find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Anti-terrorism laws measure up

Anti-terrorism laws measure up

LESS THAN 10 per cent of Australians with an involvement in terrorist groups will ever face a court of law, according to ASIO Director-General Dennis Richardson. “In many cases, the…

LESS THAN 10 per cent of Australians with an involvement in terrorist groups will ever face a court of law, according to ASIO Director-General Dennis Richardson. “In many cases, the capacity to obtain evidence sufficient to meet proper legal standards is beyond reach,” he said.

“The great majority of people in Australia who are assessed to have trained with al Qaeda [or] associated groups remain free in the community because, amongst other reasons, the relevant laws did not come into force until July 2002.”

Despite this, Richardson said Australia’s anti-terrorism laws were working well. “There is a misconception that terrorism has been used as an excuse by countries to rapidly introduce draconian laws that impinge on people’s rights. I believe the legislative response to terrorism has, in fact, been quite measured. “What stands out over the past decade and more has been the reluctance of countries to introduce laws specifically targeting terrorism, except where directly challenged.”

The world had not properly acknowledged the emergence of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda during the 90s, despite the World Trade Centre bombing in 1993, attacks in East Africa in 1998 and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 among other events, Richardson said. Throughout this time the organisation had a safe haven in Afghanistan, where its camps provided training to people from around the world, including Australia.

“The training largely went unhindered and unchallenged,” Richardson said. “Far from being quick to act, we have often been too slow and counter-terrorism is not a game in which it pays to only act when you can see the whites of eyes.”

He said care had been taken to ensure legislative responses were proportionate and balanced, no matter what controversy might surround some specific legislation. In Australia, six separate terrorism Bills had been introduced to Federal Parliament, five of which were passed quickly and given Royal Assent in July 2002. The sixth, which concerned ASIO’s questioning and detention powers was passed after three Parliamentary Committee enquiries and significant compromises to accommodate different views across “the political spectrum”.

“The questioning power has been utilised, the detention power has not,” Richardson said.

“Australia’s terrorism laws have been a response to real threats and to real attacks. Bin Laden first ‘legitimised’ Australia as a specific target in a statement on 3 November 2001. Since then, we have been specifically mentioned on numerous occasions by bin Laden, his deputy al Zawahiri and the terrorist leader in Iraq, al Zarqawi.

He said the threats had been given substance by at least one aborted, disrupted or actual attack in Australia or against our interests overseas in each of the five years between 2000 and 2004 inclusive. “Our terrorism laws do not exist in a vacuum.”

Balanced, tough laws were an essential component in the fight against terrorism, Richardson said. “We should also keep an open mind about the need to further develop and make changes to terrorism laws, as new issues or challenges are identified.”

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

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

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

Anti-terrorism laws measure up
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
90 years Western Australia Law Society
06:03
Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society
Ninety years of Western Australia’s legal profession has been recorded in a special publication ce...
Dec 18 2017
Summer in the city
Across Australia, a number of law students have kicked off their commercial law aspirations with the...
microscope
Dec 18 2017
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...