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Australia: National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2010

The National Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2010 has passed through the Australian Parliament granting police the power to enter homes without a warrant, allows the authorities to appeal a bail decision and expands the scope of the crime of “urging violence”. The new legislation expands the range of infractions upon private life that may be endured before a trial is organised, if at all. A summary of the changes is as follows:

  • new powers for police to enter a premises without a warrant in emergency circumstances relating to a terrorism offence where there is suspicion “on reasonable grounds” to be material that may pose a risk to the health or safety of the public;
  • extending the time available for police to re-enter a premises under a search warrant from one hour to 12 hours in emergency circumstances;
  • establishing a maximum seven day limit on the detention period that may be disregarded when a person has been arrested for a terrorism offence;
  • including a specific right of appeal for both the prosecution and the defendant against a bail decision relating to terrorism and serious national security offences;
  • expanding the ‘urging violence’ offence so that it applies to individuals as well as groups who incite violence on the basis of race, religion, nationality, national or ethnic origin or political opinion;
  • extending the expiration period of regulations proscribing a terrorist organisation from two to three years;
  • amending the National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 so that national security and counter-terrorism court proceedings may be expedited;
  • establishing a Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement to extend parliamentary oversight to both the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime Commission; and
  • extending the role of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) to inquire into an intelligence or security matter relating to any Commonwealth Department or agency.

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