You are here: Skip breadcrumbAttorney-General's Department >> National security >> National security and counter-terrorism law

 National security and counter-terrorism law

Australia's national security and terrorism laws aims to prevent acts of terrorism and prosecute those involved in terrorism.

Effective laws are a critical component of Australia's response to threatened or actual terrorist acts.

National Security Information (Criminal and Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 (NSI Act)—This Act gives courts a structure to follow where national security information is disclosed, or is to be disclosed, in a legal proceeding.

Australia's counter-terrorism laws—Responsibility for Australia's counter terrorism laws are shared between our department and the Department of Home Affairs. For the majority of counter terrorism laws, the Department of Home Affairs has policy responsibility and our department has administrative responsibility.

Terrorist act offences—Discover what constitutes a terrorist act offence under Australian law.

Preventing the financing of terrorism—We administer the Criminal Code Act 1995 that makes it illegal to finance terrorism.

Reviews of Australia's counter-terrorism laws—These reviews ensure that people who carry out terrorism are brought to justice. They also contribute to the development of Australia's legal response to the threat of terrorism.

Preventative detention orders—The police can detain people only where there is a threat of an imminent terrorist attack and the order might help prevent it, or immediately after a terrorist act if it is likely vital evidence will be lost.

Control orders—These are protective measures that allow controls to be placed on the movements and activities of people who pose a terrorist risk to the community.

Urging violence and advocating terrorism offences—It is an offence to 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.

It is also 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.

Terrorist organisations—These are organisations that:

  • a court finds is directly or indirectly engaged in preparing, planning, assisting or fostering the doing of a terrorist act
  • the government has listed as a terrorist organisation by regulations.

International counter-terrorism measures—Australia has ratified and implemented, in our national law, 14 of the 16 international counter-terrorism instruments to help prevent terrorist acts, and bring to justice those who commit them.​​​​