With all that has been happening in here and around the world, Australia is taking a step forward to fight terrorism – indefinite detention.
The Federal Government is pushing hard for legislation in every state so some terrorists who have been convicted could be kept in jail after their sentences expire if a court says they would reoffend.
In fact, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has already written to state and territory leaders asking them to quickly agree on laws that could keep terrorists in jail if the threat is assessed as serious, reports ABC.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis said he wanted laws similar to those in some states which keep sex offenders in jail after they have served their sentence if they still posed a serious risk to the community.
He said this would only apply to very high risk offenders who show no signs of rehabilitation when they are near the end of their sentence.
“They are people who would be assessed to pose a continuing and serious risk to community safety,” said Senator Brandis who also mentioned that it could amount to indefinite detention.
“I make no apology for the Government taking the view that if a person, having served a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime, shows every indication of a willingness to repeat that crime, to reoffend as soon as they are released, they should remain behind bars,” the Attorney-General said.
Whether the Government wanted the laws because of any specific convicted terrorists in jail now, it is not known
“I am not going to talk about individual cases for obvious reasons.”
Who will this measure apply to?
Some argue that keeping terrorists in jail after their sentence expires raises legal concerns about procedural fairness and double punishment. However, Senator Brandis argued that state laws for sex offenders have been upheld by the high court and this new measure would only apply to the most serious category of offender.
He also said existing measures like control orders might be used instead for some terrorists, meaning instead of staying in jail longer they might have to wear a tracking device, report regularly to police or be banned from using the internet.
State leaders were briefed by ASIO’s Director General last December at Mr Turnbull’s first council of Australian Governments meeting and agreed to the idea, then endorsed the next step in April.
Senator Brandis acknowledged there was a risk that leaving terrorists locked up beyond their sentence – their supporters might be provoked.
“These are all fine judgements that have to be taken into account but always subject to getting the right balance between two very, very important considerations — one is community safety and the other is the rights of the individual,” he said.