The 80 are those who have trained abroad with al-Qaida and other banned
terrorist groups but can't be prosecuted because this was not made
illegal until July 2002.
The proposed legislation provides for
terror suspects to be served with control orders that would oblige them
to wear electronic tagging devices, report to authorities regularly and
undertake not to make contact with certain people or groups.
State leaders agreed this month to proposals from Prime Minister John
Howard to beef up terror laws in the wake of the July bombings in
London, but opposition to them has grown.
The Labor Party's
Arch Bevis, opposition spokesman on homeland security, said scrutiny
was needed for changes that would include allowing for terror suspects
to be held without charge for 14 days. "We've got to make sure that
laws provide for a secure Australia but we don't need to trample on
civil liberties to do that," Bevis said.
Civil Rights Advocacy Network spokesman Waleed Kadous warned that the
provisions were open to abuse. He said they allowed the government to
detain people who couldn't be prosecuted under the law. "There is just
too much room in this legislation for abuse," Kadous said.
Australia has added to its banned list 17 Islamic terrorist groups,
including al-Qaida, Jemaah Islamiyah, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Abu Sayyaf and
the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Last month spy agency ASIO
warned that there could be as many as 800 Muslim extremists primed to
carry out London-style terrorist attacks in Australia. A year ago ASIO
had put the number of potential terrorists at around 75 and said these
people, all of whom had trained in Afghanistan or Pakistan, were being
The China Post, 23 October 2005