22 Feb 2015

Sydney cafe siege report released

3:25 pm on 22 February 2015

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has foreshadowed more stringent visa, citizenship and bail controls, as a result of the siege in Sydney's Martin Place in December.

Mr Abbott and New South Wales Premier Mike Baird this morning jointly released the first report into the 16-hour siege, which resulted in the deaths of cafe manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson, as well as gunman Man Haron Monis.

The NSW Government has accepted all 17 recommendations made by the joint report, which will look at firearms laws and information sharing.

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Tony Abbott Photo: AFP

A requirement for bail authorities to consider an accused person's links with terrorist groups or violent extremism was also included as a recommendation.

Monis was on bail at the time of the Sydney attack for a string of charges, including sexual offences and abetting the murder of his ex-wife.

Mr Baird said someone such as Monis should not be able to slip throught the net in the future.

"I also have a strong view that if someone is an identified terrorist suspect and ... he or she comes before the NSW judicial system and in that they are faced with a serious charge, I want to explore all provisions that ensure that person is not provided bail," he said.

The report looked at Monis' involvement with public agencies over a period of many years.

The Prime Minister said at various stages of his involvement with those agencies, Monis was given the "benefit of the doubt", with the effect that he was able to "wreak havoc on the community".

The report concluded the background and actions of Monis fell beneath any threshold which would have alerted him to greater scrutiny over his applications for immigration, citizenship and bail.

Mr Abbott said the community was let down by the system which allowed Monis to remain at large, despite the serious criminal charges he was facing.

He said while the decisions of immigration, ASIO and justice system officials were reasonable, their cumulative impact was not, and the lines may need to be redrawn.

"Plainly, this monster should not have been in our community," he said.

"He shouldn't have been allowed into the country. He shouldn't have been out on bail.

"He shouldn't have been with a gun and he shouldn't have become radicalised."

He said the incident would mean reassessing the balance between individual freedom and community protection - an issue he said he would address in a national security statement on Monday.

- ABC -

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