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Parliamentary Library analysis of the latest counter-terrorism Bill

On 5 August 2014, the Government announced significant reforms to counter-terrorism laws. The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014, introduced on 24 September 2014, proposes extensive amendments to a range of Commonwealth legislation as part of the Government’s response to the increased threat of terrorism posed by Australians engaging in, and returning from, conflicts in foreign States. The Parliamentary Library’s Bills Digest provides independent analysis of the Bill, and identifies the following key issues for debate. Read more...

Say that again: Iraq and the terrorist threat

On 1 September 2014, the Prime Minister delivered in parliament a Statement on Iraq in which he condemned the ongoing violence and outlined the next phase of the Government’s humanitarian intervention. However, in declaring that would-be terrorists ‘don’t hate us for what we do; but for who we are and for how we live’, Mr Abbott has revived a key element of the Howard Government refrain from over 10 years ago that Australia’s involvement in the US-led ‘War on Terror’ and the conflict in Iraq did not make Australia more of a terrorist target. Read more...

The Islamic Caliphate and Australia

In June 2014, the Islamic State (IS) declared an Islamic Caliphate spanning the area from Syria’s Aleppo governorate in the west, to Iraq’s province of Diyala in the east. The area under IS control now covers up to one third of Iraq, including the city of Mosul, which previously had a strong Christian community, but who have now mostly been forced to flee.  Read more...

Payments to support victims of overseas terrorism

Prime Minister Tony Abbott recently announced that victims of past overseas terrorist attacks would be entitled to an Australian Victim of Terrorism Overseas Payment (AVTOP), worth up to $75,000. The AVTOP was created in 2012 under the Gillard Government. Many of those affected by previous attacks have received some form of assistance from the Australian Government including coverage of medical costs and counselling/rehabilitation—the AVTOP provides a new formal mechanism for delivering monetary assistance. While there is strong community support for the scheme, a number of issues have been raised in regards to its design.How the payment works  The AVTOP is a one-off, lump-sum payment intend... Read more...

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