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Counter terrorism

Counter terrorism

Terrorism is a global challenge, and we work closely with our international partners in the region and beyond.

Underpinning Australia's fight against terrorism is Australia's Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which is based on partnerships between all levels of government, communities and the private sector.

The purpose of Australia’s counter-terrorism effort is to safeguard Australia, its people and its interests from the harms of terrorism and violent extremism. This will be achieved through:

  1. countering violent extremism in all its forms by preventing radicalisation of individuals before an attack takes place, and rehabilitating and reintegrating violent extremist offenders
  2. equipping our law enforcement, security intelligence and other operational agencies with the resources and powers to tackle terrorist threats
  3. ensuring our counter-terrorism arrangements are resilient, collaborative, consistent and proportionate both nationally and internationally.

Australia's international counter-terrorism efforts are focused on law enforcement, intelligence, border and transport security, diplomacy, defence, terrorist financing, building counter-terrorism capacity in the region and countering violent extremism.

International Counter-Terrorism Engagement

Australia is opposed to terrorism and violent extremism in all its forms. Violent extremism has no place in Australia, our region or the world.

As outlined in the 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper and the Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism 2022-26: Australia’s International Engagement Update and Way Ahead, it is our fundamental responsibility and highest priority to keep Australians safe and protect our freedoms, our way of life and our values. We are committed to ensuring Australians remain safe, secure and free from national security threats including terrorism.

Over many years, through our efforts responding to and countering terrorism, we have learned three hard-won and enduring lessons that underpin our national approach to counter-terrorism.

Lesson 1: Unity of effort works. Partnerships matter. Teamwork is key.

Lesson 2: A comprehensive, integrated approach works best – global, regional, and local.

Lesson 3: Sharing information and lessons saves lives and protects us all.

Looking ahead Australia is faced with a complex, dynamic international environment where competition is intensifying, and a range of uncertainties and challenges exist. The following observations will shape our approach to countering terrorism in the next five years:

Observation 1: The threat is persistent and dynamic; it is never static.

Observation 2: The world is rapidly changing, and the threat is changing with it. We need to anticipate, understand and effectively adapt to the changes as they arise.

Observation 3: The recurring root causes of terrorism and violent extremism can be better understood, identified, mitigated and reduced when we work collaboratively with our partners.

In a globalised, interdependent world, our multilateral, regional and bilateral partnerships have proven critical to achieving Australia’s security and counter-terrorism objectives. Our international partnerships with governments and institutions are vital to achieving our objectives and must be sustained and deepened. We recognise private sector and civil society engagement is also critical. We actively support collective international responses to global and transnational Counter-Terrorism efforts. Our international engagement on counter-terrorism is consistent with and complements Australia’s broader foreign policy priorities.

Our approach to international partners is based on and strengthened by the principles and core elements articulated in Australia’s Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Our international engagement aims to promote Australia’s counter-terrorism interests through effective advocacy, cooperation, and capacity and capability building. We seek to achieve four key objectives:

Objective 1: Sustain, strengthen, deepen and expand Australia’s international counter-terrorism partnerships network.

Objective 2: Support and reinforce the achievement of national counter-terrorism objectives.

Objective 3: Work with international partners and stakeholders to reduce the appeal, influence and effectiveness of terrorism and violent extremism.

Objective 4: Increase sharing and access to counter-terrorism and counter violent extremism information, best practice and lessons with international partners.

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