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Keeping Australia safe from high risk terrorist offenders

Media Release

Attorney-General
Minister for Industrial Relations
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia
Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Minister for Home Affairs
Member for McPherson
The Hon Karen Andrews MP

Joint media release

The Morrison Government has secured passage in the Parliament of legislation to continue to protect the Australian community from the evolving threat posed by convicted terrorist offenders.

The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (High Risk Terrorist Offenders) Bill 2021 establishes an extended supervision order scheme to ensure that terrorist offenders who are released into the community at the end of their custodial sentences are subject to tailored close supervision, based on the level of risk they pose to community safety.

"The legislation is a critical step towards ensuring the safety of the Australian community from the risk posed by convicted terrorist offenders,” said the Attorney-General, Michaelia Cash.

"As we have seen from the recent terrorist attacks in New Zealand, and the UK, as well as similar attacks in the UK in 2019 and 2020, convicted terrorist offenders can pose a very real threat to the community at the conclusion of their sentence.” the Attorney-General said.

"Such individuals are typically highly radicalised and do not change their extremist views while in prison, despite deradicalisation efforts.”

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the new extended supervision order scheme would keep Australians safe from terrorist offenders who remained a high-risk at the conclusion of their sentence.

"There are a significant number of convicted terrorist offenders reaching the conclusion of their prison sentences in the years ahead. We’re not waiting though, the Morrison Government is taking strong action now to ensure our police have the powers they need to keep the community safe and manage any individuals who remain a high-risk,” Minister Andrews said.

"Australians can trust that a Morrison Government will back our intelligence, law enforcement and other operational agencies, by providing the resources, powers, and legislative support they need to tackle this complex and ever-evolving threat.”

Under an extended supervision order, a State or Territory Supreme Court may impose conditions on a terrorist offender at the end of their sentence that are proportionate to the risk they pose to the community. Conditions may include restrictions to movement and access to devices, requirements to not associate with particular individuals, and to participate in specified rehabilitation and treatment programs. Breaches of those conditions will be an offence punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

Since the National Terrorism Threat Level was raised to ‘Probable’ in September 2014, there have been nine terrorist attacks and 21 major counter-terrorism disruption operations in response to potential or imminent attack planning in Australia.

Following successful disruptions to terrorist plots and subsequent prosecutions, there is a sizeable cohort of terrorist offenders currently serving custodial sentences, due for release in the coming years.

Since 2001, 95 people have been convicted of terrorism related offences. 54 of these people are currently serving custodial sentences.

There are 18 terrorist offenders due to be released over the next five years, including two offenders currently subject to continuing detention orders.