find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
AG says evaluation of “terror” necessary

AG says evaluation of “terror” necessary

The Attorney-General Robert McClelland revealed on Tuesday that, in view of the recent Jakarta bombings, he will be releasing a significant package of suggested reforms to Australia's national…

The Attorney-General Robert McClelland revealed on Tuesday that, in view of the recent Jakarta bombings, he will be releasing a significant package of suggested reforms to Australia's national security and counter-terrorism laws in coming weeks.

Speaking at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra, McClelland said he has tasked his department to act as a "lynchpin" for bringing existing and new efforts together to fight what he called "violent extremism" - including so-called acts of terrorism.

McClelland said that within his package of reforms, he will ask the public to express opinion of the offence of inciting violence against an individual on the basis of race, religion or nationality.

"Notably, this would expand the opportunity for prosecuting those who attempt to induce others, including vulnerable youths, to commit acts of politically motivated violence, and will supplement the existing Commonwealth offence of inciting violence against a group," he said.

But Stephen J. Keim SC, former barrister for Dr Mohamed Haneef, warned against legislating for the sake of legislating, noting the numerous introduction of bills regarding terrorism over the last five years. "This idea of legislating in haste and repenting at leisure is a problem we have," he said.

Still, Keim noted there are plenty of opportunities to reform existing anti-terror laws, and said the best place to start would be in addressing what he considers the fundamental problems around the broad definition of "terrorism" that produces too much uncertainty in the eyes of the law.

"If you create legislation that when you write it you don't actually know what it means - and then you extend and extend it - ultimately a case like Dr Haneef's case will happen because no body knew what the legislation meant," he said.

The Attorney-General said the package will come in line with other measures, including the identification of violent extremists, support networks for assisting at-risk groups and individuals, and enhanced social policy work to protect communities and social groups.

McClelland also highlighted effective language reforms as a necessary means of shifting public attitudes towards violent extremists, stating that "certain words have the potential to glorify terrorism and terrorists, while others can cause anxiety among Australians and create divisions within and between communities".

He said it was vital that any messages that could in any way glorify terrorism or suggest a clash of cultures or religion be stopped. "Instead we need to adopt language that depicts acts of politically motivated violence as base criminal conduct of the most reprehensible kind."

Adapting language will fall within the existing project, the Lexicon of Terrorism, led by Victoria Police in partnership with the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Australian Multicultural Foundation and the Attorney-General's Department.

For more legal opinions on the Attorney-General's announced reforms around anti-terror laws, see next week's edition of Lawyers Weekly.

- Angela Priestley

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

AG says evaluation of “terror” necessary
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...