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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 July, 2005, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Australia mulls new security laws
Tony Blair and John Howard
Mr Howard (R) was in London at the time of the latest attacks
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said he is considering introducing new anti-terror legislation to prevent bomb attacks on Australian soil.

But Mr Howard stressed his government would not take extreme steps, and said Australia would not be a police state.

Speaking in London where he met his UK counterpart Tony Blair on Thursday, Mr Howard said he had been impressed by the way the British police used CCTV.

He was considering extending its use in public places in Australia, he said.

He condemned an Islamic preacher in Australia - Melbourne Imam Sheikh Mohammed Omran - for failing to denounce the attacks.

Imam Omran said the London attacks were the responsibility of the Americans, Mr Howard said.

Afghan commitment

Mr Howard said the Australian people would understand the need to take reasonable measures to protect the community.

"They can rest assured and they know that no government is going to turn Australia into a police state in order to protect us against terrorists. We don't need to do that," he said.

He said he would meet state leaders to discuss new steps such as increased deployment of closed circuit television, which UK police have made extensive use of in the hunt for the bombers.

Mr Howard also said he stood by his commitment to send 150 special forces to Afghanistan and continue Australia's presence in Iraq, where it currently has 1,400 troops.

He is currently on a visit to London, and was meeting Mr Blair on Thursday when news came of the latest series of attacks on the London Underground.

Australia itself has never suffered a major peacetime attack on home soil, but has tightened security since the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

A total of 88 Australians died in bomb attacks on nightclubs on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali in 2002.

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