The terrorism crackdown won’t target Islamic preachers, rather criminals who incite others to violence, the government says.
Islamic preachers will not be specifically targeted by tough laws to stop those who incite terrorism, the government says.
The terror crackdown is not about any particular community, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared.
“It’s not about religion, it’s not about what people wear – it’s about dealing with criminals,” Abbott said.
Parliament will debate legislation to expand Australian spy agency ASIO’s powers on Monday, while a foreign fighters bill will also be introduced to criminalise terrorism advocacy.
People who intentionally counsel, promote, encourage or commission acts of terrorism could face up to five years in jail under the proposed laws.
However, Attorney General George Brandis denied the focus was on Islamic preachers.
“It’s not directed at any section of the community,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
“The people who are the focus of the provision are people who engage in the activity. It doesn’t matter who they are. You cannot urge other citizens to engage in terrorism, or at least you wont be able to after this law passes.”
The draft laws will also clamp down on people suspected of travelling to overseas conflict zones, with the foreign minister having the power to declare areas a “no-go zone”.
The opposition has given in-principle support to the terror laws, but will reserve its decision until seeing the final bill later in the week.
“We want to see the detail of these laws,” Labor frontbencher Mark Butler told reporters in Melbourne.
“We’ll work through those details very carefully. Talk to the government in a spirit of goodwill and see where we land.”
Mr Abbott will on Monday make a national security statement to parliament, in the wake of last week’s anti-terrorism raids and the deployment of forces to the Middle East.
“This statement will update the parliament on developments at home and abroad, and on how Australia is responding to the threat of terrorism,” he said on Sunday.
“We are doing everything we humanly can to keep you safe”.
Meanwhile, in comments likely to inflame current tensions with the Islamic community in Australia, Palmer United Party senator Jacqui Lambie told those who adhere to sharia law to get out of the country.
Linking sharia to terrorism, she suggested even moderate Muslims abandon their faith because of the moral, legal and religious code.
“I want to see their full allegiance – not 50 per cent to the Australian constitution and Australian law,” Senator Lambie told ABC Television.
“It is one law for all – that is the Australian law, full stop.”