Thursday, 24 May 2018

Counter Terrorism Laws Extended and Enhanced

Media release

Minister for Home Affairs
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
The Hon Peter Dutton MP

Attorney-General
The Hon Christian Porter MP

The Australian Government has today introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2018 to extend vital counter-terrorism powers for our law enforcement and national security agencies for a further three years.

An extension was recommended by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) in their recent reviews of these provisions.

The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton and the Attorney-General Christian Porter thanked the PJCIS and the INSLM and said the Government constantly reviews counter-terrorism legislation to ensure it kept pace with the evolving threat environment.

"Our law enforcement and national security agencies are among the best in the world and it is vital they continue to have the critical counter-terrorism powers they need to keep Australians safe," Mr Dutton said.

"These powers were due to expire on 7 September 2018. This legislation extends them for another three years."

The Attorney-General Christian Porter said the Bill also extends by 12 months the operation of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation's (ASIO) questioning and detention powers relating to terrorism offences.

"The threat of terrorism remains pervasive and has not abated since these powers were first introduced," Mr Porter said.

"Extending the operation of the questioning and detention powers will ensure ASIO's counter-terrorism capabilities are maintained until the Government has had an opportunity to carefully consider a PJCIS report, which was tabled on 10 May 2018.

"This Bill will ensure these counter-terrorism regimes remain operationally effective and are subject to important reporting and transparency measures."

The Bill introduced today gives effect to the vast majority of the PJCIS and INSLM recommendations.

The Government will develop legislation to implement other recommendations. This will require consultations with the States and Territories.

The Government's formal response to the recommendations of the PJCIS and INSLM has been tabled in Parliament.