26 September 2023

Human rights boosted in terrorism law

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Proposed changes to the ACT’s special terrorism laws would see the laws extended with strengthened human rights protections.

Introduced by Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury, amendments to the Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Act 2006 aim to keep the community safe whilst protecting the human rights of people prosecuted under the Act.

“After consulting with a range of stakeholders, the ACT Government has decided to extend these laws for a further five years, while also enhancing a range of safeguard[s] under the Act,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Government is proposing amendments to strengthen human rights protections for individuals who are detained under the preventative detention orders allowed under these counter terrorism laws,” he said.

“Introduced in 2006, the Act gives law enforcement Agencies additional powers where there is evidence that a terrorist act is imminent, or where an act has occurred.”

Mr Rattenbury said an example of this was allowing ACT Policing to apply to the ACT Supreme Court for a preventative detention order which could see an individual detained for up to 14 days without charge.

The Attorney-General said the amendments included safeguards to strengthen human rights protections to better assure the health and wellbeing of detainees.

He said the changes would also see additional safeguards and protections for detainees who had impaired decision-making ability, as well as for detainees who were not citizens or permanent residents of Australia.

“The amendments also propose a fourth statutory review of the operation and effectiveness of the special counter terrorism laws, before they are due to expire in five years’ time,” Mr Rattenbury said.

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