Jason Wood. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Shire Ali was known to Victoria Police and federal intelligence authorities by way of his family associations, and the Counter Terrorism Command along with the Homicide Squad are investigating.

The federal Liberal MP for La Trobe, Jason Wood, a former detective and member of the Victoria Police counter terrorism coordination unit, said the incident showed authorities need more powers to help them deal with extremists before they commit crimes.


Mr Wood chairs parliament's joint standing committee on migration which last year recommended establishing a community protection intervention order.

It would work in a similar way to a domestic violence order and could be sought from a magistrate by a family member or police.

A magistrate would set out restrictions, such as banning a person from using the internet or if, for instance, they had been watching Islamic State content online.

Other options could include curfews, banning a person from socialising with specific individuals, making them undergo a deradicalisation program and wear an electronic tracker.

The order would be a civil law matter but could become a criminal one if the conditions were breached, possibly leading to visa cancellations and deportations for migrants.

The powers would need to be introduced by state governments and has been under consideration by the Victorian Labor government for several years.

Mr Wood said the time had come for the states to act.

"I’m not saying it’s going to prevent attacks but at the moment we’ve got no options," Mr Wood told The Age.

"At the moment we’ve got nothing in place and the hope, wait-and-see approach is just not working. Every six months we’re seeing this happen.


"We have nothing to control an extremist until they commit an offence, why are we waiting for them to commit an offence?" Mr Wood said.

The idea was supported by the Police Federation Australia and the Labor MP Dr Anne Aly, a counter terrorism expert, who is quoted in the report as saying the idea had merit and "would enable parents to remove an individual from radicalising settings and radicalising influences to start the process of re-socialising."

But Labor's immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann disagreed and said the recommendation was based on a single organsation's view. Further, he slammed Mr Wood in Labor's dissenting report, accusing him of making recommendations "based on opinion and anecdote rather than evidence "to pursue his own personal and political agenda."

Latika Bourke is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based in London.

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