The federal government has welcomed an NSW Supreme Court decision rejecting a challenge to the Foreign Incursions Act by an alleged recruiter for Islamic extremist groups.
Sydney man Hamdi Alqudsi will still stand trial accused of recruiting men to fight with terrorist organisations in Syria after the court rejected his challenge to the validity of the act.
The 41-year-old was charged under the act after he allegedly helped seven men get to Syria between June and October in 2013 so they could engage in armed hostilities.
Attorney-General George Brandis said on Thursday legislation to further strengthen law enforcement agencies involved in counter-terrorism operations would be introduced later in the year.
“In the current high terrorist threat environment, we are determined to give our agencies all the powers they need to combat the growing threat of home-grown extremism,” an official speaking on behalf of Senator Brandis told AAP.
“The safety of Australians is our first priority.”
Alqudsi was the first person to be charged under the Foreign Incursions Act since the Syrian conflict began.
He had argued a section of the act had no more than a “remote, fortuitous or insubstantial connection” with the external affairs or the defence of the Commonwealth and was therefore unconstitutional.
The Crown has previously alleged that telephone intercepts recorded Alqudsi talking to some of the men about fighting in Syria and that he helped them join terrorist organisations such as Jabhat Al-Nusra and al-Qaeda affiliates.
Alqudsi’s lawyer Zali Burrows had previously argued her client was giving only innocuous travel advice.
His matter will be mentioned in the Supreme Court on Friday.