Review strengthens human rights in ACT terrorism law


To keep the community safe, while protecting human rights, the ACT Government has proposed improvements to special terrorism laws.

Today in the Legislative Assembly, Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury will introduce amendments to the Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Act 2006, which strengthen human rights protections and extend the laws for a further five years.

“After consulting with a range of stakeholders, the ACT Government has decided to extend these laws for a further five years, while also enhancing a range of safeguard under the Act,” Attorney-General Rattenbury said.

“The ACT Government is proposing amendments to strengthen human rights protections for individuals who are detained under the preventative detention orders allowed under these counter terrorism laws.”

Introduced in 2006, the Act gives law enforcement agencies additional powers where there is evidence that a terrorist act is imminent, or where an act has occurred. For example, it allows ACT Policing to apply to the ACT Supreme Court for a preventative detention order which may see an individual detained for up to 14 days without charge.

Amendments to strengthen human rights protections include:

  • safeguards to better assure the health and wellbeing of detainees;
  • additional safeguards and protections for detainees who have impaired decision-making ability; and
  • additional safeguards for detainees who are not citizens or permanent residents of Australia.

The amendments also propose a fourth statutory review of the operation and effectiveness of the special counter terrorism laws, before they are due to expire in five years’ time.