Terrorist incidents around the world including the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon in the United States in 2001, and the Bali bombings in 2002, led to the review of counter-terrorism measures by Australian governments.
The Commonwealth Government was referred legislative powers to provide constitutional support for terrorism offences that apply uniformly throughout Australia. Victoria enacted the Terrorism (Community Protect) Act 2003 (the Act) to cover those areas where Victoria continued to have legislative responsibility.
This Act was amended in 2006, pursuant to a Council of Australian Governments agreement to further strengthen Australia's counter-terrorism legislation, to insert Parts 2A (preventative detention orders) and 3A (special police powers).
The Review is for the purposes of section 38(1) of the Act, which requires the Minister to cause a review of the operation of the Act and bring a report of the review before each House of Parliament, no later than 31 December 2014.
Terms of reference
The Review will:
- assess the adequacy, effectiveness and continuing need for the Act
- identify whether there is a need for amendments to the Act or additional powers to mitigate and prevent the risk of terrorist acts
- assess the adequacy and effectiveness of the Act in the context of joint operations conducted by Victoria Police with Commonwealth agencies or agencies from interstate.
In conducting the Review, the Committee must consider the operation of the Act and must draw upon and take into account:
- the findings and observations of the 2012 Council Of Australian Governments (COAG) Review of Counter-Terrorism Legislation conducted by Justice Anthony Whealy, Richard Bingham, David Jones, Commander Justine Saunders, Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon and Graeme Davidson. The review was tabled in the Commonwealth Parliament on 14 May 2013 by the Attorney-General
- the agreement of COAG leaders at the Special Meeting on Counter-Terrorism on 27 September 2005 that any strengthened counter-terrorism laws must be necessary, effective against terrorism and contain appropriate safeguards against abuse, and be exercised in a way that is evidence-based, intelligence-led and proportionate.
The scope of this Review does not extend to the operation of Part 6 of the Act. A separate review of Part 6 has been conducted by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and tabled in Parliament.
This final report, and the Victorian Government response, was tabled in Parliament on 16 September 2014.