The precautionary tale of Australia’s amendments to the Terrorism Control Order Scheme


School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University,

Despite being labelled ineffective, inappropriate and unnecessary by the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor in 2012, terrorism control orders look set to remain on the Australian statute books for the next few years, albeit with some important recent amendments. As well as reducing the threshold for issuance, the grounds for issuing control orders have been expanded to include individuals having engaged in hostile activity abroad, as well as those convicted of terrorist-related offences. This paper examines the diverging evolution of the CO schemes in Australia and the UK, and considers both the necessity and the likely impact of the recent amendments to the Australian CO scheme. Finally, it makes the case that the changes to the scheme have widened the net of state control, shifting from a reactively preventive application of COs towards a more precautionary approach characterised by increased reliance on intelligence rather than evidence.


Susan Donkin is a Lecturer at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. Her PhD examined pre-emptive anti-terrorism legislation across time and place; i.e. comparing how/whether measures such as control orders are used in different jurisdictions, and identifying how they compare to similar historical precedents, such as internment. A modified version of her thesis examining control orders in light of crime prevention theory and practice has been published as part of the Springer Brief Series in International and Comparative Criminology.


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