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Labor Caucus approves safeguards on proscription power.

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Robert McClelland MP Federal Member for Barton Shadow Minister for Homeland Security

9 February 2004

Labor Caucus approves safeguards on proscription power

Labor Caucus today approved a package of safeguards to secure improvements to the Government’s proposed power to proscribe terrorist organisations in Australia.

Caucus today agreed with a recommendation of the Shadow Ministry that, subject to reaching agreement with the Government on the wording of amendments, the safeguards include:

• An obligation to consult on listing decisions with the Leader of the Opposition, and State and Territory Governments.

• Enhanced scrutiny by a Parliamentary Committee of the material underpinning listing decisions.

• Parliamentary power of disallowance in light of Committee recommendations.

• Ability for an organisation mistakenly identified as a terrorist organisation to apply to be de-listed.

• Regular Parliamentary review of the operation of the legislation.

These measures will be in addition to access to judicial review and sunsetting of listing regulations after two years.

In approving the safeguards, Caucus noted the inherent unreliability of primary intelligence material and confirmed that a Labor Government would introduce a court-based model of listing terrorist organisations.

Caucus recognised that the measures approved would significantly enhance the safeguards in the Government’s proposed regime and, subject to final agreement on the wording of amendments, Labor in

Opposition would work with the Government to secure an outcome in Australia’s national interest.

Further information:

Jonathan Kirkwood 0414 522 387

A chronology relating to the proscription issue is attached.


March 2002

Government introduces Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Bill [No 2] 2002 which proposes to give the Attorney-General a power to proscribe terrorist organisations, unreviewable by the Parliament.

May 2002

Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee, chaired by Government Senator, unanimously rejects Government’s proposal, concluding “the proposed provisions are not acceptable to a large proportion of the Australian community”.

July 2002

Attorney-General gains power to proscribe terrorist organisations listed by the UN Security Council, after Government agrees to amend its legislation.

October 2002

Following Bali bombings, Attorney-General first exercises power to list terrorist organisations in Australia, including al Qaeda.

May 2003

Government introduces Criminal Code Amendment (Terrorist Organisations) Bill 2003, seeking to give the Attorney-General the power to proscribe organisations not listed by the UN Security Council.

June 2003

Labor agrees to swift passage of specific legislation proscribing Hizballah External Security Organisation, and gives the Government a proposal for a court-based regime of listing further terrorist organisations not listed by the

UN Security Council.

November 2003

Government responds, indicating it will not support alternative models.

December 2003

Labor agrees to swift passage of legislation proscribing Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and HAMAS’ Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and proposes additional safeguards on the Government’s proscription regime.