House of Representatives Committees


Membership of the Committee
Terms of reference
List of abbreviations
List of recommendations
Chapter 1 Background
Chapter 2 Rationale and Accountability
Chapter 3 Effectiveness and Implications: Impact on Arab and Muslim Australians
Chapter 4 Treason
Chapter 5 International Terrorism
Chapter 6 Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism
Chapter 7 Border Security
Appendix B - List of Submissions
Appendix C – List of Witnesses appearing at Public Hearings


I present the report of the Committee’s review of the first package of anti-terrorism and security legislation passed by the Commonwealth Parliament in 2002.
On behalf of the Committee, I would like to express our particular gratitude to Mr Simon Sheller AO QC and the Sheller Committee, which reported on the legislation under review in April this year. The Sheller Report reflected the views of major stakeholders and has provided a valuable contribution to our own deliberations.
Since 2001, a series of terrorist events have served as a reminder of the risk and consequences of terrorist violence. Australia is not immune from these influences. Like the Sheller Committee, we have concluded that a special terrorism law regime is justifiable and forms an important, although not exclusive, tool in Australia’s counter-terrorism strategy. Much of the report deals with the detail of legislative provisions. It proposes a series of modest refinements to improve specificity, clarity and fairness in a way that we believe is consistent with Australia’s anti-terrorism objectives.
It is clear that Australia now has a highly developed legal framework and stronger institutional capacities to deal with the threat of terrorism. The terrorism law regime is, essentially, a preventive model, which differs in many respects from our earlier legal traditions. Bearing in mind the significance of these changes and the importance of terrorism policy into the future, we have recommended the appointment of an Independent Reviewer to provide comprehensive and ongoing oversight. The Independent Reviewer, if adopted, will provide valuable reporting to the Parliament and help to maintain public confidence in Australia’s specialist terrorism laws.
I commend the report to the Government and the Parliament and thank my fellow Committee members and the Secretariat for their contributions, which have made the review possible.

The Hon David Jull MP


Membership of the Committee


The Hon David Jull MP


Deputy Chair

Mr Anthony Byrne MP



The Hon Duncan Kerr SC MP

Senator Alan Ferguson


Mr Stewart McArthur MP

Senator the Hon Robert Ray


Mr Steven Ciobo MP

Senator the Hon John Faulkner



Senator Fiona Nash

Committee Secretariat


Ms Margaret Swieringa

Inquiry Secretary

Ms Jane Hearn

Administration Officer

Mrs Donna Quintus-Bosz

Terms of reference

29 Functions of the Committee

(1) The functions of the Committee are:

(ba)     to review, as soon as possible after the third anniversary of the day
on which the Security Legislation Amendment (Terrorism)Act 2002 receives the Royal Assent, the operation, effectiveness and implications of amendments made by that Act and the following Acts:

(i) the Border Security Legislation Amendment Act 2002;

(ii) the Criminal Code Amendment (Suppression of Terrorist

Bombings) Act 2002;

(iii) the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Act 2002.

List of abbreviations


Australian Defence Forces


Administrative Decision Judicial Review Act 1975


Australian Federal Police


Attorney-General’s Department


Australian Law Reform Commission


Australian Muslim Civil Rights Network


Australian Security Intelligence Organisation


Anti-Terrorism Act 2005 (No. 2) (Cth)


Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre


Border Security Legislation Amendment Act 2002


Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions


Council of Australian Governments


Charter of the United Nations Act 1945


Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade


Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs


European Community


European Court of Justice


European Union


United Nations Financial Transaction Task Force


Federal Bureau of Investigation ( United States of America)


FN Herstal General Support Machine Gun


Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission


International Committee of the Red Cross


Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security


Islamic Information and Support Centre of Australia


International Sikh Youth Federation


Muslim Community Reference Group


Memorandum of Understanding


Muslim Reference Group


Passenger Analysis Unit


Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security


Passenger Name Record


Proscription of Organisations Appeals Commission


Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism Act 2002


Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee


Security Legislation Review (the Sheller Report)


United Kingdom


United Nations


United Nations Security Council


United Nations Security Council Resolution

List of recommendations

2 Rationale and Accountability

Recommendation 1

The Committee recommends that the Government support/sponsor a study into the causes of violent radicalisation in Australia to inform Australia’s counter terrorism strategy.

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that:

3 Effectiveness and Implications: Impact on Arab and Muslim Australians

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that Australian police forces review their media policies to ensure that official statements do not prejudice the right to fair trial and are sensitive to the wider implications for the community.

Recommendation 4

The Committee recommends that AGD increase its effort to ensure that comprehensive information about the terrorism law regime is available to the public in appropriate community languages.

Recommendation 5

The Committee recommends that Australia’s counter terrorism strategy encompass:

4 Treason

Recommendation 6

The Committee recommends that:

5 International Terrorism

Recommendation 7

The Committee recommends that the requirement that the person intends to advance a political, religious or ideological cause be retained as part of the definition of terrorism.

Recommendation 8

The Committee recommends that the current exemption for advocacy, protest, dissent and industrial action be retained as part of the definition of terrorism.

Recommendation 9

The Committee recommends that psychological harm not be included in the definition of a terrorist act. Alternatively, that the Government consult with the States and Territories on this issue and give consideration to the question in light of other amendments to the definition.

Recommendation 10

The Committee recommends that ‘threat’ of terrorist acts be removed from the definition of terrorism and be dealt with as a separate offence.

Recommendation 11

The Committee recommends that the definition of terrorism recognise that international organisations may be the target of terrorist violence.

Recommendation 12

The Committee recommends that to remove doubt the definition of terrorism be amended to include a provision or a note that expressly excludes conduct regulated by the law of armed conflict.

Recommendation 13

The Committee recommends that a separate hoax offence be adopted but that penalties reflect the less serious nature of a hoax as compared to a threat of terrorism.

Recommendation 14

The Committee does not recommend the repeal of ‘advocacy’ as a basis for listing an organisation as a terrorist organisation but recommends that this issue be subject to further review.

The Committee recommends that ‘risk’ be amended to ‘substantial risk’.

Recommendation 15

The Committee recommends that the Government consider:

Recommendation 16

The Committee recommends that the training offence be redrafted to define more carefully the type of training targeted by the offence. Alternatively, that the offence be amended to require that the training could reasonably prepare the individual or the organisation to engage in, or assist with, a terrorist act.

Recommendation 17

The Committee recommends that:

Recommendation 18

The Committee recommends that the offence of providing support to a terrorist organisation be amended to ‘material support’ to remove ambiguity.

Recommendation 19

The Committee recommends that the offence of ‘associating with a terrorist organisation’ be re-examined taking into account the recommendations of the Sheller Committee.

Recommendation 20

The Committee recommends that strict liability provisions applied to serious criminal offences that attract the penalty of imprisonment be reduced to an evidential burden.

6 Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism

Recommendation 21

The Committee recommends that:

The Committee recommends that paragraph 103.2(1)(b) be redrafted to make clear that the intended recipient of the funds be a terrorist.

Recommendation 22

The Committee recommends that:

7 Border Security

Recommendation 23

That the Customs Act be amended to specify that access to passenger information for the purpose of another law of the Commonwealth is limited to the investigation of serious crimes prescribed by regulation.

Recommendation 24

The Committee recommends that:

Recommendation 25

The Committee recommends that the Privacy Commissioner retain an ongoing oversight role in relation to passenger name records, which includes biannual monitoring of the Passenger Analysis Unit.

Recommendation 26

The Committee recommends that:

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