On 13 November 2018, the Queensland Government introduced the Justice Legislation (Links to Terrorist Activity) Amendment Bill 2018 (QLD) (‘the Bill’). This Bill is for the purpose of implementing the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) commitment on terrorism by making amendments to the statutory presumption in favour of bail.
One outcome from the 2017 COAG meeting was the commitment that there will be a presumption that bail or parole must not be granted to people with links to or convictions for terrorist activity. According to the Explanatory Memorandum for this Bill, this is in order to support national consistency:
This Bill proposes to amend the following main Acts:
The amendments aim to reverse the statutory presumption in favour of bail for adult or child offenders who have been previously convicted of a terrorist offence or subject to a control order under the Commonwealth Criminal Code. The power to grant bail in such situations will be exercised by a court, and the offender in question will be required to satisfy the court that there are exceptional circumstances that justify the granting of bail in that scenario. This change applies to children as well. Additionally, the presumption in favour of bail is reversed for those persons about whom the commissioner of police provides a report to the parole board identifying that that person has a reasonable likelihood of re-offending.
The explanatory notes for the Bill emphasise that the proposed amendments are not setting out to create a new norm in relation to the presumption of bail, and reflect the unique circumstances related to terrorist threats, finding that there are no alternative ways of achieving policy objectives.
In her second reading speech, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath confirmed that the Bill aimed to implement the commitment of COAG in Queensland:
She commented on the departure from conventional norms of the presumption of bail, noting that the measures in the Bill are extraordinary measures designed to respond to a specific context:
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Justice Legislation (Links to Terrorist Activity) Amendment Bill 2018 (QLD), second reading speech and explanatory memorandum, as published on TimeBase LawOne.
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