Portrait of serious middle eastern man in desert at sunset. Sepia toned

Does It Matter if Terrorists Are Left Nationless?

With hundreds of foreigners still involved in fighting for extremist groups in the Middle East, governments across the world are struggling with how…or if…to repatriate their rogue citizens.

Clearly these people pose potential dangers when they return to their home countries.

Australia is taking action. But is it enough?

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Human Rights fighting for rights of terrorists

Astoundingly, some believe we’re doing too much.

According to the Australian Associated Press, recent law changes introduced to federal parliament can block Australian foreign fighters from entering the country for up to two years.

While we at The Australian Tribune say the block should be indefinite depending on the case, this two-year timeframe is already being scrutinised by parliament’s joint committee on intelligence and security, which is chaired by WA Liberal MP Andrew Hastie.

Today a public hearing in Canberra will hear from Australian Human Rights Commission, senior bureaucrats from the Department of Home Affairs, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, as well as the Law Council.

Morrison won’t stand to help ISIS fighters

The Human Rights Commission and the Law Council are both siding with the potential terrorists, arguing that these new laws will breach Australia’s international obligations.

This could result in people who have willingly chosen to fight in extremist groups to be unable to enter any other country.

Apparently, we don’t want that. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison certainly does.

As reported by The Australian, Morrison argued:

They have to take — responsibility for those decisions to join up with terrorists who are fighting Australia. I’m not going to put any Australian at risk to try to extract people from those situations.

They have made their decisions. If they are Australian citizens, well, there is a process for us to deal with them under Australian law and they will face the full force of Australian law should they be in a position to try to come back to Australia.’

Dutton and his Department of Home Affairs share this view, believing that Australians involved in the Syria and Iraq conflicts may pose a threat to the country upon returning.

Minister’s power overruled again

At the moment, a person receives up to two years in prison for breaching a temporary exclusion order.

Only the minister can override this breach and allow someone to enter Australia under a return permit, which would be full of conditions regarding when and how the person enters the country.

They would also have to register where they live, work or study, and any plans to travel within Australia or abroad.

But Human Rights and the Law Council say this power to grant a return permit should be granted to the courts rather than the minister.

And so once again we’ll have a system that degrades the authority of our government to determine who is allowed to enter our country.

Hopefully the security and intelligence committee see the flaws in these requests.

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The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune Editorial

The Australian Tribune is an unorthodox news service. Your Australian Tribune editorial team deliver the unfiltered stories that could impact your daily life — political and economic stories you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. And we’re not afraid to step on some toes to do it. We are honest, conservative and never dull. We are an independent service, meaning we don’t answer to shareholders or outside advertisers. This helps avoid conflicts of interest that inhibit mainstream sources, which keeps our voice independent. The Australian Tribune is owned and operated by Port Phillip Publishing.
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