A ‘terrorist act’ is defined as an action that:

  • is done with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause; 
  • is intended to coerce or influence the public or any government by intimidation;
  • causes one or more of the following:
    • death, serious harm or danger to a person;
    • serious damage to property;
    • a serious risk to the health of safety of the public;
    • serious interference with, disruption to, or destruction of an electronic system (such as a telecommunications system, transport system or system used to operate a public utility). 

A person can still commit a terrorist act even though a terrorist act did not occur. A terrorist act includes a threat of a terrorist act and includes the following actions:

  • planning or preparing for a terrorist act;
  • financing terrorism or a terrorist;
  • providing or receiving training connected with terrorist acts;
  • possessing things connected with terrorist acts;
  • collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts.

Division 101 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) details a number of offences relating to terrorism. 
 

The maximum penalties are:

  • For committing a terrorist act: Life imprisonment
  • For providing or receiving training connected with terrorist acts: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For possessing things connected with terrorist acts: 15 years’ imprisonment
  • For collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts: 15 years’ imprisonment
  • For any other acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts: Life imprisonment
  • For directing the activities of a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For becoming a member of a terrorist organisation: 10 years’ imprisonment
  • For recruiting for a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For providing or receiving training involving a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For getting funds to, from or for a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For providing support to a terrorist organisation: 25 years’ imprisonment
  • For associating with terrorist organisations: 3 years’ imprisonment
  • For financing terrorism: Life imprisonment

It may be a defence to the charge that you:

  • were under duress;
  • have a factual dispute;
  • had a lack of intention;
  • identification dispute; or
  • suffer from a mental impairment.

If you are charged with committing a terrorist act, the prosecution must prove that:

  • You engaged in a terrorist act, meaning:
    • You acted with the intention of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause;
    • Your action was intended to coerce or influence the public or any government by intimidation;
    • Your action caused:
      • death, serious harm or danger to a person;
      • serious damage to property;
      • a serious risk to the health of safety of the public; or
      • serious interference with, disruption to, or destruction of an electronic system (such as a telecommunications system, transport system or system used to operate a public utility).

If you are charged with associating with terrorist organisations, the prosecution must prove that:

  • On two or more occasions you intentionally associated with a member of an terrorist organisation (or a person who promotes or directs the activities of an terrorist organisation);
  • You knew that the organisation was a terrorist organisation;
  • The association between you and the other person provides support to the organisation;
  • You intended that the support would assist the organisation to expand or to continue to exist;
  • You knew that the other person was a member of the organisation (or promoted or directed the activities of the organisation).

A terrorist organisation is:

  • an organisation that is directly or indirectly engaged in, preparing, planning, assisting in or fostering the doing of a terrorist act; or
  • an organisation that is specified by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph (e.g., Islamic State – which also known by other names such as Al-Qa’ida). [Criminal Code (Terrorist Organisation—Islamic State) Regulations 2017]