Australian PM calls for tougher new laws on convicted terrorists

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[]9News Australia] Malcolm Turnbull says Australia ‘cannot be complacent’ with terrorists in urging for tough new laws

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has written to state and territory leaders to request a meeting with attorneys-general across the country to design tough new laws designed to keep terrorists behind bars after their jail sentences expire.

The Commonwealth has called on all governments to fast-track the new laws allowing for convicted terrorists to have periodic reviews of the risk they could pose after their sentences have expired.

“In the wake of Orlando, Nice and other terrorist incidents – as well as our own experience since September 2014, resulting in the charging of 44 persons – we cannot for a moment be complacent,” Mr Turnbull said today.

The laws will apply to high-risk offenders who authorities believe are still a national security risk and are similar to those that apply to sex offenders and extremely violent criminals.

Mr Turnbull said the laws would be designed to “deter” and “prevent” terrorism so citizens can “enjoy their freedom in the usual way”.

“It will provide a very real incentive for people in prison for terrorist offences not to engage in continued extremist activity,” he added.

Under the new legislation, the offenders will be held indefinitely after their sentence expires.

Convicted terrorists could be held in jail indefinitely under tough new national laws to be introduced by the Prime Minister.

The legislation is understood to have received in-principle support earlier this year. Attorney-General George Brandis indicated it would apply to individuals who pose a severe risk.

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“It will of course only apply to individuals who, as they approach the end of a sentence of imprisonment, continue to pose an unacceptably high risk to the community because of their failure to be rehabilitated as a result of a penal sentence,” Senator Brandis said.

States and territories would decide their own length of time to extend the sentences by.

Mr Turnbull phoned premiers and chief ministers over the weekend to say he wanted the laws implemented as a priority.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she wanted to explore the issue in more detail before committing.

“I indicated that Queensland would be looking very closely at what his intentions are,” she said in Brisbane.

“My understanding is that he (Mr Turnbull) will be convening, through the federal attorney-general, a meeting with all of the state and territory attorneys-general as quickly as possible to look at the framework of what that legislation will be.”

Scene of the Nice terror attack.

Scene of the Nice terror attack.

Queensland’s shadow treasurer Scott Emerson said he was yet to see the detail of the proposed changes.

“I would support any initiative that sees this state and this country being a safer place,” he said.

The prime minister wrote to leaders and said it is a significant public safety and security issue.

“Our governments must do all we can to protect the community from individuals posing a high risk of reoffending and/or those in need of continued rehabilitation,” Mr Turnbull wrote.

“The guiding principles of a post-sentence preventive detention scheme would be that it cover high-risk terrorist offenders and contain appropriate procedural protections and safeguards.

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Over the past year, there have been at least 40 terrorist attacks across the globe, most recently in Nice, Germany and Afghanistan.

 

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