Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will deliver a national security statement today outlining his approach to groups like IS, also to reassure people that his Government will do everything in order to keep them safe.
The plan to improve the current system was proposed more than a year ago and formally agreed to by the Commonwealth and all state and territory leaders at a COAG (Council of Australian Governments) meeting in July.
However, the new five-tiered public alert system, which intelligence and security agencies want to replace the current four levels, appears to have been gathering dust ever since.
Senior government sources said last night it was still the government’s intention to implement the new system. However, a consultation period on the scheme ended in September.
Several Coalition MPs have privately said it should already have been rolled out and have raised concerns it may have been mothballed.
Also yesterday, former defence minister Kevin Andrews urged the US and its allies to do more to destroy Islamic State, including sending troops to Syria.
“You’ll never be able to drop bombs where you need to drop them adequately or in sufficient numbers unless you have some presence on the ground,” he said.
The overhaul of the terror alert system was flagged by the COAG communiqué in July, which said it would be implemented “shortly”.
Following the Lindt cafe terror siege last December, the National Threat Assessment Centre, a division within ASIO, reviewed the country’s counter-terrorism machinery and recommended a new national terrorism threat advisory system
The current four levels include low, medium, high and extreme. The alert level has been at high since September last year, when it was raised on the advice of ASIO.
The proposed new system would rate threats as not expected, possible, probable, expected and certain. It would also allow the intelligence agencies to provide an explanatory public statement outlining the nature of the risk.
A senior intelligence source told The Daily Telegraph that, while the system would not have the effect of countering terrorism threats, it was important for the public to be better informed about the nature of those threats.
“The new system will give people better information of the level of risk and the nature of that risk,” they said.
“It is particularly important in the changed environment we are in.”
A recent opinion poll taken since the Paris attacks revealed that 76 per cent of Australians believed a large-scale terrorist attack in Australia was likely or inevitable.
Mr Turnbull is due to make a national security statement today, reassuring Australians about their safety, as some backbenchers have become frustrated with his approach to terror fears.
Multiple MPs have told The Daily Telegraph they believe Mr Turnbull has not been strong enough in addressing key national security matters.
In the past week backbench MPs Mr Andrews, Dan Tehan, Andrew Nikolic, Michael Sukkar and former PM Tony Abbott have all expressed the need for Australia to destroy Islamic State.
Mr Andrews, defence minister under Mr Abbott, said the US had to lead an operation with boots on the ground because air strikes couldn’t target the areas they needed to hit.