House debates

Monday, 7 December 2020


Intelligence and Security Joint Committee; Report

3:28 pm

Photo of Andrew HastieAndrew Hastie (Canning, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

() (): On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, I present the committee's report entitled A review of regulations listing Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin and re-listing Islamic State Khorasan Province as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).

by leave—I rise today to present a statement of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security for the review of regulations listing Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, which I will refer to as JNIM, and relisting Islamic State Khorasan Province as terrorist organisations under the Criminal Code Act 1995.Regulations that specify an organisation as a terrorist organisation cease to have effect on the third anniversary of the day on which they take effect. Organisations can be relisted, provided the minister is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the organisation continues to directly or indirectly engage in terrorism or advocate the doing of a terrorist act.

Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin has not previously been listed as a terrorist organisation by the Australian government. This new listing is due to a previously listed organisation, Al-Mourabitoun, merging into JNIM. Al-Mourabitoun and Islamic State Khorasan Province were both previously listed on 3 November 2017. The regulations to relist Islamic State Khorasan Province and to list JNIM were tabled in the parliament on 9 November 2020.

The committee's review examines the minister's decision to list and relist these organisations. Section 102.1A of the Criminal Code provides that the committee may review a regulation that lists or relists an organisation as a terrorist organisation and reports its comments and recommendations to each house of the parliament before the end of the applicable 15 sitting day disallowance period. This statement serves this purpose and is being presented within the required period. In determining whether the regulations listing or relisting these two organisations should be supported, the committee reviewed the merits of each in accordance with the explanatory statement of the Minister for Home Affairs, ASIO's statement of reasons for each organisation and other publicly available information.

In its deliberations, the committee determined that JNIM was formed when three al-Qaeda aligned groups—Ansar Dine, Al-Mourabitoun and a subgroup of al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb—merged into one entity. The organisation continues to be a Sunni Islamist extremist organisation based in Mali and active in West Africa. The group's leader has identified France and western countries assisting France as adversaries and has attacked locations known to be frequented by westerners in Mali and surrounding countries. Although it has not made specific threats against Australia or Australian interests, JNIM is unlikely to differentiate Australians from the citizens of other western countries.

Islamic State Khorasan Province continues to be an officially recognised Islamic State affiliate that directly engages in terrorist attacks in and outside of Afghanistan. Although no Australian citizens have been killed by an Islamic State Khorasan Province attack, this organisation is a close ally of Islamic State, which has called for attacks against Australia and Australian interests.

These organisations remain a real threat to Australia. There's strong evidence that each has and continues to engage in terrorist activities that are targeted at countries with western values. In examining the evidence that has been provided, the committee is satisfied with the relisting and listing processes and considers that they have been followed appropriately for these two organisations. The committee therefore supports the listing of the organisations under division 102 of the Criminal Code in order to protect Australians and Australia's interests, and the committee finds no reason to disallow the regulations.