The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has recommended the Parliament pass with amendments a new Extended Supervision Order (ESO) scheme and interim supervision orders to better protect Australians from high-risk terrorist offenders (HRTO) who are due to be released into community after serving their custodial sentence.
In its Advisory report on the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (High Risk Terrorist Offenders) Bill 2020 tabled on Thursday, the PJCIS made 11 recommendations in relation to the Bill, including recommendations to improve clarity and guidance on the operation of the scheme.
The new ESO scheme would address the current interoperability between control orders and continuing detention orders by enabling a State or Territory Supreme Court to impose any conditions that are reasonably necessary, and reasonably appropriate and adapted, to protect the community from the risk of a serious terrorism offence.
The Bill has been introduced to broaden the tools available to address the risk posed by convicted terrorist offenders and strengthen Australia’s counter-terrorism framework.
There are currently a number of convicted terrorists due to be released into the Australian community between now and the expiry of their custodial sentences in 2025.
Chair of the Committee, Senator James Paterson, said: “The Committee recognises that many high-risk terrorist offenders who are due to be released from prison may still pose an unacceptable risk to the community.
“The new Extended Supervision Order scheme and interim supervision orders will give law enforcement the tools to manage and monitor the ongoing threat that a terrorist offender may pose to the community following their release from jail,” Senator Paterson said.
Australia’s Terrorism Threat Level was raised to ‘Probable’ in September 2014. Social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic and increased access to online material has increased the reach of extremist propaganda.
“An ESO scheme will enable law enforcement to tailor orders proportionate to the threat of each offender and should be swiftly passed by the parliament,” Senator Paterson said.