The majority disagreed with a series of Greens amendments that proposed to change a lot of the bill's provisions. For example, they wanted to include more exceptions into the offence of entering and staying in a declared area and give judges more room to interpret what a legitimate purpose to be in those areas would be.
Enter or stay in declared area offence
The bill will make it an offence for someone to enter or stay in an area that the Minister for Foreign Affairs declares as a declared area. A whole country can be a declared area, which was criticised by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security.
The current exceptions to this offence (in proposed subsection 119.2(3)) include when a person is involved in:
- humanitarian aid (but this has to be the sole act),
- a court case,
- work for an Australian government (state or federal),
- work for a foreign government (so long as it's not violating Australian law),
- work for the United Nations,
- journalism, and
- visiting a family member.
Read more about this new offence in the bills digest.
Background to the bill
A number of incidents happened before and after this bill's introduction. There was one of the biggest counter-terrorism operations in Australian history. The Prime Minister Tony Abbott also confirmed that Australia would be sending the military to Iraq to fight the Islamic State (IS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)).
Two particularly significant incidents were when: