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Turnbull seeks tightening security laws in Australia

Malcolm Turnbull

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today termed as “real” the threat of terrorism in Australia while proposing to tighten security laws which will also pave the way to indefinitely extend detention of “high-risk” terrorists.

Turnbull said “therecent attacks in Nice and Orlando show an increase in the frequency and severity of terrorism in the West or against Western interests. And the weekend terrorist attack on civilians in Kabul was the deadliest in 15 years”.

Turnbull wrote to state premiers and chief ministers, asking them to agree on the design of nationally consistent laws for the indefinite detention of terrorists who pose a threat to the public at the end of their sentence.

“This system will enable a continuing period of imprisonment for high-risk terrorist offenders,” Turnbull said.

“It will be supervised by the courts similarly to the arrangements that apply in a number of our jurisdictions for sex offenders and extremely violent individuals,” he said.

“Our law enforcement and security agencies are among the best in the world but we have to ensure they have the powers they need,” he said, adding that new counter-terrorism legislation amendment would be introduced in theParliament.

Turnbull also said the person will be held only as long as they were shown to pose a risk, and the thresholds for risk should be set at a high level.

“We have to make sure there isn’t just a vague risk to the community but a present, real danger,” he said.

The bill, originally introduced in 2015, would also extend juvenile control orders from 16-year-olds to children as young as 14.

It would alsoalso introducea new offence of advocating genocide to further respond to the negative impact on our community of people who preach hate.

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) hadmade 21 recommendations on the original Bill.

“Following consultation with the States and Territories, the Government accepts all of the PJCIS recommendations, and they will be reflected in the Bill,” the PM said.

The Attorney-General will also convene a meeting of all the State and Territory Attorneys-General as soon as practicable to ensure post-sentence preventative detention legislation can be introduced quickly, he said.

This legislation will enable additional periods of imprisonment for terrorist offenders who have served their sentences but are still judged to present an unacceptable risk to the community,” he further added.

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