Tony Abbott has flagged shifting the balance between upholding individual rights and ensuring community protection following a report into the Sydney cafe siege.
The Australian Prime Minister and New South Wales Premier Mike Baird released the joint federal-NSW inquiry report yesterday with 17 recommendations for tougher immigration, bail and gun laws.
One of its main recommendations was to cross-check bail applications with the accused person's links with terrorist organisations or violent extremism.
Abbott says Australia needs to re-examine the system after it let the community down by allowing "monster" gunman Man Haron Monis to roam free.
"We need to ask ourselves at what stage do we need to change the tipping point from protection of the individual to the safety of the community," he told reporters in Sydney, indicating that he would elaborate on the issue at the national security address today.
"The system let us down because plainly this guy shouldn't have been in the country, he shouldn't have been out on bail, he shouldn't have had a gun and he shouldn't have been radicalised."
Bodies including the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Immigration and police had repeatedly assessed that at no stage was he a danger to himself or the community. The report found the interactions of various government agencies with Monis were reasonable and at no point did the gunman indicate he had the intention to commit an attack.
Questions remain about why the gunman was out on bail at the time of the siege, despite facing accessory to murder charges and 40 sexual and indecent assault charges.
ASIO had assessed Monis just three days before the siege after 18 calls were made to the national security hotline about his inflammatory Facebook page, the report revealed. None of the calls suggested he was about to carry out the cafe siege. ASIO decided Monis fell "well outside the threshold to be included in the 400 highest priority counter-terrorism investigations".
Although authorities shouldn't try to control everyone, Abbott said hundreds of people were talking about violence against members of the community. Following the report, Abbott said he will outline what Australia could do to "make it more difficult to slip through our visa and citizenship net" in his national security statement.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was not beyond the Australian Parliament to get the balance right. "I do not believe that this nation can only be safe when we get rid of the liberties of people, nor do I believe that the liberties of people in every circumstances should trump national security," he said.
Hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson died when the 17-hour siege came to an end at the Lindt cafe in Sydney's Martin Place on December 16. Monis, who had taken 18 people hostage, was shot dead when police stormed the cafe and ended the crisis.
Baird said while decisions made by the various agencies were considered reasonable by the review, the system had let the community down. "The recommendations that have come forward - we need to act and we need to respond and we will be doing exactly that," he said.
Abbott said that at every stage Monis had been given the benefit of the doubt. "The cumulative effect of the benefit of the doubt being given to him time and time again is that he was able to wreak havoc on our community."
• Bail should consider the accused person's links with terrorist organisations or violent extremism.
• Immigration should improve verification of supporting documents and information provided by visa applicants.
• Before granting citizenship, Immigration should better assess the risk posed by individuals.
• Policy and legislative changes should be made to support decisions to grant or revoke visas and citizenship.
• A Countering Violent Extremism referral programme should be fast-tracked by June 30 in order to divert people before they become a threat to national security.
• Prioritise bringing the National Firearms Interface into operation by the end of 2015 to track the life of each firearm from "cradle to grave".
• Create a memorandum of understanding to review bail decisions by the NSW Police and DPP.
• Journalists should be offered access to government training exercises to improve co-operation before any future terrorism incidents.