Government's bid to keep terrorists locked up under review

Parliament's powerful intelligence and security committee will scrutinise a government proposal to indefinitely jail criminals with links to terrorism.

Attorney-General Christian Porter during Question Time in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, July 29, 2019. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas) NO ARCHIVING

Attorney-General Christian Porter wants some criminals with links to terrorism to be jailed indefinitely. Source: AAP

The government's proposal to indefinitely jail criminals with links to terrorism is set to be scrutinised. 

The proposed laws would close a loophole preventing some convicted terrorists being dealt continuing detention orders, which keep offenders behind bars if they pose a safety risk.

Federal parliament's powerful intelligence and security committee - chaired by WA Liberal MP Andrew Hastie - will review the laws in Canberra on Tuesday.

The proposal also includes laws which create a presumption against bail and parole for people who demonstrate support for or have links to terrorism, unless there are "exceptional circumstances".

The committee will hear from the Law Council of Australia and Australian Human Rights Commission as well as the Attorney-General's Department, Home Affairs and the Australian Federal Police.

Attorney-General Christian Porter wants to jail some criminals with terrorist links indefinitely.
Source: AAP

The proposed laws in question also require the court to fix a non-parole period of at least three quarters of the sentence imposed for a terrorism offence.

It applies to child offenders as well as adults.

The Attorney-General's Department said 52 offenders were serving jail time for terrorism offences and may be eligible for continuing detention at the end of their sentences if they pose an "unacceptable risk" of committing a serious terrorism offence. 

In its submission to the review, the Law Council of Australia says it opposes all forms of mandatory sentencing.

Children should be exempt from the fixed non-parole period amendments as they will create a "problematic degree of inflexibility when sentencing children for terrorism offences", the Law Council says.

The Australian Human Rights Commission also argues the proposed laws should not apply to children.

Parts of the proposed counter-terrorism laws are in response to a report into the prosecution and sentencing of children for terrorism offences.

The laws were re-introduced after May's federal election, when the legislative slate was wiped clean.


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Published 27 August 2019 at 6:30am, updated 27 August 2019 at 7:51am

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