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Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Page: 9736

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (19:04): That is the way this works. ASIO is the national security agency, so its job is to protect Australia from, among other things, terrorism. So ASIO is the very agency within the Commonwealth government which makes judgements about whether or not an individual or, in the case you have put to me, an organisation is a terrorist organisation. Acting on the advice of ASIO, the Attorney-General may and, routinely, would declare an organisation to be a terrorist organisation for the purposes of the Criminal Code. I cannot imagine that any Attorney-General who was doing his job responsibly would ignore the advice of ASIO and say, 'Even though you say the statutory criteria are met, on the basis of your intelligence judgement I am going to refuse to declare this organisation to be a terrorist organisation.'

I should have said, Senator Lambie, since we are dealing particularly with the Citizenship Act—and we mentioned this last night—there is a double criterion, because although it is the Attorney-General who declares terrorist organisations under provisions of the Criminal Code, it is the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection who, under this act, declares certain organisations from within the pre-existing list of declared terrorist organisations to be organisations to which the provisions of this bill apply. So it may be that the list for the purposes of this bill are narrower than the entire list of declared terrorist organisations declared by the Attorney-General under the Criminal Code.