New Counter Terrorism Laws Introduced

Attorney-General Martin Pakula today announced the introduction of a new Bill to amend Victoria’s counter terrorism laws.

Mr Pakula said the Terrorism (Community Protection) Amendment Bill 2015 will extend the sunset dates currently applying to the Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003 from March 2016 to December 2021. The Bill will also provide for a statutory review of this legislation to take place prior to the next sunset date.

The bill also implements a range of amendments recommended by the Victorian Review of Counter Terrorism Legislation, led by former County Court Judge, the Hon David Jones AM.

Tabled in Parliament in 2014, the report recommended a range of changes to strengthen and clarify existing counter terrorism powers.

The Bill will implement six of the recommendations, including changes to covert search powers, and preventative detention orders.

Two recommendations relate to covert search warrants, to enable remote entry into computers, and to ensure a consistent definition of “vehicle” applies to the whole Act and includes all forms of transportation; and

Four recommendations relate to Preventative Detention Orders, clarifying that:

  • Liability for the welfare of the person subject to an order transfers to the authority responsible for their custody (ie either adult prisons, juvenile authorities or police/AFP);
  • police can use a person’s alias when applying for a PDO; and
  • Ensuring that police must apply for a revocation or variation of the PDO when circumstances underpinning the original order application change.

The Andrews Labor Government will continue to work on the balance of recommendations made by Mr Jones, including further consultation with other jurisdictions to promote national consistency where possible.

Quotes attributable to Attorney General Martin Pakula

“Counter terrorism legislation in Australia exists as part of a nationally agreed framework and this Bill follows reviews at both the state and national level and will be a first stage in further refinement of these powers.”

“The counter terrorism legislation complements the Government’s broader approach to social cohesion and community resilience and underscores the need to work closely with local communities to understand and address violent extremism.”

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