Revised Explanatory Memorandum - Extracts OnlyCirculated by authority of the Attorney-General, Senator the Honourable George Brandis QC
1. Australia faces a serious and ongoing terrorist threat. The escalating terrorist situation in Iraq and Syria poses an increasing threat to the security of all Australians both here and overseas. Existing legislation does not adequately address the domestic security threats posed by the return of Australians who have participated in foreign conflicts or undertaken training with extremist groups overseas ('foreign fighters').
2. This Bill provides a suite of measures which are specifically designed to strengthen and improve Australia's counter-terrorism legislative framework to respond to the foreign fighter threat. It will provide additional powers for security agencies to deal with the threat of terrorism within Australia and that posed by Australians who participate in terrorist activities overseas. It will further counter terrorism through improving border security measures and by cancelling welfare payments for persons involved in terrorism.
3. The Bill also implements those recommendations of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor's (INSLM) second and fourth annual reports and the Final Report of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Review of Counter-Terrorism Legislation (the COAG Review) that will assist to address the most pressing gaps in our counter-terrorism framework.
4. The Bill was the subject of an inquiry by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (the Committee), which reported on 17 October 2014. The Committee made 37 recommendations in relation to the Bill, including that the Bill be passed subject to the other recommendations being implemented. The Government accepted all of the Committee's recommendations and, on 29 October 2014, the Senate agreed to amendments implementing those recommendations that recommended changes to the Bill. In addition, the Senate agreed a technical amendment to the Migration Act 1958 (Migration Act) to correct an error that occurred late in the drafting of the Bill.
FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT
5. The delayed notification search warrant scheme provides compensation if electronic equipment is damaged in the course of the execution of a warrant. However, this is anticipated to have minimal financial impacts on Government revenue.