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Monitor releases first reports on Australian counter-terrorism laws

Monitor releases first reports on Australian counter-terrorism laws

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New reports on Australia’s stop, search and seize powers, among other counter-terrorism laws, have been released by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM).

Dr James Renwick SC has released new reports on statutory deadline reviews as part of his new role as Australia’s Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM).

The Law Council of Australia (LCA) issued a statement last week underscoring the “vital” contribution the new reports by the statutory office holder made.  

In particular, the legal body highlighted the INSLM’s key recommendations concerning safeguards that would see three regimes (stop, search and seize powers; declared areas; and control orders and preventative detention orders) better protected.

The new reports are critical to ensuring that counter-terrorism laws represent a necessary and proportionate response to the terrorism threat, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC said.

“The INSLM is required to discharge the difficult function of balancing the vital interests of the rule of law, international obligations and national security in an evidenced-based way.

“This type of independent review is critical to ensuring our laws both protect the community from the threat of terrorism while remaining consistent with the values we hold dear,” Ms McLeod said.

A number of the recommendations are consistent with calls the LCA has made for some time now, the statement said.

Among the most important recommendations published by Dr Renwick, the LCA highlighted the following changes:

  • The Criminal Code be amended to allow for variations of an interim control order;
  • There should be no costs orders in control order proceedings, and the adequacy of legal aid for controlees should be considered by the Attorney-General;
  • There be further consideration of any outstanding recommendations made by the second INSLM in his review of control order safeguards;
  • State and Territory Courts be given jurisdiction to make an extended supervision order in terrorism cases;
  • The Attorney-General should continue to be the applicant for continuing detention orders; and
  • Safeguards should be required, in the form of reporting requirements to the relevant minister, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and the INSLM so that each such body can review any exercise of stop, search and seize powers. 

Ms McLeod indicated that the LCA would carefully consider the recommendations as part of an Intelligence and Security response that the legal body would make to a joint parliamentary committee.

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