The Foreign Fighters Bill Has Just Been Passed Giving Australian Security Agencies Controversial New Powers

ISIS militants (Photo: AP/Supplied)

The ‘Foreign Fighters’ counter-terrorism bill has been passed in the Senate, receiving bipartisan support from the Coalition and Labor.

The bill passed the upper house 43-12 in favour of the new laws.

The second tranche of counter-terrorism legislation was introduced to parliament late last month, with an additional no torture clause attached.

The bill includes major changes to Australia’s security laws, including new offences relating to overseas travel to known terrorist locations and enhanced powers for Australian law enforcement agencies, such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).

Here’s a breakdown of what the changes will encompass:

  • Providing law enforcement agencies with additional powers;
  • New offences for “advocating terrorism” and for travelling to a “declared zone”;
  • Broadening criteria and streamlining processes for terrorist organisations listings;
  • Extending instances in which a control order may be sought;
  • Extending sunset provisions of the preventative detention and control order regimes;
  • Limiting means of travel for foreign fighters or those supporting foreign fighters;
  • Strengthening protections at Australia’s borders.

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution last month aimed at stopping the flow of foreign fighters around the world.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said there are at least 60 Australians currently fighting with ISIS, al-Nusra and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq and around 100 people supporting the cause in Australia.