Law Council of Australia


Aim must be rehabilitation not lifelong lock-up

14 March 2024

Appearing before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security today, the Law Council of Australia has again expressed its opposition to Continuing Detention Orders (CDO).

“The Law Council’s primary position has consistently been that Continuing Detention Orders are neither a necessary nor proportionate response to the threat of terrorism and should not be renewed beyond their current sunset date of 7 December 2026,” Law Council of Australia President, Mr Greg McIntyre SC said.

“Our view was echoed by the Independent Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM) in a report released this time last year, which urged amending Division 105A of the Criminal Code to abolish CDOs together with other recommendations for reform to the post-sentence terrorism order regime.

“In essence, the CDO regime allows for the detention of individuals, beyond the initial sentence imposed by a court which they have served, based on a prediction they may commit a future terrorism offence.

“While we would like to see an end to the CDO regime, if the Committee does not agree with this recommendation, we still think improvements should be made to the scheme.

“This includes a limit on the total length of time a person may be subject to continuing detention under a CDO, and that a criminal standard of proof is required in relation to a finding that a person would present an unacceptable risk of committing a serious terrorism offence if released.”

The Law Council is also highly supportive of the former INSLM’s recommendation that the objects of Division 105A be amended to include, as an express object of the Division, rehabilitation and reintegration of subjects back into society.

“We also continue to call for the establishment of a dedicated Commonwealth legal assistance funding stream for all post-sentence orders,” Mr McIntyre said.

“Defendants must have, or be provided with, the capacity to respond to these applications in a manner consistent with their seriousness.”

Contact: Kristen Connell, P. 0400 054 227, E.


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