Last updated 3 March 2020

Division 101 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) (Criminal Code) details terrorist act offences under Commonwealth law.

A terrorist act is an action or a threat of action that is intended to coerce a government, influence a government by intimidation or intimidate a section of the public. There must also be an intention to advance a political, religious or ideological cause (this is commonly referred to as a ‘motive requirement’), which distinguishes terrorism from other crimes. Conduct falls within the definition of a terrorist act where it would:

  • cause serious physical harm or death to a person
  • cause serious damage to property
  • endanger another person’s life
  • create a serious health or safety risk to the public
  • seriously interfere with, disrupt or destroy electronic systems (including but not limited to telecommunications and financial systems).

An exemption is included for action that is advocacy, protest or industrial action and is intended only to cause serious property damage.