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Australia to Strengthen Anti-terror Laws

  • Phil Mercer

FILE - A bouquet is pictured under police tape near the cordoned-off scene of a hostage taking at Martin Place after it ended early Dec. 16, 2014.

FILE - A bouquet is pictured under police tape near the cordoned-off scene of a hostage taking at Martin Place after it ended early Dec. 16, 2014.

New anti-terrorism laws will be introduced into the Australian parliament this week. They will allow authorities to continue to detain convicted terrorists after they have completed serving their prison sentences if they are considered to pose a significant risk to the community.

The new laws will allow Australia’s security agencies to monitor terrorism suspects as young as 14. So-called control orders that require individuals to submit to a curfew and limit their contacts with others will also be made stricter. High-risk convicted extremists could also be held indefinitely in detention at the end of their prison terms by an order of a court under the new measures.

Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the nation must boost its defenses against extremism.

“It is a very big challenge for us but that is why we have spent a lot of time over the past two years changing the environment in which our law enforcement and intelligence communities operate. We need to make sure that they operate in an environment that is up to this new challenge. The challenge has changed very significantly over two years. We'll be passing, we'll be introducing legislation into the parliament which is the latest iteration to update the legislation under which they operate,” said Keenan.

Last month, the president of Australia's Human Rights Commission Gilliam Triggs accused the Federal Parliament of seeking to pass anti-terror laws that were "disproportionate to any legitimate aim to protect national security."

Australian authorities have said they disrupted about 10 planned terrorism incidents since September 2014.

A 22-year-old man has been charged with a terrorist attack after a man walking his dog was repeatedly stabbed in a suburban park in Sydney Saturday. Investigators in the state of New South Wales have alleged the suspect was inspired by the Islamic State militant group. They have also said the man tried to stab a police officer.

Last month, a teenager who planned to behead an Australian police officer as part of an Anzac Day terrorist attack was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A propaganda magazine produced by Islamic State recently called for 'lone wolf' attacks in Sydney and Melbourne.

Australia’s national security threat level was raised from “high” to “probable” two years ago.

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