Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Australia
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism|
|Publication Date||30 April 2009|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2008 - Australia, 30 April 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/49fac67f1a.html [accessed 19 June 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Australia maintained a leading position in regional counterterrorism efforts. Along with Japan and the U.S., Australia worked to strengthen regional cooperation on border, transport, and maritime security. In April and May, Australia conducted trilateral regional workshops to identify and disrupt terrorist cash courier operations and to respond to bioterrorism. These events were capped by the annual U.S.-Australia-Japan Trilateral Counterterrorism Strategic Dialogue in October. In September, the Government of Australia announced the appointment of William (Bill) Paterson as the country's new Ambassador for Counterterrorism.
In 2008, the Australian government appointed a National Security Adviser (NSA) to help the Prime Minister on a range of policy matters, including countering terrorism and overseeing the implementation of national security policy arrangements. The National Intelligence Coordination Committee (NICC) chaired by the NSA will ensure that national intelligence efforts are fully and effectively integrated across governmental agencies.
In February, the Lombok Treaty between Australia and Indonesia came into full force, providing a framework for bilateral law enforcement cooperation, particularly against human trafficking, trade in illicit drugs, and terrorism. The treaty marked a continuation of Australian efforts to build Indonesian police capacity, such as the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC), which plays an important role in fostering cooperation among Southeast Asian agencies involved in counterterrorism, the commencement of joint legal training programs in July, the renewal of the counterterrorism Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and inaugural counterterrorism consultations that were held in May 2008. The treaty marked increased bilateral cooperation in law enforcement, border control, maritime and transport security, legal assistance, financial monitoring, defense, and management of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear terrorist threats.
In May, Australia and the Philippines held high-level counterterrorism consultations, which reviewed capacity building and operational collaboration, and agreed on broad priorities and directions for future cooperation. In June, Australia extended for a further six months the assignment of an Australian official to Cambodia to assist the Cambodian Government on counterterrorism capabilities. Also in June, Australia expanded its bilateral counterterrorism talks to include first round talks with Russia. In December, Australia signed a counterterrorism MOU with Bangladesh, the 14th such bilateral agreement concluded by Australia.
Following the September bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Australia announced plans to expand its counterterrorism efforts with Pakistan, including possible provision of law enforcement assistance, counter-insurgency training, and technical assistance.
Australian multilateral engagement continued in forums such as the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Pacific Island Forum and the G8 Counterterrorism Action Group.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) received further funding to expand its investigative and specialist training, currently delivered to regional law enforcement partners through facilities like JCLEC. Funding was targeted toward:
- conducting offshore exercises and training with regional partners,
- increasing the number of counterterrorism advisers working in AFP's international liaison officer network,
- introducing to high priority locations a custom-built Case Management and Information System developed for use in overseas jurisdictions, and
- enhancing specialist forensic and technical training for law enforcement agencies in the region and in theaters of war, such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The AFP's International Deployment Group deploys numerous officers overseas in counterterrorism technical assistance and operational/liaison roles. The AFP Operational Response Group was designed to respond on short notice to emerging law and order issues and to conduct stabilization operations to head off lawless situations that terrorists could exploit. Australia continued to provide legal drafting assistance to regional states seeking to adopt international conventions and protocols against terrorism.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) reported that, within Australia, a small but significant minority of the Islamic community holds or has held extremist views. An even smaller minority was prepared to act in support of them, including by advocating violence, providing logistic or propaganda support to extremists, or traveling abroad to train with terrorist groups or participate in violent activities. Under Australia's Criminal Code, 18 groups are on the Listing of Terrorist Organizations. The Attorney General reaffirmed three in November: the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Jamiat ul-Ansar (JuA), and al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI).
During 2007-08, legal proceedings commenced against a number of individuals charged with terrorism offences, and in one trial, convictions were handed down by a jury in Melbourne. Yet, the nation has also required that the government review its 2005 terrorist legislation in 2010 in light of a need for protection of guaranteed rights. Because of the deportation of an innocent relative of a terrorist, there was felt a need to insure that the unwarranted deportation of the innocent would not occur again.
The Australian Transaction Reports Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), which monitored financial transactions, served as the national Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF) regulator, with supervisory, monitoring, and enforcement functions over a diverse range of industry sectors. A new set of regulatory reforms, introduced in draft legislation made public in August 2007, was heading for legislative enactment. These included new regulations regarding real estate, precious gems and stones, and specified legal accounting and trust services. AUSTRAC continued to seek and fund additional staff and technical capabilities, and establish identity security strike teams to investigate and prosecute people and syndicates involved in manufacturing false identities.
Australia supported a range of activities promoting tolerance and mutual understanding, and countering extremist ideology and propaganda, among communities in the region. In June, the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Corrective Services provided targeted training in Australia for a range of senior Indonesian corrections officials. Australia also conducted research in Indonesia on Indonesian popular attitudes toward democracy, politically motivated violence, extremist ideology, and pluralism. Australian authorities also facilitated meetings with Southeast Asian academics, journalists, and community leaders to discuss these issues.
Australia exchanged information with the United States on terrorists using the Terrorist Screening Centre as the operational hub for encounter management, as well as in APEC's Regional Movement Alert System. Both programs enhanced our joint ability to disrupt travel by known and suspected terrorists.
The Australian Defense Force has deployed 1,090 personnel to Afghanistan and 120 troops to Iraq.