New terror laws could have fatal flaws, says Labor

Australia's top spy agency will brief Labor's Home Affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally on the urgency of new terror laws today, even as she doubles down in urging the government not to rush into failure.

The briefing by ASIO comes as the government ramps up pressure on Labor to back the contentious legislation in Parliament this week, which would ban Aussie foreign fighters from returning to the country for two years.

It follows other agency heads briefing senior Labor MP's on the laws over the past fortnight, including Senator Keneally and Opposition attorney-general spokesman Mark Dreyfus.

Labor's shadow cabinet will meet tonight to decide if it can back contentious counter-terror laws.

 

Dozens of foreign fighters slip back into Australia

ASIO says 70 Aussie kids of foreign fighters still in Syria conflict zone

Opposition Home Affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally says temporary exclusion orders need more work or risk High Court challenges. Picture: AAP Image/Sam Mooy
Opposition Home Affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally says temporary exclusion orders need more work or risk High Court challenges. Picture: AAP Image/Sam Mooy

There are about 80 men and women with Australian citizenship who have fought with or supported Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, who security agencies fear are returning with new skills which could be used to harm Australians.

The Opposition has stated it supports the intent of the laws, which ban foreign fighters return for two years so their arrival and arrest can be safely managed, but remains concerned over the details.

Its concerns include Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton having the authority to issue the orders, with judicial oversight, rather that having the orders issued by a judge.

Senator Keneally said claims from Mr Dutton that Labor was divided on the issue were "nonsense".

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says Labor is divided over counter-terror “temporary exclusion order” laws. Picture; AP Photo/Rod McGuirk
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says Labor is divided over counter-terror “temporary exclusion order” laws. Picture; AP Photo/Rod McGuirk

"Labor wants to ensure Australia has a TEO scheme that works, is constitutional, keeps Australians safe and that withstands High Court challenges," she said.

Senior Coalition Minister Karen Andrew said 40 foreign fighters had already returned to Australia, making the temporary exclusion order vital.

"Minister Dutton is well across this issue, managing it very well, and he's pushing very, very hard to make sure that we are doing everything to protect Australian citizens," she said.

She said they ensured rights and obligations for people seeking to return to Australia, while allowing the Minister the opportunity to assess "how, if and when they should return to this country".



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