Australia

Foreign fighter laws pass first hurdle

Mark Dreyfus says government accusations were aping "some of the worst regimes in history". (AAP)

The Morrison government's push to stop foreign fighters from re-entering Australia for at least two years, looks set to pass the parliament.

New laws stopping foreign fighters from returning to Australia for at least two years are set to pass the parliament.

However, the opposition will first try to push the proposed powers back to parliament's intelligence and security committee for further scrutiny.

Labor wants all 18 recommendations from the committee adopted - including two changes the government has rejected - but will support the bill anyway.

Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus accused the coalition of using "cheap smears" to try and wedge Labor on the legislation.

Mr Dreyfus said the opposition was not "turning its back" on national security by wanting greater oversight and scrutiny of the legislation.

"There is a very long and a very sorry history of accusations of history or disloyalty being thrown about for base political purposes," he told parliament on Tuesday.

"By going down that path, this government is aping a political technique that is being used by some of the worst regimes in history."

Mr Dreyfus said the coalition had failed to fully address more than half of the recommendations from the parliament's joint intelligence and security committee.

"The minister for home affairs hasn't explained why it is the government is ignoring the recommendations of the committee," he said.

But Liberal MP Andrew Hastie, who chairs the committee, said the government had only rejected two recommendations.

He supports the bill in its current form and said fighters were returning to Australia with "combat experience, hard hearts and a proven capacity for violence and bloodshed".

Labor is concerned the legislation is not descriptive enough about the powers it grants the home affairs minister, and is also worried the laws might not be constitutionally sound.

The proposal builds on laws introduced to parliament in February, before the legislative slate was wiped clean at the election.

Under the proposal, any citizen suspected of extremism would be temporarily banned from returning to Australia until protections are in place through a so-called "return permit".

The bill establishes a reviewing authority to provide independent oversight of the minister's decision to create a temporary exclusion order.

Return permits may include conditions relating to when and how the person enters the country, and they may also have to register where they live, work or study, and any plans to travel within Australia or abroad.

The proposed 12-month return permit could also include conditions around using technology.

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