Yacqub Khayre leaves court in Melbourne in December 2010, acquitted by a Supreme Court jury of planning a terrorist attack on the Holsworthy army base in Sydney.
Yacqub Khayre leaves court in Melbourne in December 2010, acquitted by a Supreme Court jury of planning a terrorist attack on the Holsworthy army base in Sydney. JULIAN SMITH

PM and state premiers to discuss parole overhaul

PAROLE decisions for criminals with a "toxic” combination of extremist views and a history of violence should be made by attorneys-general, not parole boards, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

Concerns about public safety in the wake of the Brighton terror attack demanded the decision to "go to the very top”, Mr Turnbull told radio station 3AW yesterday.

In the wake of Monday's attack, the PM questioned how Yacqub Khayre - a repeat offender with a history of violence and a known terror plot association - could have been released on parole.

Khayre was regarded by prison authorities as a troublesome "goose”, the Herald Sun reported.

Mr Turnbull said state premiers' views on parole laws needed to be taken into account when they met for the Coalition of Australian Governments tomorrow.

"I would say that at the very least a decision to grant parole to a person with this background, with this combination of violence and associations with terrorism or terrorists or extremists, that is a decision that should have to go to the very top, in other words to go to the attorney-general,” the PM said.

Parole decisions typically went to the attorney-general in the Commonwealth sphere, he said.

"You do have a very real issue about public safety and we of course have got to do everything we can to support rehabilitation ....

"We understand that but the primary responsibility of every government, federal, state, territory, is to protect the public,” Mr Turnbull said.

Counter-terrorism strategies will also be discussed at the COAG meeting.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the Commonwealth should have a role in parole decisions relating to people with known terror links.

"I want ASIO and the Australian Federal Police not just to be providing advice, but to be directly involved in any decision to grant parole to anybody on that watch list,” Mr Andrews told the ABC yesterday.

- Claire Bickers



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