Victoria: Expert panel to leave no stone unturned in probing terror threat

Suspects who have never been convicted of a terrorism offence will be among those targeted in a state government overhaul of terror laws.

An expert panel led by former police chief commissioner Ken Lay and former Supreme Court of Appeals justice David Harper will review all laws related to terrorism and violent extremism.

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The bomb squad at the scene of a terror stand-off in Brighton earlier this month.

The bomb squad at the scene of a terror stand-off in Brighton earlier this month. Photo: Justin McManus

Announcing the panel on Sunday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said "nothing is off the table".

The review will leave no stone unturned, according to the government, and will find and remove any legislative barriers that police come up against when responding to terrorism.

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Former Victoria Police commissioner Ken Lay will lead an expert panel reviewing terror laws.

Former Victoria Police commissioner Ken Lay will lead an expert panel reviewing terror laws. Photo: Eddie Jim

Mr Andrews said recent terror acts in Brighton in Melbourne and abroad pointed to the fact there are potential gaps and deficiencies in the state's laws and procedures.

"This process is about making sure there are no gaps, there are no areas where we can do more and aren't," he said, adding not all future changes would be popular.

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"If curbing the rights of a small number of people is what is required to keep Victorians safe, then I won't hesitate to do it."

The announcement comes just days after Fairfax Media revealed Victoria Police is set to gain extraordinary powers to search suspects as young as 14 years old without a warrant.

The premier would not be drawn on what pieces of legislation would be the focus of the expert panel but flagged potential changes to post-sentence detention laws that govern offenders who have already served their prison time.

He said Victoria currently worked within a federal government framework that only related to those convicted of a terrorist offence.

"Not everybody who poses a threat or a risk in fact has a terrorism conviction," he said.

"At the other end of the spectrum we have current powers to detain and to monitor people who present a risk who have not yet committed a criminal offence or a terrorism offence but the threat needs to be imminent.

"Not everybody who poses a risk is necessarily posing an imminent risk."

The panel will examine all stages of the judicial system including pre-charge, pre-sentence and post-sentence measures.

Online radicalisation, curfews and GPS tracking of terror suspects will also form part of the review.

The panel will provide reform recommendations within weeks, with a more detailed report to follow later in the year.

"I think both David and I want to get in, want to get out and give the government a piece of work that makes the Victorian community safer," Mr Lay said.

Mr Harper said he would examine relevant precedents in terror legislation in both Australia and abroad.

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