The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (High Risk Terrorist Offenders) Bill 2020 (Cth) (the “Bill”) was introduced to Federal Parliament’s House of Representatives on 3 September 2020 by Christian Porter (Attorney-General). The Bill is currently before the House of Representatives.
According to the Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum, the Bill is intended to “broaden the range of tools available to protect the community from the high level of risk that convicted terrorist offenders may pose once they are released”.
Currently, where a terrorist offender continues to pose a risk to the community at the expiration of their custodial sentence, the primary option for managing this risk is through seeking a Continuing Detention Order (“CDO”). This involves seeking a court order to commit a terrorist offender to detention in a prison for the period the order is in force. Extended Supervision Orders (“ESOs”) would present a less restrictive measure to manage the risk posed by an offender, where a court is not satisfied that continued detention is necessary to prevent that risk.
As noted in a Media Release from the office of Peter Dutton, the Minister for Home Affairs, the Bill:
The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum (“EM”) also notes the Bill:
According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the Bill is also intended to address the “current lack of inter-operability between CDOs and control orders in the Criminal Code due to the different courts from which these orders may be sought”.
Currently under Division 105A of the Criminal Code, a "State or Territory Supreme Court may impose a CDO for up to three years if satisfied to a high degree of probability, on the basis of admissible evidence, that the offender poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious Part 5.3 offence". The Court cannot make a CDO if a less restrictive measure, for example a control order, would be effective in preventing the unacceptable risk. However, a Supreme Court cannot make a control order – only the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court can make such an order.
The main amendments contained in Part 1 of the Bill include extensive amendments to:
Consequential amendments contained in Part 2 of the Bill amend:
Further amendments contained in Part 3 amend:
In his speech to Parliament, the Minister said:
The Law Council of Australia quoted Law Council President, Pauline Wright as saying about the Bill:
It was announced in a joint media release with Peter Dutton MP and Christian Porter MP:
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Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (High Risk Terrorist Offenders) Bill 2020 [CTH] - Bill and supporting information available from TimeBase LawOne Service.
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