This report reviews the appropriateness and effectiveness of Australia's national security legislation, focusing on the legal definition of terrorism and on controversial powers such as control orders, preventative detention and coercive questioning.
Chapter II concludes that control orders in their present form are not effective, not appropriate and not necessary. It suggests that they may be effective, would be appropriate and might be regarded as necessary in the case of persons already convicted of terrorist offences whose dangerousness at the expiry of their sentences of imprisonment can be shown.
Chapter III concludes the preventative detention orders are not effective, not appropriate and not necessary. They should simply be abolished.
Chapter IV concludes that questioning warrants are sufficiently effective to be appropriate, and in a relevant sense necessary. Further, it suggests they might be more readily available than the legislation currently provides. It rejects the criticism that questioning warrants are an unjustified infringement of liberty.
Chapter V concludes that questioning and detention warrants are an unnecessary extension of questioning warrants. But the reasoning for that conclusion does not suggest detention for the purposes of questioning is wrong. Rather, it is appropriately and proportionately comprehended within the counter-terrorism laws provisions for questioning warrants.
Chapter VI proposes improvements to Australia’s definition of terrorism. The current requirement for the separate proof of a political, religious or ideological motivation in order that a person be guilty of a terrorist offence is not effective, not appropriate and not necessary. Indeed, it may be counter-productive.