Our Plan

Issue 09

Fighting Terror and Crime

It is the Australian Government’s most important responsibility to do everything possible to keep Australians safe and to maintain our way of life, our values and our freedom.

Australians can be, and must be, reassured that our law-enforcement agencies, our intelligence services and our Defence Force are among the very best in the world.

DISRUPTING TERROR PLOTS

Australia’s terror threat level has been Probable from September 2014. Since then, Australia’s law enforcement agencies have disrupted 14 major terrorist attack plots.

These include: a plot to attack an A380 aircraft departing Sydney; a plot to cause mass casualties by exploding devices near Melbourne’s Federation Square; a plot to detonate bombs at a Mother’s Day running event; and a plot to stab and shoot police and members of the public at ANZAC Day ceremonies.

A total of 90 people have been charged as a result of 40 counter-terrorism operations in Australia since September 2014(as at November 2018).

BOOSTING OUR SECURITY AGENCIES

To keep our country safe and secure, the Government has increased funding of our law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies by $2.2 billion since August 2014.

Last year, the Government provided the AFP with an additional $321.4 million in increased funding (over four years). This is the largest funding boost in a decade.

This will fund 100 more intelligence experts, over 100 more tactical response and covert surveillance operators, and almost 100 forensic specialists to help fight against crime and terrorism.

This will help fast-track investigations and lock up criminals sooner, targeting areas of priority including terrorism, criminal gangs, drugs, organised crime, cybercrime, fraud and anti-corruption.

AVIATION SECURITY

In July 2017, Australia narrowly avoided a sophisticated terrorist attack. A group of men, inspired by Islamic extremism, plotted to smuggle an improvised explosive device onto an A380 flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, carrying 400 passengers and crew.

This disrupted attack demonstrated a level of sophistication not seen before in Australia.

The Australian Government is making aviation safer, by investing $294 million to strengthen security at airports and mail and air cargo facilities. Measures include:

  • Sophisticated new screening technology at Australian airports.
  • Funding for 64 regional airports to assist with upgraded screening equipment.
  • 190 more officers to boost the AFP’s Counter Terrorist First Response presence at airports.
  • Upgrading inbound air cargo and international mail screening technology.
  • Strengthening outbound air cargo screening (piece level screening).
  • Improving the training and accreditation of screening staff at airports.

The Government has also introduced new laws to give police powers to: conduct identity checks at airports in specified circumstances; and order a person to ‘move on’ from airport premises where they pose a criminal or security threat.

TOUGHER ANTI-TERROR LAWS

The Government has passed 12 tranches of national security legislation to strengthen the ability of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to investigate, monitor, arrest and prosecute home-grown extremists and returning foreign fighters.

For example, the Government has strengthened our control order regime, allowing us to monitor and limit where terrorist suspects can go and with whom they can associate.

The Government has given our law enforcement agencies the ability to arrest terrorism suspects on lower thresholds. Several recent arrests to prevent terrorist attacks would not have been possible without this.

FIGHTING TERRORISTS ABROAD

We have given our ADF the power to target terrorists with lethal force (in accordance with international law).

Around 680 ADF personnel have been involved in the fight against Islamic State. Islamic State has now lost more than 90% of the territory it held in Iraq.

We’ve increased our commitment (to around 300 personnel) to the NATO-led Resolute Support in Afghanistan so it does not again become a safe haven for terrorists.

To combat terrorism in our region, ADF training teams are building the capacity of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to combat Islamic State-aligned terrorists.

We are also expanding the ADF’s role in training select state and territory police units to respond to domestic terrorist incidents.

CANCELLING CITIZENSHIP FOR TERRORIST CONDUCT (DUAL NATIONALS)

This Government believes dual nationals who support terrorist activities forfeit their right to be an Australian.

This Government is keeping Australians safe from dual nationals that support terrorist activities, including foreign fighters who seek to return to Australia.

In 2015, the Government passed legislation to revoke citizenship of any dual-national who engages in terrorism. (This includes anyone who: engages in a terrorist act or other specified terrorism-related conduct; engages in hostile activity with a terrorist organisation overseas; or is convicted of a terrorist act or other terrorism-related offence.)

In accordance with Australia's international law obligations, no-one can lose citizenship under this legislation unless they are a national of another country.

COUNTER RADICALISATION

The Government has also invested more than $45 million over four years in programs to counter radicalisation and remove online terrorist propaganda.

CANCELLING VISAS OF CRIMINALS

The Liberal and Nationals Government amended the Migration Act to increase the Minister’s power to cancel visas for non-citizens convicted of a crime with a sentence of 12 months or more – or who have been convicted of a sexual offence against a child.

This has resulted in a 12-fold increase in visa cancellations.

Since December 2014, the Government has cancelled the visas of 4,150 dangerous criminals.

