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The Australian National University

2014 Annual Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture



Wednesday, 22 October 2014 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm


China in the World Auditorium, Building 188, Fellows Lane, The Australian National University, Canberra


Professor George Williams AO, University of New South Wales

The transcript of this lecture is available at the bottom of this page as a linked pdf.

Does Australia need new anti-terror laws?

After enacting an array of new anti-terror laws in the years following the September 11 attacks, Australia is now seeking to introduce additional laws in response to the threat posed by fighters returning from conflicts in Syria and Iraq. 

This talk will examine whether these measures are needed, exploring whether Australia already has the laws in place to protect the community from home-grown terrorism? 

Drawing from current examples, Professor George Williams will consider if changes need to be made. This includes such measures as the collection of metadata on calls and internet use, reversing the onus of proof by deeming a person guilty of an offence if they travel to certain locations, and making it easier for government to ban organisations (and jail their members) based on their speech about terrorism.

George Williams AO is the Anthony Mason Professor at the University of New South Wales. 

As an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, Professor Williams is engaged in a multi-year project on anti-terror laws and democracy. He has written and edited many books, including Australian Constitutional Law and Theory, The Oxford Companion to the High Court of Australia and Global Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy

As a barrister, Professor Williams has appeared in High Court cases dealing with matters such as freedom of speech, freedom from racial discrimination and the rule of law. He has served on several public inquiries, and as chair of a public consultation committee, helped bring about Australia’s first State bill of rights, the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. Professor Williams is a regular columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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