Committee tables report on bill restricting parole for terrorists

Issue date: Monday, 14 October 2019

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Today the Chair of the Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee tabled its Advisory report on the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (2019 Measures No. 1) Bill 2019.

The Chair of the Committee, Mr Andrew Hastie MP said “This Bill makes changes that are designed to keep Australians safe. It implements a COAG agreement to ensure a presumption that neither bail nor parole will be granted to those persons who have demonstrated support for, or who have links to, terrorist activity. This decision followed the terrorist attack in Brighton, Victoria in June 2017. The perpetrator of that attack was on parole for State offences, and had previously been charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack.”

The Bill:

  • amends the existing presumption against bail in section 15AA of the Crimes Act so that it covers persons charged with or convicted of a terrorism offence,
  • amends section 19AG of the Crimes Act to require a court, when sentencing a terrorist offender who is under the age of 18, to fix a non-parole period of three-quarters of the head sentence unless the court is satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist to justify a shorter non-parole period, and
  • provides that exculpatory material does not need to be included in a continuing detention order application where the material would be the subject of a claim for Public Interest Immunity.

The Committee has recommended amendments so that the onus is on the Australian Federal Police Minister to satisfy the Court that any excluded exculpatory information is protected by Public Interest Immunity. This addresses the concerns raised by submitters whilst ensuring that the intended aim of the amendment is achieved.

The Bill is due to be debated in Parliament.

Media inquiries:
Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP (Canning, WA) on 08 9534 8044 (Electorate office) or (02) 6277 4223 (Parliament House)

For background information:
Committee Secretariat, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, (02) 6277 2360 or pjcis@aph.gov.au.

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