Hundreds of thousands of Australian sports fans could have their identity recorded and analysed at the Commonwealth Games, the Queensland premier has said, as state and territory leaders arrive in Canberra for a national security summit.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the states were in "violent agreement" over the threat of terrorism to national security, as the leaders vowed to hand over the licence details of millions of Australians, and commit to 14-day detention periods without charge for alleged terrorism offenders.
Speaking before the Council of Australian Government’s meeting in Canberra on Thursday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews dismissed concerns over civil liberties as a "luxury".
"What I worry about is if we, heaven forbid, had another terrorist attack in this country and it became clear that we had technology available to us, tools and powers and laws and resources available to us, and we had squibbed it because of notional
concerns about civil liberties," he said.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was comfortable with cameras scanning the crowd at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April, with drivers’ licence details provided in real-time.
"It’s a very, very important event, not just for Queensland, but for our nation," she said.
"This is about stopping any prospect of terrorism, and it is ensuring that thousands of people are safe at the games, so I support whatever measures are needed – surveillance and added security."
Under the proposal, Australian Federal Police officers would be able to use a national identity database to scan crowds in public spaces when there is credible threat or after an attack has occurred.
SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is pushing the states and territories to adopt tougher national security laws. Photo: Brendan Esposito
On Thursday, civil liberties advocates criticised the push from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Justice Minister Michael Keenan to nationalise the database.
"It is mass undifferentiated surveillance that can be used regardless of innocence and no participation in a criminal activity," said Adam Molnar, a lecturer in criminology at Deakin University.
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"There is no opt-out for this, so in a criminal justice context, this breaks down the conventional notion of a probable cause for stop and search powers."
State and territory ministers said they were also open to discussing a proposal by Labor leader Bill Shorten to extend the gun amnesty after it finished last week with more than 30,000 guns being handed in.
SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, pictured with Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton in June, says concerns about civil liberties are a "luxury". Photo: Jason South
There have been calls to extend the amnesty after 59 people were killed and almost 500 injured in the Las Vegas shooting massacre this week.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he was "considering a 3-month extension," while both NSW and Victoria said they looked forward to discussions on Thursday.
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It is understood the Turnbull government is not considering a federal extension at this stage.