Last updated 20 January 2017

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 Offences
Government Responses to Foreign Fighters
State Laws Addressing Terrorism Offences

The Australian government has enacted a wide range of criminal offences in response to the threat of terrorism including offences relating to terrorist acts, terrorist organisations, and speech and other conduct. In addition to these offences, the Commonwealth Parliament has enacted laws providing authorities with a range of 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 further expanded in response to the threat of ‘foreign fighters’ returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, as well as related home-grown terrorism. These new laws include an offence for advocating terrorism and a power to strip the Australian citizenship of dual citizens involved in terrorism.