Sydney Siege report: Man Haron Monis was not considered a high-priority threat.

All the flags were there, but the first government report into the Sydney siege reveals that authorities did not consider gunman Man Haron Monis to be a high-priority threat before he walked into the Lindt Cafe last December.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has foreshadowed changing the balance between community protection and personal freedoms, following last December’s Sydney siege.

Mr Abbott and New South Wales Premier Mike Baird have jointly released the first report into the siege and have flagged more stringent visa, citizenship and bail controls, with Prime Minister Abbott saying that “plainly, the system failed”.

Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson, as well as gunman Man Haron Monis, were killed when police moved to end the 16-hour stand-off in Martin Place.

READ MORE: Inside the Sydney Siege: the survivors finally speak.

The report looked at Monis’ involvement with public agencies including immigration, ASIO, state and federal police services and the justice system over a period of many years.

Reforms may prevent future losses like that of Tori and Katrina.

Monis was on bail at the time of the Sydney attack for a string of charges, including sexual offences and abetting the murder of his ex-wife.

The review found that each of the agencies’ decisions were “reasonable” and that the people making those decisions did so based on all the available information.

READ MORE: Iran claims they tried to extradite the Sydney siege gunman 14 years ago. 

But Mr Abbott said the community had been let down by the system which allowed Monis to remain at large, despite the serious criminal charges he was facing.

“Plainly, this monster should not have been in our community,” he said.

“He shouldn’t have been allowed into the country. He shouldn’t have been out on bail.

“He shouldn’t have been with a gun and he shouldn’t have become radicalised.”


Australia in ‘era of terrorism’: Abbott

Mr Abbott said the cumulative effect of giving Monis the “benefit of the doubt” was that he was able to “wreak havoc on the community”.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott visiting Martin Place.

That, Mr Abbott said, meant Australia would need to revisit the debate between the rights of the individual and community protection.

“Precisely where we draw the line in the era of terrorism will need to be reconsidered,” he said.

“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?

“Obviously we need to look at what are the relevant triggers for concern and ask ourselves what should be the consequence if concerns are triggered.

“What we do need to do is to have a higher level of scrutiny and heavier sanctions for people who game the system when it comes to visa applications and citizenship applications.”

READ MORE: Explain to me: What just happened to Australia’s immigration laws?

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor was keen to work with the Government.

“When it comes to keeping Australians safe, Labor and Liberal are in this together and we will work together in a considered way,” Mr Shorten said.

But he cautioned against going too far.

“I don’t believe our nation can only be safe if we get rid of the liberties of people, nor do I believe that the liberties of people in every sense should trump national security,” he said.

Mr Shorten said he would be happy to examine the Prime Minister’s proposals.

Mr Abbott said he would have “more to say” about the details of changes he proposes when he gives a national security address in Canberra on Monday.

This article can be found in its original form by the ABC. It has been republished here with full permission.