The government has introduced yet another piece of anti-terrorism legislation. The Anti-Terrorism Bill (No 2) introduces a new offence of associating with 'terrorists', and proposes to prevent people from leaving Australia even before a warrant has been issued against them.
The opposition has not made any public comment as to whether or not it will support the Bill, however, Senator Kerry Nettle has said that she will push for the Bill to be referred to a Senate Inquiry.
Over the next weeks we will be launching the 'Kill Bill No 2'
campaign in a bid to oppose this Bill. We strongly encourage you to be
involved because the Bill severely curtains the civil rights of
people. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to keep updated.
In summary, the Bill proposes to make the following amendments:
1. Passports Act
At the moment, if a person has a cancelled Australian passport, he or
she can still leave Australia on a foreign passport. The new laws will allow ‘enforcement officers’ to get an order to seize foreign passports of suspects of serious offences or harmful conduct, even if the person did not use the foreign passport to enter Australia. This is to make sure they are prevented from leaving Australia on a foreign travel passport.
It makes new offences for making false statements in applications for
foreign travel documents, improper use or possession of a foreign travel document, making, possessing, or using false foreign travel documents, and failure to surrender foreign travel documents.
2. ASIO Act
It proposes to give ASIO the power to demand a person to surrender his
or her Australian and foreign passport if s/he is subject to a request
for a questioning warrant. This means that even before the Minister has consented to issuing the warrant, ASIO can stop the person from leaving this country.
It will be an offence to fail to comply with a demand for the
surrender of the person’s passports.
3. New offence: Associating with Terrorist Organisations
A person commits an offence if s/he intentionally associates with a
person who is a member of, or who promotes or directs the activities of a terrorist organisation, in order to provide support to help it expand or continue to exist, and the (second) person knows that the
organisation is a terrorist organisation. ‘Association’ means meeting
or communication with the other person. Communication includes all
modern forms of communication.
The Bill provides for the following defences to the offence, but the
evidentiary burden is on the defendant:
- The association is with a close family member, and the communication relates only to a matter that could reasonably be regarded (taking into account the person’s cultural background) as a matter of family or domestic concern;
- The association is at a place used for public religious worship and takes place in the course of practising a religion
- The association is only for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid
- The association is for providing legal advice or legal representation
4. Transfer of prisoners
The Bill proposes to give to the Attorney General the power to make an
order to transfer (or return) a prisoner (convicted or remand) to
another State if he reasonably believes that it is necessary in the
interests of security. He can also make an order for transfer (or
return) of a prisoner to another State to appear in court proceedings.
The Bill provides that the decisions of the AG under the amendments are excluded from the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act, which means that they will not be subject to judicial review.
5. Forensic procedures
The Bill seeks to broaden the Crimes Act to facilitate effective
disaster victim identification if a mass casualty incident occurred in
Australia. It allows investigators access to the National Criminal
Investigation DNA Database, the transfer of DNA information between
federal government and the states, the matching of DNA profiles, and
disclosure of the results of those matchings.