Thursday, 16 August 2018

Counter-terrorism powers and offences extended

Media release

The Turnbull Government has today secured passage of the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2018 to extend critical counter-terrorism powers and offences for a further three years.

Attorney-General Christian Porter and the Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, welcomed the successful passage of the Bill, which ensures law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools to deal with the threat that domestic terrorists and returning foreign fighters pose to Australia.

Both the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) reviewed the powers in the Bill and recommended they be extended.

"Australia's counter-terrorism laws are continuously reviewed to ensure that they keep pace with the current threat environment," Attorney-General Porter said.

"We have sought to strike a balance between protecting people's rights and freedoms, and ensuring that we are doing everything we can to keep Australians safe and secure. 

"The threat of terrorism has not abated since these powers were originally introduced, with the National Threat Level remaining at Probable."

Minister Dutton said the passage of this Bill will ensure the continuation of these vital law enforcement and security powers.

"It is imperative that our law enforcement and national security agencies have the tools they need to disrupt and prevent terrorist attacks," said Minister Dutton.

"While the Government is determined to deal with foreign fighters as far from our shores as possible, we need to ensure that if they do return, authorities have the powers they need to protect the community.

"This Bill means agencies have access to these powers for a further three years."

The Bill also enhances a number of reporting and transparency measures that ensure the operational effectiveness of the powers.

Minster Dutton and Attorney-General Porter thanked the PJCIS and the INSLM for their detailed consideration of the measures in the Bill. The government tabled its response to the PJCIS and INSLM on 24 May 2018.