Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 does not reflect appropriate balance

November 16, 2014

ALHR has found the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 does not reflect an appropriate balance between the government’s domestic and international obligations to protect its citizens from terrorism and its international obligations to preserve and promote its citizens’ fundamental human rights.

In a report to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security ALHR submits it is essential that Australian anti-terrorism laws adhere to the Australian government’s international legal obligations under various binding instruments and accord with agreed norms of human rights, civil liberties and fundamental democratic freedoms.  The submission is attached below.

ALHR submits that if legislative provisions do not accord with these standards they should not be adopted.  In short, ALHR finds that:

(1) the provisions of the Amendment Bill are disproportionate in effect;
(2) the provisions reduce the oversight of courts essential to the balance of power in a democracy;
(3) the provisions are inconsistent with accepted international human rights standards;
(4) the provisions contain insufficient mechanisms for independent and comprehensive review;
(5) the key terms in the provisions are not clearly or are not appropriately defined (and are thus potentially subject to arbitrary or inconsistent application – in particular in the absence of normal judicial review); and
(6) the provisions contain insufficient safeguards in relation to accepted standards of legal support and oversight in the light of international human rights standards.

AHLR submission on the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 (10 November 2014)