Terrorists to be stripped of citizenship under proposed laws
Any Australian convicted of a terrorism offence will be stripped of their citizenship under proposed changes to terror laws to be introduced to Parliament by the Coalition.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he hopes the proposed legislation will be passed through the Parliament within the coming fortnight.
“We will always as a government do everything within our power to keep Australians safe and we will never rest at looking at the things that we can do to make Australians more safe than they are now,” he said.
“We will seek to introduce legislation before the end of 2018 to enable the Minister to strip an Australian citizen of their citizenship for anyone who is convicted of a terrorism offence in Australia.
“There will be no condition on the length of sentence, they would only need to be convicted of a terrorist offence.”
Under laws introduced in 2015, the current requirement for someone convicted of a terror offence to have their citizenship stripped is that they need to be sentenced to at least six years in prison.
Mr Morrison said, under the proposed changes, that requirement will no longer exist.
“Being an Australian citizen is a privilege. It’s a privilege that carries with it expectations on those who hold it,” he said.
“People who commit acts of terrorism have rejected absolutely everything that this country stands for.
“They’ve rejected the beliefs of this country, the values of this country, they’ve disrespected every other citizen who shares that privilege of citizenship with them.
“We believe the current wording of the law is unrealistic and it needs to reflect what is the genuine threat that has been posed by those who have been engaged in this activity.”
The Prime Minister also said a third proposed change will focus on the dealing of Australian dual citizens who have travelled to overseas conflict zones.
“We’re determined to deal with those individuals who’ve done this as far away from our shores as possible,” he said.
“We’ll be introducing a scheme - based on a scheme that exists in the United Kingdom - for temporary exclusion orders.
“Those orders will enable the Minister to impose a condition on the control, return and re-entry into our community of Australians who have been in conflict zones like Syria.
“It will enable the Minister for Home Affairs to impose an order for up to two years on Australian citizens of counter-terrorism interests who are located off-shore. It would be a criminal offence for them to return to Australia unless a permit of this nature is provided.”
After returning to Australia following the term of the exclusion order, the person would then also need to abide by safety mitigation requirements such as reporting to police, curfews and technology use reductions.
“These actions we’re taking are designed to ensure that we have the powers that are necessary in the toolkit to ensure that Australian are kept safe, but also its to protect the integrity of Australian citizenship,” Mr Morrison said.
“Terrorists have violated everything about what being an Australian is all about – it’s a crime against our country, not just other citizens and this is something that can’t be tolerated.”