Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced new laws to lower the threshold for arresting terror suspects and to put “facial recognition technology” in place to scan those coming into the country.
The laws will also make it more difficult for people to fly from Australia to Syria, Iraq, or other hotbeds for terrorism.
According to the Herald Sun, the new body of laws also increases “search and seizure powers,” provides “further powers to seek suspension of a passport,” and grants an additional “$630 million” for counter-terrorism and intelligence work in the country.
Abbott said, “The terrorism threat in this country has not changed. Nevertheless, it is as high as it’s ever been. As a result, the Government is determined to take a series of measures to strengthen our security and intelligence organizations.”
The increases in counter-terrorism powers come after terror attacks rocked Paris in January and Copenhagen on February 14 and 15.
To be clear, Australia was moving toward tougher laws before these recent attacks. On September 2o, Al Jazeera reported that PM Abbott was a week away from announcing his desire for “sweeping counter-terrorism powers.” That push followed arrests in Sydney and Brisbane that “foiled a plot by fighters from [ISIS].”
Following those arrests, “federal police for the first time used preventative detention orders to hold three … [individuals] without charge.”
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