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Urging violence and advocating terrorism offences

Urging violence

In a national security context, someone commits an urging violence offence if they intentionally urge another person or group to use force or violence:

  • to overthrow the Constitution, government or lawful authority
  • against a group, or members of a group, that is distinguished by race, religion, nationality, national or ethnic origin or political opinion.

A defence against an urging violence offence is where a particular action is done in good faith.

It is illegal to urge violence intentionally under Division 80 of the Criminal Code Act 1995. This department administers this Act.

Advocating terrorism

It is an offence to counsel, promote, encourage or urge the doing of a terrorist act or the commission of a terrorism offence where the person intentionally engages in the conduct reckless as to whether another person will engage in a terrorist act or commit a terrorism offence.

If found guilty of advocating terrorism, a person could face up to five years imprisonment.

For the purposes of this offence, a 'terrorism offence' is limited to a 'terrorism offence' as defined in subsection 3(1) of the Crimes Act that is punishable by a least five years imprisonment and is not an ancillary offence in Part 2.4 of the Criminal Code.

Subsection 3(1) of the Crimes Act defines a terrorism offence as an offence against:

  • Subdivision A of Division 72 of the Criminal Code (offences relating to explosives and lethal devices)
  • Subdivision B of Division 80 of the Criminal Code (treason offences)
  • Part 5.3 of the Criminal Code (terrorism)
  • Part 5.5 of the Criminal Code (foreign incursions and recruitment offences), or
  • either of the following provisions of the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945:
    • Part 4 of that Act (offences relating to UN Security Council decisions that relate to terrorism and dealings with assets), or
    • Part 5 of that Act, to the extent that it relates to the Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions—Al Qaida) Regulations 2008.

There is a defence to this offence for acts done in good faith. This defence protects the implied freedom of political communication, and specifically excludes from the offence, among other things, publishing a report or commentary about a matter of public interest in good faith.