PM com­mis­sions siege probe

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Can­berra

Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott has com­mis­sioned an ur­gent re­view into the Syd­ney siege, say­ing there are ob­vi­ous ques­tions that need an­swer­ing.

The re­view will be con­ducted by Mr Ab­bott’s depart­ment chief and NSW Premier Mike Baird’s most se­nior ad­viser.

The Prime Min­is­ter said Aus­tralians should be con­fi­dent in their po­lice and se­cu­rity agen­cies, which acted pro­fes­sion­ally and with courage in re­spond­ing to this “appalling out­rage”.

“Nev­er­the­less we do need to re­flect on what’s hap­pened and pon­der what might have been done bet­ter,” he said.

He ques­tioned how the gun­man, killed in a hail of gun­fire on Tues­day morn­ing, man­aged to get per­ma­nent res­i­dency in Aus­tralia.

It was also vi­tal the re­view looked into how Mo­nis was on bail, was on wel­fare and had a gun li­cence de­spite a his­tory of vi­o­lence.

Mr Ab­bott con­firmed the hostage taker did de­mand to speak to him on Mon­day dur­ing the siege.

The Prime Min­is­ter was pre­pared to do what­ever the po­lice thought best in the cir­cum­stances.

“The ad­vice from po­lice was to have no con­tact with him,” he said.

The re­view will look into Man Haron Mo­nis’ ar­rival in Aus­tralia and his grant­ing of asy­lum, cit­i­zen­ship and wel­fare ben­e­fits.

It will also probe how Mo­nis ob­tained ac­cess to firearms, his in­ter­ac­tion with the courts, and what in­for­ma­tion rel­e­vant to pub­lic safety the Fed­eral and State agen­cies had on him.

The probe will in­ves­ti­gate how stage na­tional se­cu­rity pow­ers such as con­trol or­ders could have been used to mon­i­tor his ac­tiv­i­ties.

More broadly, it will ex­am­ine what lessons can be learnt by the NSW and Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice about the han­dling of the siege.

A re­port will be pro­vided by Jan­uary.

Mr Ab­bott ex­pressed par­tic­u­lar con­cern Mo­nis had dropped off the ter­ror­ist watch list, given he had such a che­quered past and was “plainly” a threat.

Mo­nis was be­ing watched by ASIO back in 2008 when he was send­ing “pro­foundly of­fen­sive” let­ters to the fam­i­lies of dead Aus­tralian sol­diers.

“I don’t know why he dropped off the watch list in those days, I re­ally don’t,” he said.

“That’s one of the rea­sons we need this in­quiry.”

Mr Ab­bott hinted the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment had de­nied an at­tempt by the Ira­nian Gov­ern­ment to ex­tra­dite Mo­nis to his for­mer home­land.

“I’m not go­ing to deny that, but I would rather not con­firm it at this stage ei­ther,” he said.

Mo­nis had been in­dicted for fraud in Iran and went by the name of Mo­ham­mad Has­san Man­teghi Borou­jerdi be­fore he came to Aus­tralia in 1996.

Iran says it dis­cussed the men­tal state of the gun­man with Aus­tralian of­fi­cials sev­eral times be­fore this week’s deadly cafe siege.

Mr Ab­bott said Mo­nis had a “very che­quered” his­tory and the in­quiry would in­ves­ti­gate how he had per­ma­nent res­i­dency and was able to gain ben­e­fits.

“I share the ex­as­per­a­tion of the Aus­tralian pub­lic at what ap­pears to be some­one who has been hav­ing a lend of us at the very least for so many years,” he said. AAP

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