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Current counter-terror laws

On the 8 September 2005, the Prime Minister introduced a 12-point plan outlining new counter-terror laws which were largely approved by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting two weeks later.  This was before any review of existing laws had been completed.

A comprehensive list of the current national security legislation is set out on the web site www.nationalsecurity.gov.au which lists the legislation as follows with a brief explanation:

Australian laws to combat terrorism

The Australian Government has introduced an extensive legislative regime around counter-terrorism, national security and other cross-jurisdictional offences.

Key pieces of Australia's national security legislation include:

Anti-Terrorism Act (No. 2) 2005

The act which amends the Criminal Code to allow for the listing of organisations that advocate the doing of a terrorist act as terrorist organisations, establishes procedures for preventative detention and control orders,  updates the offence of sedition and other measures.

The Anti-Terrorism Act 2004

The legislation which includes amending the Crimes Act 1914 to strengthen the powers of Australia’s law enforcement authorities, setting minimum non-parole periods for terrorism offences and tightening bail conditions for those charged with terrorism offences as well as other initiatives.

The Anti-Terrorism Act (No. 2) 2004

The legislation which amends the Criminal Code Act 1995 to make it an offence to intentionally associate with a person who is a member of a listed terrorist organisation as well as other initiatives.

The Anti-Terrorism Act (No. 3) 2004

The legislation which amends the Passports Act 1938, the Australian Intelligence Security Act 1979 and the Crimes Act 1914 to improve Australia’s counter-terrorism legal framework as well as other initiatives.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979

The legislation which sets out the functions of the Australia Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) – Australia’s security service.

The ASIO Legislation Amendment Act 2003

The legislation which amends the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 to ensure ASIO has the ability to effectively collect information which is necessary to prevent a terrorist act.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Act 2003

The legislation which empowers ASIO to obtain a warrant to detain and question a person who may have information important to the gathering of intelligence in relation to terrorist activity.

The Border Security Legislation Amendment Act 2002

The legislation which deals with border surveillance, the movement of people, the movement of goods and the controls Customs has in place to monitor this activity.

The Crimes Act 1914

The legislation which deals with crime, the powers of the authorities to investigate it and many other related issues including sabotage, treachery, disclosure of information and other issues.

The Crimes Amendment Act 2002

The legislation which allowed forensics to be used to identify victims of the Bali bombings.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Anti-Hoax and Other Measures) Act 2002

The legislation which amends the Criminal Code Act 1995 to insert new offences directed at the use of postal and similar services to perpetrate hoaxes, make threats and send dangerous articles.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Espionage and Related Matters) Act 2002

The legislation which enhances Australia’s national security legislative framework by strengthening Australia’s espionage laws.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Offences Against Australians) Act 2002

The legislation which amends the Criminal Code by inserting new provisions to make it an offence to murder, commit manslaughter or intentionally or recklessly cause serious harm to an Australian outside Australia.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Suppression of Terrorist Bombings) Act 2002

The legislation which amends the Criminal Code Act 1995 to make it an offence to place bombs or other lethal devices in prescribed places with the intention of causing death or serious harm or causing extensive destruction which would cause major economic loss.

The Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism) Act 2002

The legislation which amends the Criminal Code Act 1995 to create new terrorism offences, modernise treason offences, creates offences relating to membership or other specified links to terrorist organisations and other initiatives.

The Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Act 2002

The legislation which amends the Criminal Code Act 1995, the Extradition Act 1988, the Financial Transactions Reports Act 1988, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1987 and the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945. The amendments insert a new offence which targets persons who provide or collect funds and are reckless as to whether those funds will be used to facilitate a terrorist act and other initiatives.

The Surveillance Devices Act 2004

The legislation that establishes procedures for officers to obtain warrants, emergency authorisations and tracking device authorisations for the installation and use of surveillance devices in relation to criminal investigations and other initiatives.

The Telecommunications Interception Legislation Amendment Act 2002

The legislation which amends the Telecommunications (Interception) Act 1979 to permit law enforcement agencies to seek telecommunications interception warrants in connection with the investigation of terrorism offences and other initiatives.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Terrorism) Act 2003 (Constitutional Reference of Power)

The legislation which removes any uncertainty regarding the constitutional status of the counter-terrorism legislation.

The Crimes (Overseas) Act 1964

The legislation which provides that certain Australian criminal laws apply to conduct committed by Australian civilians who are serving overseas under an arrangement between the Australian Government and the United Nations.

The Australian Federal Police and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2004

The legislation which amends the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 and the Crimes Act 1914 to finalise integration of the Australian Protective Service into the Australian Federal Police and other initiatives.

The Australian Protective Service Amendment Act 2003

The legislation that gives Australian Protective Service and Australian Federal Police the powers to request a person’s personal details, stop and search a person suspected of possessing a weapon, seize weapons and other initiatives.

The International Transfer of Prisoners Amendment Act 2004

The legislation which put in place arrangements to work with the US to transfer Australian citizens convicted by a military tribunal to serve any sentence of imprisonment in Australia.

The Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003

The legislation which establishes a scheme to safeguard against unlawful interference with maritime transport and establishes security levels.

The Aviation Transport Security Act 2004

The legislation which establishes a number of mechanisms to safeguard against unlawful interference against aviation.

The Aviation Transport Security (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004

The legislation which introduces a number of amendments and transitional provisions.

The Crimes Amendment Act 2005

The legislation which amends the Crimes Act 1914 to enable Commonwealth participating agencies to request assumed identity documents.

The National Security Information Legislation Amendment Act 2005

The legislation which extends protection of security sensitive information under the National Security Information (Criminal Proceedings) Act 2004.

The National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004

The legislation which protects information from disclosure in federal criminal proceedings where the disclosure would be likely to prejudice Australia's national security.