World / Asia-Pacific

Australian Parliament passes counter-terrorism legislation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-12-02 14:51

CANBERRA -- Australian Parliament on Tuesday passed the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill. The legislation addresses "urgent operational needs identified by Australia's intelligence and law enforcement agencies", the Attorney-General's office said in a statement.

The measures in the bill will assist these agencies to disrupt domestic terrorist threats and support the international coalition to degrade ISIL in the Middle East.

"They are part of the government's comprehensive legislative reform agenda to address the threat posed by Australians participating in, and supporting, foreign conflicts or undertaking training with extremist groups," the statement said.

The bill will enhance the control order regime in the Criminal Code Act 1995 to allow the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to seek control orders in relation to a broader range of individuals of security concern. This will allow the AFP to take timely action against those suspected of funding, enabling or supporting persons who are suspected of terrorist activity and fighting with terrorist organisations in foreign conflicts.

The bill also amends the Intelligence Services Act 2001 which will improve the ability of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) to provide timely support to the Australian Defence Force in assistance of military operations.

The bill incorporated amendments proposed by the bipartisan Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), which unanimously recommended passage of the bill. The PJCIS acknowledged the improvements provided in the bill were urgently needed to ensure that Australia's intelligence and law enforcement agencies could undertake relevant activities to protect Australian security at home and in support of the Australian Defence Force's operations in Iraq against ISIL.

There are about 60 to 70 Australian nationals who are fighting with ISIL and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East, that have become a major security concern of the Australian government.

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