Australia has proposed a new counter-terrorism bill that would allow the indefinite detention of people convicted of terror-related offenses.
Australian Attorney-General George Brandis tabled the bill, known as “High Risk Terrorist Offenders,” on Thursday, saying in a statement that the new measure is intended “to ensure our laws are as strong and up-to-date as possible, to enable police and intelligence agencies to fight terrorism, and to keep our community safe.”
The attorney-general said the bill would enable the Supreme Court “to make an order for the ongoing detention of high-risk terrorist offenders who are approaching the end of their custodial sentences and are about to be released into the community.”
Brandis (pictured below) said the proposal aims to tighten the oversight of potential threats by lowering the age when a person suspected of terrorism can be subjected to telecommunications interceptions and get a control order to 14.
Over the past two years, Canberra has been on high alert for attacks by home-grown terrorists and has charged dozens of people with terrorism-related offenses, including some accused of planning mass attacks on the public.
In December 2014, a gunman believed to sympathize with Daesh took 18 people hostage in a 16-hour siege at a Sydney cafe. Two hostages died during the standoff, and the gunman was himself shot dead by police.
According to government officials, six attacks have been foiled over the past year in Australia.
Earlier this month, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warned of a “real” threat of terrorist attacks in the country, adding that since September 2014, some 44 suspected terrorists have been charged in Australia.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has also said that 110 Australians had joined the ranks of Daesh and other militant groups in the Middle East.
A large number of Europeans and Westerners have gone to Syria to fight against the Damascus government.
The Australian government has ratified a law criminalizing travel to Daesh strongholds, including those in Syria and Iraq. Individuals charged with the crime could face up to 10 years in prison.