International Counter-Terrorism

The Australian Government is cooperating closely with key partners, particularly in South- East Asia, to combat terrorism.  Australia’s substantial international counter-terrorism efforts are focused on law enforcement, intelligence, border and transport security, diplomacy, defence, terrorist financing, building counter-terrorism capacity in region, countering violent extremism and countering the threat of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism.

Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism

On 18 May 2014, Mr Miles Armitage was appointed as Australia's Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism. The Ambassador is responsible for developing and implementing Australia's international counter-terrorism efforts and plays a key role in coordinating policy cooperation, capacity building and operational collaboration between Australian agencies and international counter-terrorism partners.

The Department’s Counter-Terrorism Role:

  • Ensure a comprehensive and integrated policy approach to combating terrorism internationally, including by recommending to Ministers priorities for international counter-terrorism engagement
  • Build international links by leading negotiations on counter-terrorism cooperation and holding regular consultations with other countries
  • Support and develop international initiatives that build resilience against extremist groups that advocate terrorist activity
  • Promote and support international initiatives that build social cohesion, including interfaith outreach activities
  • Support and coordinate capacity building initiatives managed by relevant Australian agencies
  • Research and advise Ministers on the implications of international terrorism developments
  • Promote and support activities to counter the threat of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear terrorism
  • Promote enhanced measures to ensure the security of explosive materials
  • Coordinate efforts to ensure Australia’s effective implementation of its obligations under United Nations counter-terrorism instruments
  • Manage the listing of individuals and organisations under Australia’s terrorist proscription and asset freezing regime

Australia’s International Counter-Terrorism Efforts

Key elements of Australia’s international counter-terrorism efforts include:

  • Bilateral engagement, particularly government-to-government practical cooperation with key partners. We support a range of capability development and capacity building activities with bilateral partners, particular in the Indo-Pacific Region.  Australia has also concluded Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) on counter-terrorism with Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, East Timor, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and France. The MOUs provide frameworks to develop a sense of common purpose, share information, and facilitate practical counter-terrorism activities.
  • Multilateral and regional engagement in forums such as the United Nations, the Association of South East Asian Nations, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Pacific Island Forum, the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism to strengthen international counter-terrorism cooperation and coordination of capacity building efforts across the world.
  • Australia is the co-chair with Indonesia of the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s Detention and Reintegration Working Group. The Working Group will host a series of initiatives aimed at promoting capacity building in the management, rehabilitation and reintegration of terrorist prisoners.
  • Engagement with Australian and international think-tanks, academia and the private sector.

What Australians and Australian businesses need to know about Australia’s international obligations towards countering terrorism

Australia has enacted legislation to ensure it meets its international obligations under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1267 (and successor resolutions) and 1373 to freeze the assets of terrorists, The Government has passed laws to prohibit a person who is holding assets that are owned or controlled by a designated terrorist individual or entity from using or dealing with those assets (in other words, the person holding those assets must freeze them) and to prohibit any person from making any assets available to designated terrorist individuals or entities. The department maintains a Consolidated List of all individuals and entities to which this terrorist asset freezing regime applies.

For additional information on Australia’s international obligations, please see: Australia's terrorist asset freezing regime

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains close contacts with Australia's financial sector to ensure asset freezing arrangements take account of the sector's legitimate interests. Australian businesses, in particular exporters, should also be aware of their responsibility to ensure that they do not do business with an individual or entity listed on the Consolidated List.

In addition to the Consolidated List, the Australian Government also maintains information about groups that are proscribed as terrorist organisations under the Australian Criminal Code.  More detailed information is available on the National Security Australia website.  If a group is listed as a 'terrorist organisation' it is an offence to:

  • direct the activities of the organisation
  • recruit persons to the organisation
  • receive training from or provide training to the organisation
  • receive funds from or make available funds to the organisation
  • provide support or resources to the organisation