Reform of Australia’s counter-terrorism laws necessary to ensure they are effective and compatible with human rights

A Human Rights Law Centre submission to the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor has called for comprehensive reform of Australia’s counter-terrorism laws and measures to enhance their effectiveness and to better respect and protect fundamental human rights. The Monitor was appointed under the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010 (Cth) and is empowered to review and report on Australia’s counter-terrorism and national security legislation, including its compliance with Australia’s international human rights obligations.

The HRLC submission identifies a range of provisions which require reform to ensure compatibility with human rights, including those relating to:

  • the definition of “terrorist act”;
  • control orders;
  • preventative detention;
  • ASIO detention powers;
  • the listing of “terrorist organisations”; and
  • offences relating to association with a terrorist organisation.

The HRLC submission also identifies that the onus is on the government to keep Australia’s counter-terrorism laws and measures under continual review so as to ensure that any infringement of human rights is demonstrably justified, remains strictly necessary, and is reasonable and proportionate.