The New Foreign Fighters Bill Has Been Tabled In Parliament

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Travelling to a listed terrorist location could land you with a jail term under proposed laws introduced to the senate today.

The second tranche of the counter-terrorism legislation, the Foreign Fighters bill, was introduced to parliament with the additional no torture clause.

There won’t be any debate on the amendments today, rather it has been referred to an intelligence committee which will report back on October 17, effectively allowing parliamentary debate to start on October 27.

The bill maps out offences for “advocating terrorism” as well as travelling to a “declared zone”. Under the changes both carry a prison term.

Senator George Brandis is running point on the legislation which also gives extra power to law enforcement agencies, including the domestic spy agency ASIO. The 164-page draft bill includes extra powers to investigate and prosecute people who advocate for foreign terrorism initiatives.

To tighten existing laws, Brandis said the new bill will:

  • Create new offences for “advocating terrorism” and for entering or remaining in a “declared zone”;
  • Broaden the criteria and streamline the process for the listing of terrorist organisations;
  • Extend instances in which a control order may be sought;
  • Extend the sunsetting provisions of the preventative detention order and control order regimes; and include a sunset clause for the “declared zone” offence;
  • Provide certain law enforcement agencies with additional tools needed to investigate, arrest and prosecute those supporting foreign conflicts;
  • Limit the means of travel for foreign fighting or support for foreign fighters; and
  • Strengthen protections at Australia’s borders.

Australia’s intelligence agencies estimate there are around 60 Australians involved in conflicts in Syria and Iraq, with around 100 supporting the cause at home in Australia.

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