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
Reviewing the reviewer: anti-terror laws revisited

Reviewing the reviewer: anti-terror laws revisited

AS ADVOCACY groups debate the merits of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Laws Bill, Shadow Attorney-General Senator George Brandis has expressed concern that a review of terror laws in…

AS ADVOCACY groups debate the merits of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Laws Bill, Shadow Attorney-General Senator George Brandis has expressed concern that a review of terror laws in Australia might become “politicised” if the Government does not support the Bill.

The Bill would see the appointment of an independent person to review anti-terrorism laws, including the consideration of the effectiveness and continued need of existing laws. Put forward by Liberal MP Petro Georgio, the proposal before the senate has sparked diverse reactions from the legal community and civil rights groups.

Brandis made his comments as Attorney-General Robert McClelland delivered a speech saying Australians could expect to see a broadening national security agenda, with an “all-hazards approach” that recognises that threats can come from all angles, particularly with the evolution of technology.

Although the Attorney-General has previously proposed that such a review of existing terror laws be handed to Ian Carnell — the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) — Brandis said Carnell has repeatedly questioned his department’s suitability to take on the position.

“There is an inherent tension between the IGIS’s current role of operational oversight and a reviewer’s role of examining the policy behind the legislation under which the operations are conducted,” said Brandis. “The policy element may result in IGIS becoming politicised, which would have a detrimental effect on the office’s primary role,” he said.

Meanwhile a recent inquiry into provisions of the Bill by the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, sought to extend their reporting date from September to 14 October, as submissions are evaluated.

Stephen Blanks, secretary of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, told the inquiry the legislation could actually be counterproductive, noting that the anti-terrorism laws that have been passed involve significant digressions from ICCPR rights. Blanks asked if an independent reviewer would be the best means to working on what he already believes is an unsatisfactory legal situation.

But other submissions were more positive: Professor Andrew Lynch, from the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of public Law said the centre supports the passage of legislation to establish the ongoing independent review of anti-terrorism laws, but made recommendations in line with how the independent reviewer has successfully worked to date in the United Kingdom.

Sarah Moulds, policy lawyer from the Law Council of Australia, suggested that they would like to see the review draw attention to components of terrorism laws that have not previously been subject to review — especially, the National Security Information (Criminal And Civil Proceedings) Act.

The Human Rights Law Resource Centre (HRLRC) said it supported the adoption of an independent review, modelled on that operating in the UK, but that inherent in the function of the UK reviewer, is the obligation to have regard to international human rights standards in assessing the implications of terrorism laws. In a statement online, the HRLRC said that even without a legislative or constitutional Charter of Human Rights the independent reviewer should “have regard to international human rights standards and obligations”.

Although the Bill came from an opposition member, it has also been backed by Labor Caucus Chairman Daryl Melhma — who said it was an important way to keep existing support for the anti-terrorism laws.

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

Reviewing the reviewer: anti-terror laws revisited
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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 & ...