Move to keep terrorists in the can
A WAVE of dangerous convicted terrorists due for release from Australian jails within the next 18 months could be kept in jail indefinitely as the Federal Government bolsters anti-terror laws today.
The Government will urge Parliament to close a loophole that allows some terrorists to walk free after serving their sentence, while others face continuing detention orders - where courts rule they stay in prison even after time served.
The new Bill targets prisoners who still harbour terrorist ideology and are a danger to the public.
The laws will also make it harder for terrorist sympathisers to get bail.
Eleven prisoners convicted for terrorism-related offences are due for release within months, including the six "tinnie terrorists", ISIS supporters who planned to sail from north Queensland to the Philippines to overthrow the Government.
Others likely to be due for release within the next 18 months include Faheem Khalid Lodhi, who was sentenced to 20 years' jail in NSW in 2006 for preparing for a terrorist act, and Belal Khazaal, who was sentenced to 12 years' jail in 2008 for inciting terrorism by producing a book on how to wage a jihad.
Under current laws, the Home Affairs minister can apply for a continuing detention order in a state Supreme Court. If it is ordered, it is reviewed every year.
However that cannot happen if their sentence for a terrorism offence is served, but they continue to serve time for other offences, such as fraud or attempted murder.
The Government has refused to reveal how many of the 11 due for release would benefit under the current loophole and has not revealed if the new laws would apply to the so-called tinnie terrorists, Lodhi or Khazaal.
Attorney-General Christian Porter will today argue it should not matter if a terrorist's final day is for a terrorist offence or another offence.
"These strong measures will ensure that public safety is paramount when applications for bail and parole are being considered, putting the interests of the community ahead of the interests of those who would seek to do us harm," Mr Porter said.
"Prison is where those individuals belong, and this Bill will ensure that is where they will stay."
There have been seven terrorist attacks in Australia since the national terrorism threat level was raised to "probable" in September 2014.
Another 16 terrorist attacks have been disrupted by police and security agencies.