14 Oct 2014

Prominent Australian barrister analyses terror law changes

From Nine To Noon, 9:08 am on 14 October 2014

The government says New Zealand's terror laws will be amended to align with allies such as Australia, where recent counter terrorism laws have been described as draconian and unconstitutional. Australian lawyers and civil libertarians say the laws there have gone too far and will severely restrict peoples rights and freedoms.

New Zealand's Prime Minister, John Key has announced a four-week review of our security laws, which he says is likely to recommend urgent changes before the end of the year. And the Minister in charge of the SIS and GCSB, Chris Finlayson, says there are clear gaps in security law which makes it difficult to prove somebody is a foreign fighter.

Greg Barns is a criminal barrister and spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance. He has acted for the accused in a terrorism trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Mr. Barns says many aspects of the new Australian laws are unconstitutional and create a major a major shift in the power of the executive, removing the only real check on it - the judiciary.

Greg Barns talks to Kathryn Ryan.