Countering Violent Extremism To Keep Victorians Safe

The Andrews Labor Government will strengthen preventative detention laws as part of a suite of measures to counter violent extremism and keep Victorians safe.

The Government today released the second report into Victoria’s counter-terrorism laws, following a review led by former Chief Commissioner of Police Ken Lay and former Supreme Court of Appeal Justice, the Honourable David Harper.

The second report made 26 recommendations relating to countering violent extremism, disengagement programs, the legislative definition of a ‘terrorist act’, support and engagement orders, preventative detention orders for minors, and post-sentence supervision of high risk terrorist offenders.

The Government has accepted in-principle all 26 recommendations of the second report.

To tackle violent extremism the Government will provide an immediate injection of $9.4 million to expand Community Support Group pilots, boost community resilience grants, and establish a think-tank on social cohesion and the prevention of violent extremism in Victoria.

The sweeping reforms recommended by the Expert Panel include:

  • Extending the existing Preventative Detention Order Scheme to include persons aged 14 years or older (the scheme currently applies to persons 16 years and over). A person under the age of 18 would only be able to be held for 36 hours without a Supreme Court order – compared to four days for adults – with oversight from the Commissioner for Children and Young People
  • That Victoria refer to a national body consideration of amending the national definition of ‘terrorist act’ to remove motive as an essential element
  • Creating a Support and Engagement Order to enable the Chief Commissioner of Police to apply for a Court order requiring a person displaying behaviours indicative of radicalisation and violence to participate in disengagement programs.

The Government will also work with the Commonwealth to introduce a new ‘possession of terrorism related material’ offence, and seek national agreement for a post-sentence supervision scheme for high risk terrorist offenders.

A Bill will be introduced in early 2018 to progress critical legislative reforms from Report 1 and Report 2.

The Government also launched the Counter Terrorism Statement 2017, which details the comprehensive actions the Government is taking to keep Victorians safe.

The statement and the Panel’s reports are available at www.vic.gov.au/safeguarding-victorians-against-terrorism.html. Parts of the Panel’s reports are redacted for security reasons.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

“These new measures give our law enforcement agencies the powers they need to help keep Victorians safe from terror and violent extremists.”

 Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula

“We’re significantly overhauling our counter terrorism laws to better protect the Victorian community.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Police Lisa Neville

“These new measures will help police intervene early and stop people exhibiting violent or extremist behaviour from committing these terrible acts.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott

“This is about working with our community and putting in place the programs we need to engage people and give them the support they need to get back on track.”