The abbott authorities has now today introduced the second tranche of its national security amendments the counter terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014 into the Senate. As its name suggests, the Bill’s chief target is perceived threats to Australia’s security posed by “foreign fighters” Australians who engage in conflicts in foreign countries and may seek to return home.
That foreign fighters who have fought abroad alongside recorded terrorist organisations might return to Australia with improved terrorism abilities and governmental commitment. This would heighten the dangers of a terrorist action on Australian land.
In particular, the memorandum indicates that the “escalating terrorist scenario in Iraq and Syria poses a growing threat to the safety of Australians” and existing legislation doesn’t adequately cover national dangers.
The Bill, via a collection of proposed modifications to different Commonwealth acts, goals foreign fighters in 2 manners. It attempts to inhibit prospective fighters out of traveling overseas to combine conflicts.
Limits On Traveling Overseas
Folks are restricted from traveling to overseas conflicts in two manners. First, present laws permit a individual’s passport to be cancelled in case ASIO suspects on reasonable grounds the individual will be prone to participate in behavior that may prejudice the safety of Australia or a foreign nation.
All these the suggested suspensions would prevent affected people from travelling to a significantly lower threshold than the present provisions.
However, there’s not any potential for renewal unless ASIO finds further info. Following this, to stop somebody from travelling, an ASIO petition for their records to be cancelled, fulfilling the greater threshold necessary for this particular, is needed.
Secondly, that the Bill empowers customs officers to detain someone when they are feeling satisfied on reasonable grounds the individual is, or is very likely to be, included in an activity that’s a danger to national security or the safety of a foreign nation. This substantially widens present powers.
Controls Upon Yield
The Bill targets returning overseas fighters with three distinct kinds of management.
First, it keeps the basic structure of the present offences, which criminalise involvement in hostile action in overseas countries and traveling abroad for this use.
More the designation electricity is broad. It permits the prescription of whole nations, or areas spanning a couple of states.
Significantly, additionally, it leaves individuals who might have travelled to specified areas for a variety of different reasons for example seeing family, doing humanitarian aid work, or job official or journalistic responsibilities vulnerable to prosecution. A comprehensive defence to the charge is where a individual’s sole reason for seeing the designated place was to get a “legitimate purpose” for example the above mentioned explanations.
But, this still puts the onus on people to meet an evidential burden that traveling was for a valid function. This leaves open the chance of certainty where a individual fails to discharge this burden, even when their traveling has been for a valid function. The offence is very likely to have the chilling effect of discouraging people from traveling to specified areas, even if they don’t have any intent of engaging in overseas conflicts.
Secondly, under the Bill’s enlarged scheme, a management order could be applied for in which the AFP “supposes” on reasonable grounds that it could substantially help in preventing a terrorist action. The needs of control orders could be invasive for example Thomas and Hicks were exposed to instantly curfews, reporting requirements and significant telephone and net limitations.
The growth of management orders was Other specialists have expressed an alternate view. As an example, the INSLM has explained control requests at the lack of criminal conviction as”not successful, not suitable and not mandatory.
Last, the Bill amends several exemptions to permit for the cancellation of welfare payments for people whose passports or visas are cancelled or denied on national security reasons. Mandatory cancellation of welfare will use where the attorney-general problems a optional security note about someone to the ministry for social services.
The explanatory memorandum says the resale of welfare was made to occur just where denying welfare itself is suitable or justified on safety grounds. But, no such limitations emerge in the Bill itself. It confers a wide executive discretion to issue safety finds, without the obligation to supply reasons.
The Ideal Equilibrium?
The Bill adopts a selection of steps which make it hard and unpalatable for people to travel abroad to take part in conflicts. It imposes onerous effects on people who return to Australia.
In light of the current choice to increase Australia’s security alert level to high, it could be reasonable to anticipate a few incursions into conventional freedoms. The job remains to make sure that the perfect balance is struck.
Some elements of this Bill, like the passport suspension periods, accomplish that, construction in protections that are recommended. Others, particularly the new travel offences, are more intense, putting a hefty burden on individuals who must see designated areas for benign motives.