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Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

The submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security’s inquiry into the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Cth) was prepared by the Law Council. 

The Bill would amend the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth) (Crimes Act) to introduce an exceptional circumstances test for persons charged with or convicted of a terrorism offence (or previously charged with or convicted of certain offences), persons subject to a control order and persons who have made statements or carried out activities supporting, or advocating support for, terrorist acts.

That is, there is not only a presumption against bail and parole but a further stringent test to be satisfied. It also provides that the best interests of the child are a primary consideration, with the protection of the community the paramount consideration, when determining whether exceptional circumstances exist where the person is under the age of 18 years.

The similar provision applies when determining whether exceptional circumstances exist to justify a departure from the minimum non-parole period for a terrorism offence where the offender is under the age of 18 years, and when determining whether exceptional circumstances exist to justify the release of a young terrorist offender or terrorismrelated offender on parole.

The Bill would also amend the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code) to: provide that terrorist offenders serving a term of imprisonment for a terrorism offence and another offence are eligible for consideration of a continuing detention order (CDO) at the conclusion of their term; and provide that the requirement to provide a complete copy of a CDO application to a terrorist offender is subject to any court orders made relating to the protection of information in the application or any certificate issued by the Attorney-General under the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (Cth) (NSI Act).

The Law Council recognises that terrorism related offences are serious and that offenders who commit this type of offence ought to receive an appropriate penalty that reflects the severity of their conduct. The Law Council acknowledges that the protection of the community is an important consideration in relation to both the question of bail and sentencing for these types of offences.

You can read the full submission below.

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