The Government's 12-point proposal to introduce control orders, preventative detention powers and to update sedition offences culminated in the Anti-Terrorism Bill (No. 2) 2005. On 3 November 2005, the Senate
referred the Bill to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation
Committee for inquiry and report by
28 November 2005.
the fact that only 8 days were allowed for discussion of the Bill,
the Senate Committee received over 400 submissions, plus many more in
pro forma format from members of AMCRAN, Civil Rights Network
and other organization. AMCRAN extends its thanks to members who sent
in submissions to the Senate Committee Inquiry at the time. You may
view these submissions from here.
members also made contributions to the Laws
for Insecurity? A Report into the Federal Government's Proposed
Counter-Terrorism Measures (Submission 81 to the Inquiry).
AMCRAN's submission is listed as
submission number 157.
the submission by objecting to the short timeframe within which
submissions were solicited, AMCRAN made 14 key recommendations:
2(b): If Recommendation 2(a) is not accepted, the review of the
legislation should be brought forward to three years rather than 5.
3(b): If Recommendation 3(a) 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 person.
This would be similar to a more narrowly defined version of the
3(c): If Recommendations 3(a) and 3(b) are not accepted, then at
the very least the criteria for "advocating" on behalf of
an organisation must be clarified. For example, possible
criteria may be:
(i) the statements are made by
the acknowledged leader of the organisation; and
(ii) the statements are made on
official material distributed or speeches given by the leader; and
(iii) the statements are made in
public conversation; and
(iv) the statements are made on
more than 5 occasions.
4 (a): In view of the very real possibility that many innocent
people could be affected, and that such laws would reduce charity
and support for people in need, Sch 3 Item 1 relating to Financing
of Terrorism should be removed.
4 (b): If Recommendation 4 (a) is not accepted, the punishment
for recklessly collecting funds should be reduced to 5 years
imprisonment, rather than 15 years imprisonment.
6 (b): If Recommendation 5(b) is not accepted, that control
orders be limited to a certain number of re-applications, for
example, 3 occasions.
7 (b): That the grounds of having trained with a terrorist
organisation for seeking a control order not apply retrospectively,
but only to people who train with a terrorist organisation after the
commencement of the act.
8: That in a manner similar to questioning warrants, ex parte
processes only be used where there are reasonable grounds to
believe that the subject of a control order will fail to be present
or disclose the existence of the control warrant. In normal
circumstances, a person is ordered to appear at a particular place
and time but is not subject to the control order until the hearing
is complete. If this is not the case, then the police may request ex
9 (b): If recommendation (a) is not accepted, then substantial
other safeguards must be present, including:
(i) that a parent can advise
another parent about their child's detention;
that a detained person is able to speak to his lawyer without
in deciding whether to grant a prohibited contact order the judge
must consider if it will impede a person's ability to get
access to appropriate legal advice and/or other support services.
10 (b): If recommendation (a) is not accepted, that additional
safeguards be introduced to minimise the risk of innocent people from
being detained. These measures may include:
Requiring approval from the Commissioner of Police and Attorney
General for a Section 104.4(6) preventative detention warrant.
The issuing authority must be satisfied that all other means to
protecting the evidence have been explored and are not achievable.
Detention in such periods should last until the particular evidence
required has been adduced or seven days at most, whichever comes
13: Given that the sedition laws have been roundly condemned by
many groups, and that it is likely to be amended shortly, the
sedition offences should be removed from the Act. An amended version
which includes "advocating terrorism" but with tighter
definitions could be added as a separate act once the new offences
AMCRAN appears before Senate Inquiry
Senate Committee held public hearings in Sydney over 3 days, and
heard from many organizations including Gilbert + Tobin Centre of
Public Law, Law Council of Australia, HREOC, and PIAC. AMCRAN's
appearance was on 17 November 2005.
The transcripts of the hearings are available here.
took a number of questions on notice, and made a supplementary
submission available as Submission 157A
The questions related to:
1: [Senator Kerry Nettle] The meaning of ‘advocating
terrorism,' and how the proscription of an organization for
advocating terrorism may affect the organization's members
2 [Senator Joe Ludwig] The impact on the Muslim community of
financing offences, and the effect of informal transfer through
Senate Committee Report On
28 November 2005 the report of the Inquiry was tabled before
Parliament. It included over 50 recommendations for amendment to
improve the Bill. The Report talks about the specific concerns of the
Muslim community at paragraphs 2.16 to 2.18.
A copy of the report may be viewed here.
Anti-Terrorism Act (No.2) 2005
Anti-terrorism Bill (No 2) passed through the House of
Representatives on 29 November 2005, and through the Senate on 6
December 2005. Now enacted, the legislation affects major changes to
the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) and other key Federal legislation.
Correspondence with Attorney-General Mr Philip Ruddock on how an organisation "advocates" terrorism and other matters
One of the more controversial new amendments to the anti-terror laws in the Bill was the new criteria for proscribing, or banning, an organisation as a
terrorist organisation, if that organisation "advocates" terrorism. But
the new laws do not specify what factors will be taken into account
when proscribing an organisation under the new criteria.
AMCRAN and a number of other organisations have
questioned how this new criteria will be interpreted and applied. For
example, would an organisation
"advocate" terrorism if one member of the organisation made a comment
and thus making the organisation liable for proscription? Or does it
have to do with the stated position of the organisation? How exactly
does an organisation "advocate" terrorism?
Before the Anti-Terrorism Bill (No. 2) passed both Houses
of Parliament, AMCRAN wrote to the Attorney-General enclosing a copy of
our submission to the Senate Inquiry about the Bill. Citing the
vagueness of the term "advocate terrorism", we asked the
Attorney-General for guidelines as to how it would be interpreted; we
sought clarification in the Bill as to how "organisation" will be
defined as a single entity that "advocates" terorrism; and lastly, we
sought reassurance that the provisions would not allow for
discrimination or arbitrary application.
AMCRAN's first letter to the Attorney-General
In our submission to the Senate Committee conducting the Inquiry into
the Bill, we made a number of suggestions as to what appropriate
factors should be taken into account when an organisation is to be
proscribed. A number of these recommendations were picked up by the
Senate Committee and they were included in the final report.
Even though the Government accepted a number of recommendations from
the Senate Committee report, their specific recommendations as to how
an organisation "advocates" terrorism were not. We wrote again to the
Attorney-General seeking further claification.
AMCRAN's second letter to the Attorney-General
On 15 December 2005, the Attorney-General provided the following response:
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AMCRAN conducts Information Seminar on the Effect of the new laws
December 2005, AMCRAN co-ordinated a community education seminar to
discuss the effects of the amendments to the anti-terror laws.
invited Dr Ben Saul from
UNSW and Gilbert
+ Tobin Centre of Public Law to
address the public seminar about these issues.
seminar discussed the following questions, among others:
What are the
implications of these new anti-terror laws for the Muslim
do the new sedition offences mean?
we still be allowed to say Iraqis have the right to resist
we be allowed to comment on and criticise government policy?
impact do the new charity related offences have for people who may
to the wrong people, and what does it mean for my organisation?
about the new ability for the Government to ban organisations on
the basis that they