Law Council of Australia


Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Declared Areas) Bill 2024: Appearance before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security

21 May 2024

On 20 May 2024, Law Council representatives, Dr David Neal SC, Co-Chair of the National Criminal Law Committee, and Shounok Chatterjee, Senior Policy Lawyer, appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. That Committee is currently reviewing the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Declared Areas) Bill 2024.
The declared area regime makes it an offence for a person to enter or remain in an area prescribed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade without legitimate reasons (which are prescribed narrowly in the legislation).
At the hearing, the Law Council reiterated our primary recommendation that the declared area offence be allowed to sunset on 7 September 2024 and not be extended.
We argued that the declared areas offence is unjustifiably broad. Unlike existing foreign incursion related offences, the declared area offence criminalises a person’s mere presence in a declared area regardless of any intended conduct in the area. It also puts Australia out of step with like-minded international jurisdictions that do not have a comparable regime. In addition, the Minister’s power to make declarations is unfettered and risks criminalising a wide range of innocent conduct.
At the hearing, there was also some discussion of the Law Council’s alternative recommendations if the declared area offence is renewed. In this regard, we have recommended a number of amendments, including:



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