Senate Inquiry into ASIO (Anti-Terrorism) Bill 2002
Wednesday, 02 June 2004
The Australian Security Intelligence
Organization Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill 2002 (Cth) sought, amongst other things, to allow detention without charge for a period up to seven days, possibly longer, and to allow ASIO and AFP officers to search anyone "near" premises. In addition, the Bill would adversely affect individuals' right to silence and the right to not self-incriminate.
AMCRAN's submission examined the potential impact of the Bill and made its critique under six key heads :
Searching people ‘near' a premises
Amendment 23 (part 25(4A)(ii)) allows the frisk search of any
person ‘near' a premises subject to a warrant, however does not delimit
the meaning of ‘near' thereby potentially exposing a large number of
people to this power.
Detention for arbitrary periods of time and indefinite detention
Sections 34D and F allow the detention of an individual for up to
48 hours where this may be of assistance in the investigation of a
terrorist act. This period may be extended up to 7 days. There is no
provision to prevent the issuing of successive warrants. The
implication is that an individual who is not suspected of having
committed a crime may be detained for rolling periods of time without
Strict liability for failure to appear before a prescribed authority
Sections 34G(1) and 34G(2) prescribes up to 5 years imprisonment
and strict liability for failure to appear before a prescribed
authority once a warrant has been issued.
Refusal to disclose information and refusal to hand over something in possession
Section 34G allows someone to be imprisoned for up to five years
for knowing something but refusing to disclose it to the prescribed
authority; saying something deliberately misleading or having something
but refusing to hand it over. However it would appear logically
impossible to prove that one does not know something, or does not
Unbounded Ministerial power under the legislation
The legislation as drafted would provide Ministerial power to
define ‘terrorist organisations' and to select a Federal or State court
as the issuing authority of a warrant.
Search powers and special impact on the Muslim community
The conduct of frisking searches may be particularly offensive to
Muslims who adhere to the strict limitation of contact between males
As the legislation
would constitute a radical departure from rule of law norms, the
submission argues that it must be shown that such powers are necessary
in the fulfilment of ASIO's duties. Using the example of ASIO raids on
homes of suspected JI collaborators, the submission suggests that
existing ASIO powers may in fact be sufficient for the conduct of ASIO
activities or even constitute an excessive grant of power.
The submission concludes that legislation such as that proposed would
adversely affect Australia's standing amongst the international
This submission was prepared by Waleed Kadous and Agnes Chong in 2002 who would later found AMCRAN.
AMCRAN Appearance at Committee Hearing and Report
Waleed Kadous was requested to make an appearance. The Senate Inquiry Report is available here.
This Bill was ultimately
The text of this amended ASIO Act 1979 is available here.