Last updated 3 March 2020

Responsibility for enacting criminal laws ordinarily lies with state parliaments, the state governments decided against enacting their own comprehensive counter-terrorism law regimes in response to terrorism. Instead, the state parliaments referred their law-making powers in relation to terrorism to the Commonwealth. State parliaments have therefore enacted a much smaller number of counter-terrorism laws, with the major offences and powers being provided by federal legislation. For this reason, state human rights Acts, such as the recently enacted Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld), cannot be used to challenge the scope and impact of most counter-terrorism laws.

A smaller number of laws grant state police forces special powers to investigate and prevent terrorism. These include additional powers to search persons and vehicles, seize and detain evidence, and search premises without a warrant. State police forces also have special powers to covertly search premises where doing so would substantially assist in preventing or responding to a terrorist act.

In Queensland, the Crime and Corruption Commission may also investigate terrorism-related conduct through its powers to investigate major crime. This includes powers to compel witnesses and their testimony in public hearings, and to execute search warrants to obtain evidence in relation to terrorism and other major crime.