Aussie fighter jets arrive in Middle East
33 minutes ago September 24, 2014 8:22AM
AUSTRALIAN fighter jets and airforce personnel have arrived in the United Arab Emirates.
THERE are 400 Royal Australian Air Force officers, eight Super Hornets, a Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft, and a Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft in the contingent.
The deployment is in addition to Hercules and Globemaster planes that have been carrying out humanitarian and weapons drops in northern Iraq.
Defence says the aircraft are on standby awaiting the go ahead for operations to combat Islamic State extremists.
Attorney-General George Brandis will introduce a counter-terrorism bill to parliament on Wednesday, which will immediately be referred to a committee for review.
The new laws will crack down on Australians travelling overseas to fight in conflicts and enforcement agencies will get extra powers to investigate, arrest and prosecute.
Shadow attorney general Mark Dreyfus said there were some sensible provisions in the bill such as allowing temporary suspensions of passports.
Labor supports the committee inquiry being expedited and speeding up the public consultation process.
But Mr Dreyfus is concerned about the provision which 'criminalises' travel to designated areas, without a valid excuse.
"It's an unprecedented measure," he told ABC radio.
"It appears to curtail not only freedom of movement, but also the right to silence, and, the presumption of innocence."
He also believes there are flaws in the preventative detention arrangements, citing police concerns that they can't actually question suspects during that period.
The former Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Bret Walker SC, says he's satisfied the new law has been properly drafted, including the section to designate "no go" zones.
He says the changes will mean a person won't have to 'prove' why they went to the designated area, but rather, just point to material that suggests there's a reasonable possibility they were there for a legitimate purpose.
"The prosecution will simply have to negative (?) that beyond reasonable doubt," he told ABC radio.