Submission to the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor

The HRLC has made a submission to the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor on aspects of Australia’s counter-terrorism laws. In preparing his next annual report, the Independent Monitor is seeking public submissions on the powers relating to:

  • questioning warrants and questioning and detention warrants under the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (Cth); and
  • control orders and preventative detention orders under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The HRLC's submission highlights that:

  • the protection of Australia from threats to national security and the protection and promotion of human rights are complementary goals that are both fundamentally concerned with protecting the community and individuals from harm;
  • there will be instances where human rights need to be limited to some extent for the purpose of protecting national security and countering terrorism. However, limitations on relevant human rights are only permissible where such limitations are absolutely necessary and are proportionate and rationally connected to the threat posed; and
  • the State bears the onus of establishing that a limitation is reasonable and demonstrably justified. The more serious the infringement of rights, the higher the standard of proof required. There must be clear, cogent and persuasive evidence in order to demonstrably justify a human rights infringement.

The extraordinary nature of the powers associated with questioning warrants, control orders and preventative detention orders requires a corresponding level of procedural safeguards to ensure that such powers are not misused.


About the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor

The Independent Monitor’s role is to review the operation, effectiveness and implications of Australia’s counter-terrorism and national security legislation on an ongoing basis. This includes considering whether the laws remain necessary, contain appropriate safeguards for protecting the rights of individuals, and remain proportionate to any threat of terrorism or threat to national security.

The Independent Monitor’s first annual report was provided to the Prime Minister on 16 December 2011 and tabled in Parliament on 19 March 2012.

The INSLM’s next annual report is required to be provided to the Prime Minister by no later than 31 December 2012.

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