The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) conducted a review of the operation, effectiveness and implications of the proscription (banning) of terrorist organisations in the Criminal Code.
concerned the operation and effectiveness of sections 102.1(2), (2A),
(4), (5), (6), (17) and (18) of the Criminal Code Act relating
to the proscription and listing of ‘terrorist'
that the proscription regime lacked transparency and was
fundamentally anti-democratic, AMCRAN expressed concern about discretionary nature of the proscription process:
definition of a ‘terrorist organisation' in s 102.1
depends upon executive discretion in declaring an organisation to be
a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code-a
discretion which itself is based on a broad definition of
the breadth of the proscription criteria, AMCRAN notes that it is
‘cold comfort' that only 19 organisations had been listed
supported the recommendations from the Sheller Committee that at the
very least the proscription process should be reformed for
transparency, accountability, in order to increase public confidence.
102.1(1A) of the Act which provides for proscription of
organisations that ‘advocate terrorism' has particularly
stifling effects on Muslim citizens wishing to show their solidarity
with organisations participating in liberation struggles across the
globe that have nothing to do with Australia's interest or
concluding, AMCRAN offered the following recommendations:
1: "Advocating terrorism" should be removed as a
ground for proscription.
2: If Recommendation 1 is not accepted, and if "advocating
terrorism" must be an offence, it should be made a personal
offence and not an offence relating to an organisation. In this way,
the impact of a person's action is limited to just that
3: If Recommendations 1 and 2 are not accepted, then subsection
(c) of the definition of ‘advocates' in section
102.1(1A) should be omitted.
4: The criteria for "advocating" on behalf of an
organisation must be clarified. For example, possible criteria may
the statements are made by the acknowledged leader of the
the statements are made on official material distributed or speeches
given by the
the statements are made in public conversation; and
the statements are made on more than 5 occasions.
concluded by emphasizing that the present proscription regime is
problematic, in that it appears to be arbitrary and subject to
political influence rather than one being strictly aimed at combating
terrorism in Australia. AMCRAN emphasized that if the regime was to
remain, then candidate organisations facing listing ought to be given
an opportunity to be heard as to why they should not be proscribed.
submission was prepared by Agnes Chong. The Committee held public hearings in April 2007.
AMCRAN’s submission is available here.
proscription regime under the Criminal Code Act remains in
operation. A copy of the Report issued by PJCIS following these
submissions can be accessed here.