Australia’s Counter-Terrorism Policies Since September 11, 2001: Harmonising National Security, Independent Oversight and Individual Liberties

Dr. Ashutosh Mishra was Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Email
  • Whatsapp
  • Linkedin
  • Print
  • March 2018

    Australia has remained insulated from mega terrorist attacks, but post-September 11 its involvement in the war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has brought terrorism into its backyard. In the wake of these emerging threats, particularly home-grown terrorism (HGT), successive governments have introduced changes in the counter-terrorism (CT) laws, and expanded the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Commonwealth-Cth) at the recommendations of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). Former prime minister Tony Abbott and his successor Malcolm Turnbull have introduced a series of significant policy measures to curb terrorism in and from Australia. These measures have also stirred up a debate among experts and civil society members, who consider them as being detrimental to civil liberties. The article undertakes a critical review of the evolution of CT laws and measures in Australia since September 11, to understand the criticism of the legislative changes, and to what extent has Australia succeeded in harmonising national security and individual liberties with an effective oversight mechanism.