House of Representatives

National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2010

Second Reading Speech

Mr McClelland (Attorney-General)

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.


Today I reintroduce the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2010, which lapsed when parliament was prorogued on 19 July 2010 and I would refer honourable members to my previous second reading speech for additional explanation.

The bill implements the government's responses to a number of independent and bipartisan reviews of national security and counterterrorism legislation.

After extensive public consultation, the bill was considered by the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs and the government has taken the recommendations of that committee into account in reintroducing the bill.

Specific Amendments

1. Treason and sedition (urging violence )

The name of the sedition offences in the Criminal Code will be changed to 'urging violence' to better reflect the nature of the offences.

The urging violence offence will be expanded to include urging force or violence on the basis of 'ethnic' or 'national' origin.

The offence will also be expanded so that it applies to the urging of force or violence against an individual, not just a group, and covers the urging of force or violence, even where the use of the force or violence does not threaten the peace, order and good government of the Commonwealth.

2. Part 5.3 measures

The bill will make amendments to improve the terrorist organisation listings provisions, including extending the duration of listings from two to three years, consistent with a recommendation of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

3. Part 1C of the Crimes Act

The bill will also clarify and improve the practical operation of the investigation powers in part 1C of the Crimes Act, in direct response to the issues raised in the Clarke inquiry into the case of Dr Mohamed Haneef.

4. Enhanced police powers to investigate terrorism

The bill will amend part 1AA of the Crimes Act to provide police with a power to enter premises without a warrant in emergency circumstances relating to a terrorism offence where there is material that may pose a risk to the health or safety of the public.

The bill will also modify the existing general search warrant provisions in the Crimes Act to provide more time for law enforcement officers to re-enter premises under a search warrant in emergency situations.

5. Bail provisions for terrorism offences

The bill will amend the bail provisions relating to terrorism and serious national security offences in the Crimes Act to include a specific right of appeal for both the prosecution and the defendant against a decision to grant or refuse bail.

6. Charter of the United Nations Act 1945

The bill will amend the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 to improve the standard for listing a person, entity, asset or class of assets, and to provide for the regular review of listings under the Charter Act.

7. Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986

The bill will amend the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act to enable the Inspector-General, on the request of the Prime Minister, to extend inquiries beyond the six Australian intelligence community agencies and inquire into an intelligence or security matter relating to any Commonwealth agency.

Concluding remarks

The Australian government is committed to fulfilling its responsibility to protect Australia, its people and its interests, while instilling confidence that our national security and counterterrorism laws will be exercised in a just and accountable way.

I am confident that this package of reforms delivers strong laws that protect our safety while preserving the democratic rights that protect our freedoms, and helps prepare us for the complex national security challenges of the future.

I commend the bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Chester) adjourned.