Australian Senate passes anti-terror laws

[JURIST] The Australian Senate [official website] on Tuesday voted to approve new counter-terrorism laws that broaden the offense of sedition and allow for the detention of suspected terrorists for up to seven days. The legislation passed the lower house [JURIST report] last week after vigorous debate. The government blocked opposition attempts to amend the bill [JURIST report], allowing less than four hours to discuss over 100 proposed amendments to the bill and prompting opposition to call the move bad for democracy [AAP report]. The government did back down a bit over sedition provisions, including providing for extra protection for news reports or commentaries [Telegraph report] and Attorney General Philip Ruddock said that the sedition law will be reviewed next year. The sedition portion of the bill has come under fire in recent weeks, with opposition likening the laws to practices used in North Korea, Cuba and Syria [JURIST report], and Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser [official profile] contended [JURIST report] that the laws were reversing "centuries of advances" in human rights and protection of individual liberties. Reuters has more.



 

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