Terrorism Threats: ASIO Director-General David Irvine Addresses National Press Club

The Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, David Irvine, has addressed the National Press Club on the threats posed by espionage and terrorism.

Irvine

Irvine maintained that the threats to Australia are real, but manageable with vigilance and updated intelligence capabilities. He defended the need for a security service, “governed by law with appropriate safeguards”, and argued against any revamping of the existing regime of checks and balances on ASIO.

He said 15 Australians are believed to have died fighting in the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. Around 100 people are believed to be involved in supporting terrorist activity in Australia.

Irvine stressed “that the tiny number of violent extremists, who nevertheless can make a rather big bang, does not represent the Islamic communities of Australia… We’re talking about a few hundred aberrant souls in the community of half a million Muslims and it is grossly unfair to blame Australian Muslims who see themselves as a committed component of Australia’s multicultural society.” [Read more...]


Shorten Says Brandis Has Been Humiliated By Cabinet Over 18C Repeal

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, says the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis has been humiliated by the Abbott government’s backdown on the repeal of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Shorten

The backdown was announced this afternoon, together with a batch of new anti-terrorism measures.

In a television interview just last night, Brandis defended the proposed repeal of Section 18C.

Shorten spoke at a press conference with the ALP’s shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus.

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Abbott Kills 18C Repeal; New Counter-Terrorism Measures To Cost $630m Over Four Years

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has abandoned government plans to repeal Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Abbott-Brandis-Bishop

Section 18c makes it an offence to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a person or group on the basis of their race, colour, or national or ethnic origin.

The proposed repeal of 18C has been the subject of intense debate since the government’s election last year. The legislation is “off the table”, Abbott told a press conference in Canberra. He said he did not want to jeopardise “national unity” and it was “a complication we just don’t need and we’re just not going to proceed with it”.

Flanked by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Attorney-General Senator George Brandis, Abbott also announced a series of counter-terrorism measures that will cost $630 million over the next four years. [Read more...]


Gillard Releases National Security Strategy

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has released the government’s National Security Strategy.

In a speech at the Australian National University, Gillard said the strategy “highlights the dramatic economic and strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region and provides a blueprint for national security over the next decade”.

Gillard

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  • Download: Strong and Secure: A Strategy for Australia’s National Security (PDF)

Gillard said, “we are transitioning from one decade, the decade of 9/11, to a post 9/11 era where some risks and challenges endure and others are evolving rapidly.”

The National Security document says the key national security risks faced by Australia are:

  • Espionage and foreign interference
  • Instability in developing and fragile states
  • Malicious cyber activity
  • Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
  • Serious and organised crime
  • State-based conflict or coercion significantly affecting Australia’s industries
  • Terrorism and violent extremism

Media release from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

A Strategy for Australia’s National Security

Australia’s first National Security Strategy highlights the dramatic economic and strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region and provides a blueprint for national security over the next decade.

Complementing the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, the National Security Strategy will ensure Australia takes advantage of the opportunities of the Asian Century whilst focussing national security efforts on the risks and challenges that come with change in the region. [Read more...]


DPP Drops Confiscation Proceedings Against David Hicks

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) has abandoned proceedings against David Hicks which sought to confiscate his earnings from the sale of his book, Guantanamo: My Journey.

The CDPP cast doubt on the admissions made by Hicks before the United States Military Commission and his use of an “Alford plea” that isn’t recognised in Australia.

The CDPP said: “This Office was not in a position to discharge the onus placed upon it to satisfy the Court that the admissions should be relied upon and decided that these proceedings should not continue.”

Media release from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Statement in the Matter of David Hicks

On 19 July 2011, following an investigation and referral by the Australian Federal Police the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions commenced proceedings against Mr David Hicks, pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth).

The proceedings were commenced by way of Summons in the Supreme Court of NSW. The Summons sought orders relating to publication of the book Guantanamo: My Journey, including a restraining order, pursuant to section 20 of the Proceeds of Crime Act, and a literary proceeds order, pursuant to section 152.

On 23 July 2012, the Director made a decision to discontinue the proceedings. The matter was discontinued in Court on 24 July 2012. [Read more...]