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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Harrison

Foreign Fighters Legislation

Updated: Dec 7, 2023


Criminal Barrister, Criminal Solicitor, Criminal Lawyer, Foreign Fighters Legislation, Foreign Incursion

Published by Geoff Harrison | 7 December 2023


The Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978 was repealed on 1 December 2014, with offences relating to foreign incursions and recruitment being moved to Part 5.5 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 ('the Act') under the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Act 2014.


Under Part 5.5 of the Criminal Code, it is an offence to:

  • Enter a foreign country with the intention to engage in a hostile activity, unless serving in the armed forces of the government of a foreign country (s119.1 of the Act).

  • Entering or remaining in declared areas (s119.2 of the Act).

  • Preparations for incursions into a foreign country with an intention to engage in a hostile activity (s119.4 of the Act).

  • Recruit persons to join an organisation engaged in hostile activities in a foreign country (s119.6 of the Act).

The maximum penalties for these offences range from 10 years imprisonment to life imprisonment.


"Engage in a hostile activity" is defined under s117.1 of the Act: a person engages in a hostile activity in a foreign country if the person engages in conduct in that country with the intention of achieving one or more of the following objectives (whether or not such an objective is achieved):


(a) the overthrow by force or violence of the government of that or any other foreign country (or of a part of that or any other foreign country);


(b) the engagement, by that or any other person, in action that:

(i) falls within subsection 100.1(2) but does not fall within subsection 100.1(3); and

(ii) if engaged in in Australia, would constitute a serious offence;


(c) intimidating the public or a section of the public of that or any other foreign country;


(d) causing the death of, or bodily injury to, a person who is the head of state of that or any other foreign country, or holds, or performs any of the duties of, a public office of that or any other foreign country (or of a part of that or any other foreign country);


(e) unlawfully destroying or damaging any real or personal property belonging to the government of that or any other foreign country (or of a part of that or any other foreign country).


Other Resources:

Cases:

Extracted Legislation:

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