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Australia parliament panel calls for independent anti-terror laws review

[JURIST] Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security [official website] has recommended the appointment of an independent reviewer [ABC Australia report] to oversee the nation's counter-terrorism laws [official backgrounder]. In a report [PDF text] Monday reviewing the country's security and anti-terror legislation, the committee recommended the creation of a position similar to the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security [official website]. The reviewer's main responsibility would entail monitoring the success of Australia's counter-terrorism efforts and reporting annually to parliament. The panel also urged police departments to review media policies so that statements aren't made that could jeopardize a defendant's right to a fair trial.Attorney-General Philip Ruddock [official profile] is considering the recommendations.

Last month, Ruddock rejected the idea of a civil rights bill [JURIST report] posed by the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) [official website] based on concerns that such a bill would unduly limit the government's ability to effectively deal with terrorism and other security threats. Since 2001, more than 30 pieces of counter-terrorism legislation [JURIST news archive] have been passed but little has been done to measure the success or practicality of these laws. AAP has more.

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