Terrorism has become a major preoccupation of governments in western countries,
including Australia, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. This
preoccupation has often manifested itself in frenetic legislative activity. In 2002, amidst
some public controversy, the Australian parliament passed a raft of legislation aimed at
enhancing Australia's protection against the possibility of terrorist threat (Williams 2003;
Carne 2003; Ricketts 2002; Head 2002; Senate Legal and Constitutional References
Committee 2002). A major plank of such legislation was the Suppression of the Financing
of Terrorism Act 2002.
Research into this legislation and its effects, however, remains very undeveloped. More
generally, there is limited academic literature on combating the financing of terrorism (see,
however, Levitt 2003; Sheppard 2002; Bantekas 2003; Selden 2003; Myers 2002;
Chenumolu 2003; Hardister 2003; Pieth 2003). The scholarship to date tends to be focused on the legal and regulatory aspects of the legislation rather than its social and political
implications in terms of civil rights and democracy (see Tan 2003).
Against such a lacuna, this comment aims to briefly describe the key provisions of the
Australian suppression of financing of terrorism regime. The larger section of this comment identifies six research questions concerning this legislation and its effects.