Last updated 3 March 2020

click to download a pdf of this chapterWhat is a Terrorist Act?
Preparatory and Group-based Terrorism Offences
Coercive Powers to Investigate and Prevent Terrorism
Government Responses to Foreign Fighters
Encryption Laws
State Laws Addressing Terrorism Offences

The Australian government has introduced a wide range of criminal offences in response to terrorism including offences relating to terrorist acts and terrorist organisation. In addition to these offences, counter-terrorism laws provide authorities with many coercive powers to investigate and prevent terrorism. These include preventative detention orders, control orders, and the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to detain individuals for coercive questioning.

Australia’s counter-terrorism law regime was expanded in response to the rise of Islamic State and the threat of ‘foreign fighters’ returning from Iraq and Syria, as well as to related home-grown terrorism. New laws include an offence for advocating terrorism (s 80.2C Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code), an offence for entering or remaining in a ‘declared area’ (s 119.2 Criminal Code) and a power to strip the Australian citizenship of dual citizens involved in terrorism (s 35A Australian Citizenship Act 2007 (Cth)).

Most recently, the Australian Government has introduced new powers to allow police and intelligence agencies access to encrypted communications (Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth)).