NSW Bill Increasing Police Powers In Terror Situations Rushed Through Parliament

Thursday 22 June 2017 @ 11.56 a.m. | Crime | Legal Research

The Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Police Powers and Parole) Bill 2017, which was introduced into the Legislative Assembly by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on 21 June 2017, has been passed through both houses of Parliament in the space of one day’s sitting.  The Bill allows the Commissioner of Police to make a declaration that an incident to which police officers are responding is or is likely to be a terrorist act.  The police will then be able to take pre-emptive action against terrorists.  The Bill also makes some changes to the grant of parole for people deemed to be "terrorism related offenders"

The NSW Government announced the introduction of the new laws following the coronial inquest into the 2014 siege at the Lindt Cage.  For more information about the report’s findings, see TimeBase’s earlier article.

Introducing the Bill into the Legislative Assembly, the Premier said:

“First and foremost, the bill responds to the key recommendations of the State Coroner's report on the Lindt cafe siege released on 24 May 2017. As members will recall, on 8 June 2017 this Government announced that it had accepted and supported all of the Coroner's 45 recommendations. It also committed to immediately legislate to provide certainty to New South Wales police when required to use force, including lethal force, during terrorist incidents.

While police do have existing powers to use force where the public is in danger, the Coroner's report found that there was some doubt among officers about the legal position they were in during the Lindt cafe siege. To remove that uncertainty, the bill allows the Commissioner of Police to authorise the use of force, including lethal force, that is reasonably necessary to defend anyone threatened by a terrorist incident or to secure the release of hostages where planned and coordinated police action is required. Police officers who use force in these circumstances will not incur criminal liability where they act in good faith.”

The Bill was supported by the NSW Opposition, while the Greens opposed the Bill.

Police Use of Force

The Bill inserts a new Part 2AAA, “Police use of force – ongoing terrorist acts” into the Terrorism (Police Powers) Act 2002.  The Part will consist of two new sections, one of which deals with the Police Commissioner’s declaration that the Part applies to a terrorist act to which police are responding, and one which authorises the use of force (including lethal force) that is reasonably necessary in the circumstances.

Parole Orders for “Terrorism Related Offenders”

The Bill also amends the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 to insert a new Division 3A dealing with parole orders for terrorism related offenders.  The Division will limit the release on parole of “terrorism related offenders”.  The Division defines these as an offender:

(a) who is serving a sentence for a terrorism offence, who has previously been convicted of a terrorism offence or who has been charged with a terrorism offence, or

(b) who is the subject of a control order made under Part 5.3 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code, or

(c) who has any associations with a terrorist organisation (within the meaning of Division 102 of Part 5.3 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code), or

(d) who has made statements or carried out activities advocating support for terrorist acts or violent extremism, or

(e) who has any associations or affiliation with any persons or groups advocating support for terrorist acts or violent extremism.

According to the commencement provisions contained in the Bill, these amendments will commence on the date the Bill is assented.

TimeBase is an independent, privately owned Australian legal publisher specialising in the online delivery of accurate, comprehensive and innovative legislation research tools including LawOne and unique Point-in-Time Products. Nothing on this website should be construed as legal advice and does not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.


Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Police Powers and Parole) Bill 2017 (NSW) - available from TimeBase's LawOne service

Lindt Cafe siege: NSW Police who shoot terrorists dead will be protected by new laws (Sarah Gerathy, ABC News, 8 June 2017)

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