Committee to review AFP counter-terrorism powers

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced a review of the Counter-Terrorism and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2023.

The Bill was introduced into Parliament by the Attorney-General on 10 August 2023, and he then referred it to the PJCIS for review and report.

The Bill would extend the operation of Australian Federal Police (AFP) powers relating to terrorism under the Crimes Act 1914 (Crimes Act) and the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Criminal Code) for a further three years, to December 2026. Those powers relate to:

  • authority to stop, question and search persons and seize items in Commonwealth places, including in ‘prescribed security zones’ (Crimes Act, Part 1AA, Division 3A);
  • the control order regime (Criminal Code Division 104); and
  • the preventative detention order regime (Criminal Code Division 105).

The Bill would amend some conditions and requirements for the use of these powers, in response to the recommendations of a review of police powers undertaken by the PJCIS and presented to Parliament in October 2021.

The Bill would also extend the operation of Commonwealth secrecy offences under the Criminal Code for 12 months to December 2024, to allow the Government to complete its current review of Commonwealth secrecy provisions and consider any necessary reforms.

Mr Peter Khalil MP, Chair of the PJCIS, said “The Australian Federal Police holds significant powers to protect the community against terrorism. This review will allow the Committee to consider the Government’s response to its previous recommendations to strengthen safeguards on those powers; and to ensure that the powers remain necessary and appropriate.”

Submissions to the inquiry are invited by Friday 6 October 2023.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.

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