PJCIS Review of Banning Terrorist Organisation provisions Print E-mail
Friday, 27 July 2007
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.

It 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' organisations.


Noting that the proscription regime lacked transparency and was fundamentally anti-democratic, AMCRAN expressed concern about discretionary nature of the proscription process:

The 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 ‘terrorism.'

Given the breadth of the proscription criteria, AMCRAN notes that it is ‘cold comfort' that only 19 organisations had been listed so far.

AMCRAN 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.

S 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 security.

In concluding, AMCRAN offered the following recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1: "Advocating terrorism" should be removed as a ground for proscription.

  • Recommendation 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 person.

  • Recommendation 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.

  • Recommendation 4: 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.

AMCRAN 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.


This submission was prepared by Agnes Chong. The Committee held public hearings in April 2007. AMCRAN’s submission is available here.


The 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.



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