Internment of terrorism suspects: human rights and constitutional issues

Anthony Gray*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


There have been recent calls for the parliament to re-introduce a system of internment of those suspected of future terrorist activity. Preventive detention regimes have a long history within the common law, and to some extent our laws still contain preventive detention aspects. International legal materials would arguably generally prohibit such regimes; however, they also contain exceptions permitting governments to derogate from fundamental human rights in times of emergency or war. This article considers whether, if the Australian Parliament were to implement such a scheme, it would be constitutionally valid. This involves determining whether the Commonwealth’s defence power would support such a law, and the nature of the power to preventively detain an individual. Could such a power be exercised by a government minister, or would it need to be exercised, if at all, by a court?.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-325
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Journal of Human Rights
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


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