COVID-19 Special Coverage
Australia PM proposes strict anti-terror legislation
Australia PM proposes strict anti-terror legislation

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull [official website] on Monday proposed new counter-terrorism legislation [press release] that would allow for indefinite detention. Turnbull announced plans to introduce Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2016, which would allow for the indefinite detention of convicted terrorists who have served their sentences but are still deemed a threat to public safety. According to Turnbull, this would be, “supervised by the courts similarly to the arrangements that apply in a number of our jurisdictions for sex offenders and extremely violent individuals.” The legislation would also allow for “control orders” to be placed on individuals as young as 14 years of age and would add a new offense of advocating genocide. Turnbull said [transcript]:

Together the measures that we are announcing today are designed to deter terrorism, prevent it, ensure that the nation and our people are kept safe and to provide reassurance that Australians can and should continue going about their daily lives and enjoying their freedom in the usual way because they should understand and recognise that the Australian Government and its agencies are doing everything possible to keep them safe.

Turnbull said he has asked Attorney General George Brandis to meet with his local counterparts “as soon as practicable to ensure that post-sentence preventative detention legislation can be introduced quickly.”

Turnbull referenced recent attacks in Nice, France, and Orlando, Florida, stating that the Islamic State “continues to inspire and direct atrocities across the world.” Other countries have also proposed stricter anti-terror legislation in the wake of recent attacks. Last month Russia’s lower house of parliament approved [JURIST report] a number of counter-terrorism amendments, banning proselytizing, preaching and praying outside officially recognized religious institutions. They also criminalize failure to report certain types of crimes and force cellular and internet providers to store all communications data for six months and to help security services decipher all messaging applications. In May Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he does not plan to change [JURIST report] the country’s anti-terrorism law, a requirement of a deal struck between Turkey and EU in March. In December China passed a new anti-terrorism law [JURIST report] requiring technology companies to provide information to the government obtained from their products and make information systems “secure and controllable.”