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Strengthening counter-terrorism laws

Media Release

Attorney-General
The Hon Christian Porter MP

Minister for Home Affairs
The Hon Peter Dutton MP

The Morrison Government is further strengthening counter-terrorism laws to ensure the safety of Australians.

The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill, introduced today, will introduce a presumption against bail and parole for people who have demonstrated support for, or have links to, terrorist activity. This measure was recommended by the Council of Australian Governments.

Attorney-General, Christian Porter, and the Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, said the Bill would ensure that dangerous terrorist offenders are not out in the community on bail when they should be in prison.

The Attorney-General said the Bill highlights the Government's ongoing commitment to ensuring that our counter-terrorism laws are strong, robust and adapted to the evolving threat of terrorism.

 

"This Bill will help protect the community from dangerous individuals like Yacqub Khayre, who committed an appalling terrorist attack in Brighton, Victoria in 2017. Mr Khayre was on parole for state crimes committed in Victoria and had previously been charged with terrorism offences," the Attorney-General said.

 

The Bill proposes targeted amendments to strengthen the high-risk terrorist offenders (HRTO) scheme to ensure that terrorist offenders who are serving multiple sentences alongside a terrorism offence will be eligible for consideration under the HRTO scheme.

Minister Dutton said that the changes are critical to ensuring that the Government can protect Australians from dangerous terrorist offenders who continue to pose a risk to the community.

"These are vital and timely amendments," the Minister said.

"There are currently 38 terrorist prisoners eligible for continuing detention under the HRTO scheme. Nine of these individuals are due for release over the course of the next two years.

"The Morrison Government is determined to ensure that dangerous terrorist offenders stay in prison and do not get a chance to further terrorise the community."

The Ministers said measures in the Bill are subject to important safeguards that strike the right balance between protecting individual rights and freedoms, and protecting the community from harm.

The Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for inquiry and report by 13 March 2019 in order to allow it to be considered by both the House and Senate in the April Parliamentary sittings.