Responding to a rising domestic threat posed by militant Islamists, and to prevent its citizens from going overseas to fight for the Islamic State group, the Australian government on Monday announced a massive overhaul of its counter-terrorism laws, according to media reports.
Under the proposed laws, which will be introduced in the senate Wednesday, it would be a crime for an Australian citizen to travel to a country designated as a “no-go zone” by the government, according to media reports. The burden of proof would then lie on the accused to prove that they were in the region for a legitimate reason. Announcing the new measures on Monday, Attorney General George Brandis told reporters in Canberra that the law will contain exemptions for journalists and those visiting family members.
The move by the Australian government comes at a time when a number of Australian citizens have been accused of fighting overseas for the Islamic State group, formerly known as ISIS. In July, an Australian suicide bomber reportedly killed three people in an attack in Baghdad. Later in the same month, a Twitter account linked to the Islamic State published pictures of two Australian citizens holding beheaded corpses and heads of five Syrian soldiers reportedly killed in Syria’s Raqqa province.