A law to ban travel to terror zones is being debated in the Senate
A law to ban travel to terror zones is being debated in the Senate

Terror zone travel ban law questioned in Senate

NEW proposed counter-terrorism legislation was described as "extraordinary" by an opponent to the Foreign Fighters bill as debate heated up in the Senate.

The legislation is being fast-tracked as the Abbott government pushes for more power to tackle terrorism.

The laws will ban travel to terror zones and make it easier to convict foreign fighters.

But during debate on Wednesday, Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm warned if more time was given to analyse the bill, there would be more objections to it.

Senator Leyonhjelm warned his fellow senators against voting for it based on heightened tension in the current security climate.

"To those who support the bill on the basis of the current security environment… I say this - the security environment will change, our government will change and our security agencies will change, but this law, if enacted will remain," he said.

But Palmer United Party leader in the Senate, Glenn Lazarus, said the bill was not strong enough.

He suggested the penalty for exposing the identity of ASIO officers be ramped up from a possible one year sentence to a possible 10-year sentence.

"I love this country, I love this way of life and I love our freedoms," Senator Lazarus said.

But Senator Leyonhjelm said it was not the duty of the public, but of security agencies, to keep secrets.

Thirty submissions were received about the proposed changes in the three window open for submissions.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance said the move to amend national security, including a specific ban on the use of torture and that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will only prosecute disclosures of ASIO special operations if it is in the public interest, were insufficient to allay wider concerns.

"Despite ASIO being banned from using torture under the legislation, ASIO will still be able to inflict mental and physical harm on individuals and get away with it because of the criminalising of disclosure," spokesperson Greg Barns said.

The bill received majority support and will be referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for review.


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