Last year alone, over 800 criminals had their visas cancelled, including: 13 for murder; 7 for manslaughter; 34 rapists and sex offenders; 53 for domestic violence; 56 for armed robbery; 100 child sex offenders; and 125 for assault.

We have cancelled more visas in the last year than Labor cancelled in six years in Government.

We have introduced further legislation to strengthen the Minister’s power to cancel visas.

If this legislation is passed, the Minister will be able to cancel visas of people convicted of a crime punishable by a maximum sentence of two or more years in prison, which involves violence, sexual assault, domestic abuse and the use or possession of weapons.

This will capture people convicted of crimes that strike at the heart of the Australian community, regardless of whether they have been given a jail sentence.

CRACKING DOWN ON PAEDOPHILES

To crack down on child sex predators, the Liberal and Nationals Government has passed Carly’s Law.

This makes it a crime for an adult to use a carriage service to commit an act in preparation, or planning to cause harm to, or engage in or procure sexual activity with a minor. (It includes those who misrepresent their ages.)

This law has already led to charges, including the high profile case involving a reporter from A Current Affair.

In a world first, the Government has banned registered sex offenders from travelling overseas or holding an Australian passport.

The Government provided $68.6 million in the 2018-19 Budget to establish the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation to combat a global epidemic of child abuse.

This combines the resources of the various agencies, federal departments, state agencies and non-government organisations with expertise in dealing with child exploitation, its victims and its consequences.

The Government has also introduced to Parliament new laws that represent the biggest crackdown on paedophiles in a generation.

Under these new laws, child sex offenders will spend longer in jail, be less likely to be granted bail and parole, face mandatory minimum sentences and be closely supervised following their release.

These reforms target all aspects of the child sex offender cycle by strengthening measures at the time of charging, bail, sentencing and upon release.

STOPPING THE BOATS

Under Labor, over 50,000 illegal maritime arrivals arrived on over 800 boats. There were 1,200 deaths at sea.

Labor was forced to open 17 detention centres. Under Labor, there were 8,000 children in detention. Their border protection failures caused a budget blowout of over $16 billion.

The Liberal and Nationals Government stopped the boats and has taken back control of our borders.

There have been no deaths at sea. The Government has closed 19 detention centres and removed all children from detention.

We have restored integrity to our immigration system. Having done so, we are in a position to increase Australia’s generous humanitarian program – rising from 13,750 refugees in 2013-14 to 18,750 by 2018-19.

We have also provided a generous humanitarian response to the Syrian crisis, through the additional intake of 12,000 Syrian refugees.

TACKLING ILLEGAL DRUGS

The Government established Taskforce Blaze – which is the first ever joint agency taskforce of its kind in the world. Australia remains the only country to have such crime-fighting cooperation with China in fighting the scourge of drug importation and trafficking.

Since its inception in November 2015, the Taskforce has proven to be one of the single most effective ways of stopping illicit drugs, including Ice, from hitting Australian streets – with more than 19.8 tons of drugs seized.

NATIONAL ANTI-GANGS SQUADS

The Government has set up National Anti-Gangs Squads across the country to combat organised crime, thugs and bikie gangs, resulting in:

  • The arrest of more than 1,100 offenders.
  • The laying of more than 3,700 charges.
  • The seizure of more than 5,800 illegal guns, $9.5 million in cash and more than 2,500kgs of drugs and precursors.

STOPPING THE TRAFFICKING OF ILLEGAL FIREARMS

The Government has introduced legislation which doubles the maximum penalty and provides mandatory minimum five year sentences for the trafficking of illegal firearms.

Unfortunately, the Labor Party is opposing this legislation.

USING PROCEEDS OF CRIME TO FIGHT CRIME

The Government has passed legislation to establish a national unexplained wealth scheme to get criminals where it hurts them most: their hip pockets.

A national cooperative scheme targeting illegitimate wealth will give our law enforcement agencies greater powers to seize criminal assets.

These confiscated proceeds of crime are used for crime prevention and law enforcement measures, as well as drug addiction treatment and diversionary measures.

By contrast, Labor previously used money in the Confiscated Assets Account to boost its Budget bottom line. Their policy is to do the same if they get back into office.

HELPING LOCAL COMMUNITIES FIGHT CRIME

The Government has delivered over $130 million in crime prevention projects, to assist local Councils and communities in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

This includes $30 million in funding in this year’s Budget for CCTV, lighting and other safety measures through our Safer Communities Fund.

TACKLING THE SCOURGE OF ICE

The Government is tackling the supply of Ice through increased international cooperation, enhanced intelligence sharing, better controls of precursor chemicals and greater law enforcement efforts to prevent Ice reaching our shores.

The Australian Federal Police has seized more than 14 tons of methamphetamine in domestic operations since 2013.

Information current as at January 2019