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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 40

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (12:22): On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, I table the committee's report entitled Review of the listing of Al-Murabitun as a terrorist organisation, and also the committee's annual reports for 2012-13 and 2013-14. These committee reports were presented out of session on 16 December 2015 and I would like to take the opportunity to make some remarks to the House about them.

Leave granted.

Mr TEHAN: The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security is required to provide to the Parliament an annual report of its activities.

Over the period from 2012-13, the committee completed an inquiry into potential reforms to Australia's national security legislation, a review of the administration and expenditure of intelligence agencies for 2010-11, and a review of the relisting of five terrorist organisations. The committee notes that many of the national security legislative changes brought forward in 2014 and those currently under consideration build on the work performed by this committee in the 43rd Parliament.

Over the last financial year, the committee focussed on completion of the 2011-12 and 2012-13 review of administration and expenditure for intelligence agencies, and continued its oversight work in regard to new listings and the re-listings of a number of terrorist organisations. These are important scrutiny functions of the committee, and the committee thanks the agencies for their cooperation in the conduct of these reviews.

Also presented on 16 December 2014 was the committee's report on the listing of Al-Murabitun as a terrorist organisation under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Criminal Code). The committee fully supported the listing of Al-Murabitun.

Al-Murabitun formed in August 2013 on the amalgamation of two regional extremist groups, both of which originated as splinter groups of al-Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb. The committee was satisfied that Al-Murabitun is engaged in terrorist activities, including attacks against Western civilian targets, and that it advocates terrorist acts against France and its allies. The group also potentially threatens Australians and Australian interests in Africa.

Al-Murabitun is not engaged in any peace processes and has been listed by the United Nations and a number of other governments. The group has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda's senior leadership.

This is the first time the group has been listed as a terrorist organisation by the Australian government. The listing makes it an offence to direct the activities, become a member of, recruit, train or receive training, get funds to, from or for Al-Murabitun, and provide support for or associate with Al-Murabitun.

The committee supported the listing of Al-Murabitun as a terrorist organisation and did not recommend disallowance of the regulation.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank my fellow committee members, both past and present, for their valuable contribution to the committee over these years. I also place on record my thanks to the secretariat and the people who have helped with the drafting of these reports. I commend these reports to the House.

Reports made parliamentary papers in accordance with standing order 39(e).