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Australia: New national security laws could have "chilling" effect

Graphic: Australian Human Rights Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs

New national security laws could significantly lower legal standards says Australian Human Rights Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs.


Australia's Human Rights Commission has warned that new national security laws could significantly lower legal standards, SBS News reported.

Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs told a federal parliamentary inquiry that the laws could be extremely dangerous if they are not reviewed.

The proposed new laws would create harsh penalties for Australians who fight overseas. They would also give enforcement agencies extra powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute people who support foreign conflicts.

Professor Triggs said lowering the threshold for arrest on the basis of suspicion – rather than intention – to commit a terrorist act could have a "chilling effect".

The proposed laws would also make it an offence to travel or stay in a declared zone where terrorists are active, without having a good reason to do so.

Professor Triggs called for the list of exemptions to be expanded or improved by including a general clause allowing for innocent activity in those zones.

She said people should be able to travel to such places for legitimate reasons such as studying, to learn languages or to visit relatives.

Professor Triggs also raised concerns about some new powers being in place for ten years.

Date: 6 October 2014

Source: SBS News


Image credits

  1. Australian Human Rights Commission President Professor Gillian Triggs - Australian Human Rights Commission