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Monday, 25 June 2018
Page: 6216


Dr ALY (Cowan) (18:07): I rise to speak on the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2018. This bill was introduced to the House in May of this year, at which point the Attorney-General referred the bill to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for review. The PJCIS reported on the bill in June of this year, and its single recommendation was that the bill be passed. Now, this bill implements the recommendations of two reports by the PJCIS, which were tabled in March 2018. The first report considered the control order and preventative detention order provisions of the Crimes Act and the Criminal Code. The second report considered the declared area provisions of the Criminal Code. The bill extends the sunset date for the control order, preventative detention order and declared area regimes by three years to 7 September 2021.

It also implements, with some minor exceptions, the recommendations of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, the INSLM—I don't know if that's an acronym that we could make into any kind of spoken word. Those recommendations about these regimes were made in October 2017. Those recommendations respond to some reports by the PJCIS, as well as a few other things, in its entirety. As the shadow Attorney-General mentioned, Labor continues to demonstrate its longstanding commitment to working with the government in a constructive and bipartisan manner on issues of national security. We are, of course, dedicated to keeping Australians safe. For that reason, we welcome the government's implementation of the bipartisan recommendations of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security and the implementation of the recommendations of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.

We note that, while the government has implemented the PJCIS recommendations, the powers contained in division 3 of part III of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 are to be extended. The government has not implemented the very significant PJCIS recommendation to repeal the questioning and detention warrants power. We also note that the government has not implemented the INSLM's recommendation that the subject of a control order should not have to pay costs for seeking to vary a control order. Rather, the subject of the control order could still potentially be ordered to pay the costs of a variation application if found to have unreasonably contributed to those costs.

This is at odds with the fundamental principle of the criminal law that a defendant will not be required to pay the costs of the prosecution. As these are quasi-criminal powers, that same principle ought to apply, and the shadow Attorney-General made that point quite eloquently in his previous speech. But, as I mentioned, bipartisan support is extremely important, particularly for national security. Early identification and the capacity and ability to deal with people who are at an operational level and who present a clear and present threat to the safety and security of Australians should be an utmost priority not just of government but of all of us here in parliament. However, there is a need for us to work more, to have more programs and to perhaps pay more attention to those at other levels—at the engagement level and the influence level—who are not yet operational but may well be on their way to being operational to committing an act of violent extremism.

It is important not just that we know—and indeed we do know; our security agencies and our law enforcement agencies are to be commended—but also that we understand terrorism in all its forms, whether it is a threat presented by violent jihadist actors or a threat presented by violent right-wing, violent left-wing or any other form of terrorist actor. Australia has a very comprehensive and robust framework of legislation for doing that, as well as comprehensive powers given to our law enforcement agencies so that we can know, so that we do have information and intelligence that allows us to proactively identify people who may be at that operational level. But we also need to focus on our understanding of the environments in which radicalising influences emerge and how we deal with those environments, how we mitigate those environments and how we mitigate the threats to Australians' safety and security that those environments present. The law and the suite of legislative amendments that Australia has installed around terrorism and terrorism-related laws since 2002 can deal only with the pointy end of terrorism and radicalisation. At that broad-base level, where young people are being influenced by negative propaganda from ISIS on the internet and in their social lives, as well as negative propaganda coming out of other extremist groups, the law can't deal with that. Legislative amendments will not be able to address that, because legislative amendments deal only with that pointy end. We need to also have a balance and focus on that broad base in the prevention of radicalisation and the early intervention of those early stages of radicalisation, influence and engagement before individuals become operational and present a clear and present threat.

Labor has a longstanding commitment to working with this government and, in doing so, also ensuring that everything possible can be done to help keep Australians safe. As the shadow Attorney-General mentioned in his address before I spoke, it is also important that we have balance, proportionality and rationality in how we deal with this. It is very easy for us to lose sight of rationality, balance and proportionality and for that to actually have a negative or counterproductive impact on what we do in the counterterrorism space.

We support this bill. We support the consideration that this bill provides, in terms of extending up to 2021 the sunset date for control orders, preventative detention orders and declared areas. However, if we are to put in every possible effort to keep Australians safe, we need to look at everything that helps us to implement those laws, that strengthens those laws and that strengthens our society to become the kind of society that is resilient to and resists the influence of terrorist actors and terrorist propaganda.