find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Profession calls for independent anti-terror law review

Profession calls for independent anti-terror law review

The legal profession has almost unanimously called for an independent person to review the nation's anti-terror laws.

THE Law Council of Australia has welcomed the release of a Senate report which supports calls for an independent person to review the nation’s anti-terror laws. 

The report, released yesterday by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee into the National Security Legislation Monitor Bill 2009, unequivocally affirms the need for a dedicated role for an independent reviewer of Australia’s national security legislation.

The Committee received evidence from a variety of organisations, which generally welcomed the monitor. The Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law said: "We welcome the National Security Legislation Monitor Bill 2009 as an initiative to establish ongoing, holistic and independent review of Australia's anti-terrorism laws."

Some highlighted the increase in the amount of legislation concerning terrorism and national security as a key reason for supporting the monitor. The International Commission of Jurists (Australia), said: "The role of the monitor is particularly important in light of the fact that over the past nine years there has been a proliferation of legislative activity concerning terrorism and national security."


Law Council president, John Corcoran, today welcomed the Senate report, which was released last night: “Since 2002, we have been calling for the Government to establish such a role.”

The Senate Committee report recommends several important amendments to the Bill, which aim to strengthen the independence of the role and improve transparency.

“The Law Council is particularly pleased to see recommendations that the monitor should be able to initiate their own inquiries rather than being reliant or referrals from the Prime Minister only, and that the monitor should report to Parliament, not just the Prime Minister,” Corcoran said.

The Senate report shows that the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law had argued that the departments and agencies examined as part of the monitor's work may often be part of the executive government. 

As a result, it said: "Unless that statutory independence is established and made unambiguous, there would be an inevitable tension, both a legal tension and a practical operational tension, if the monitor were called upon to undertake a review of the activities of those departments or agencies. So we think there could be improvements in the wording of the bill to make that independence clear."

The reports notes that the Government has sought to clarify the independent status of the monitor on several occasions. 

When the Monitor was first announced in December 2008, the Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland said: "The Government will establish a National Security Legislation Monitor to review the practical operation of counter-terrorism legislation on an annual basis. The Monitor will be an independent statutory office within the Prime Minister’s portfolio and will report to Parliament."

Corcoran also welcomed the recommendation by the Committee that the Government actively and regularly assess the adequacy of the resources and staff allocated to the monitor. 

“Unless the monitor has sufficient resources, they will not be able to perform the role properly.”

He said the Law Council hoped that the Government will accept the Senate Committee’s recommendations, move to amend the Bill as suggested and ensure its swift passage through Parliament.

“The Australian community has waited long enough for a mechanism for ongoing, comprehensive and independent review of our national security laws. It is now time for the Government to act,” Corcoran said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Profession calls for independent anti-terror law review
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...