Australia’s national terrorism threat level lowered


In a statement at the Ben Chifley Building in Canberra yesterday, ASIO’s Director-General of Security, Mike Burgess declared that “after careful consideration and consultation, ASIO is lowering Australia’s national terrorism threat level to POSSIBLE.”

Since 2014, there have been 11 terrorist attacks on Australian soil, while 21 significant plots have been detected and disrupted. “Thankfully, there have been no attacks or major disruptions this year”, said Burgess.

Terrorism is both an enduring threat and an evolving threat, and in some ways, our counter-terrorism mission is becoming more challenging:

  • The most likely terrorist attack in Australia involves a lone actor using a basic and easily obtained weapon such as a knife or vehicle. These attacks are difficult to detect ahead of time and can occur with little or no warning.
  • The proliferation of extremist content online means individuals are radicalising very quickly – in days and weeks – so the time between flash to bang is shorter than ever.
  • In coming decades, more than fifty convicted terrorism offenders are due to complete their sentences.
  • Foreign fighters may return from the Iraq-Syria conflict zone, bringing dangerous ideologies and capabilities with them.
  • Terrorism remains a significant threat in some parts of the world and an emerging menace in other parts, and developments overseas could resonate here in Australia.
  • Significant challenges and changes in the onshore security environment are adding to its complexity: the radicalisation of minors is a particularly concerning example.

Burgess warned, “While ASIO considered all these factors when deciding to lower the terrorism threat level, I can almost guarantee it will need to go up again at some point in the future.”


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