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Strengthening controls on high-risk terrorists offenders

Media Release

Attorney-General
Minister for Industrial Relations
Leader of the House
The Hon. Christian Porter MP

Minister for Home Affairs
The Hon. Peter Dutton MP

Joint media release

High-risk convicted terrorists will face even tighter controls when they are released from prison under a new intensive supervision regime designed to reduce the threat of them re-offending.

The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (High Risk Terrorist Offenders) Bill 2020 – introduced in Federal Parliament today – will establish an extended supervision order scheme to ensure that high risk terrorist offenders who are released into the community at the end of their custodial sentences are subject to close supervision in proportion to the level of risk they pose to community safety.

"As we learnt from the horrific 2019 London Bridge attack and 2020 Streatham attack in the UK, convicted terrorists can pose a very real and ongoing threat to public safety when they’re released back into the community after serving their full jail sentence," Attorney-General Christian Porter said.

"Extended Supervision Orders will help to significantly reduce that danger by ensuring the broadest possible range of controls can be applied to offenders that are both proportionate to the risk and necessary to prevent them from doing further harm."

A Court making an extended supervision order will be able to impose a broader and more onerous range of conditions than would be available under a control order. This broader range of conditions ensures that the Court is able to tailor conditions to the particular risk posed by a convicted terrorist offender, and better protect the community from that risk.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the new scheme would ensure public safety is the number one priority for our courts when making decisions about the release of high-risk offenders.

"The community rightly expects that their Government will do everything within its powers to prevent these hateful individuals from causing further harm when they get out of jail and this improved scheme delivers on our commitment to keep Australians safe," Mr Dutton said. State and territory Supreme Court judges will be responsible for administering the ESO scheme, which has been designed to work in conjunction with the existing Continuing Detention Order (CDO) scheme. Conditions a court may impose under an ESO include requiring an offender to provide a schedule of movements and comply with that schedule, participate in specified treatment, rehabilitation or intervention programs, comply with reasonable directions given to them by police or other authorities, and allow police officers to search their premises.

The proposed ESO scheme would provide authorities with extended powers to monitor an offender’s compliance with an order, including by requiring the offender to demonstrate compliance by submitting to testing. ESOs will be available for up to three years with a broad scope to vary an order if there are changes in the risk posed by the offender.

Both the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security recommended the introduction of extended supervision orders.

Since the National Terrorism Threat Level was raised to 'Probable' in September 2014, there have been seven terrorist attacks on Australian soil and a further 18 have been disrupted by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

A total of 86 people have been convicted of terrorism related offences since 2001. There are currently 12 terrorist offenders scheduled for release between now and the end of 2025.