Parliament will debate laws designed to give authorities greater powers to deal with terrorist threats next week, the federal justice minister says.
Bills giving authorities greater powers to deal with terrorism will be introduced into federal parliament next week, Justice Minister Michael Keenan says.
The proposed laws follow police anti-terrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane on Thursday.
While providing only vague details, Mr Keenan said the mooted laws would “modernise” existing legislation.
He shied away from saying whether the proposed laws would allow police greater powers to detain suspects on terror charges.
“The threat of the random act of violence that was acted upon on Thursday’s raids is obviously quite different to the sorts of traditional terrorist activity that we might have been targeting,” he told the ABC on Saturday morning.
“We need to make sure that we’ve got a regime in Australia that’s modern and flexible.”
News Corp Australia reported that under the proposed counter-terrorism laws, radical preachers who encourage others to engage in extremist acts could be jailed for up to five years.
The new powers would include Foreign Minister Julie Bishop being able to declare regions or cities in countries where terror groups are active as proscribed places.
Police would also be given the power to conduct what amounts to covert search warrants on terror suspects’ properties, enabling them to delay notification of a search warrant for up to six months, News Corp reports.
A new offence would also make it illegal for anyone to advocate a terrorist act, even if the act never occurs.
Meanwhile, three of the 15 people arrested in Sydney and Brisbane following Thursday’s anti-terror blitz were held under preventative detention orders, which allow police to detain suspects for up to two weeks without charge, reports say.
They were released on Friday afternoon.
Omarjan Azari, 22, remains in custody after Australia’s biggest anti-terror operation, while a man charged with firearms offences was granted bail.
Twenty-five homes were searched on Thursday morning, before two more in Merrylands and Menangle in Sydney’s west were raided that night, but no arrests were made.
Labor MP Anthony Byrne, the deputy chairman of the intelligence and security committee, which oversees ASIO but not the AFP, said there should be increased management of the AFP if it’s given extra anti-terror powers.
“If we’re going to give the AFP additional powers then that should be matched by (fixing) an anomaly that should have been fixed some time ago, which is the committee to have the capacity to oversight the AFP and its counter terrorism operations,” Mr Byrne told Sky News.
Further information is being sought from Mr Keenan and the Australian Federal Police.