Identifying and disrupting terrorism-related threats to Australians and Australian interests.
In 2019–20, ASIO intelligence made a direct contribution to identifying and disrupting terrorism-related threats to Australians and Australian interests. Notable disruptions informed by ASIO investigations included the following.
On 4 December 2019, an individual was arrested in Sydney and subsequently charged with ‘other acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts’ and other terrorism offences.
On 14 March 2020, an individual was arrested, on the New South Wales south coast, who was subsequently charged with ‘other acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts’.
ASIO’s support to the Joint Counter- Terrorism Teams (JCTT)1 assisted with the prosecution and sentencing of the following individuals for terrorism and related offences.
On 21 May 2020, Melbourne-based Ali Khalif Shire Ali was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after pleading guilty to a charge of an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act. Ali had enquired about gaining access to a firearm and ammunition in preparation for an attack planned to take place in Federation Square, Melbourne, in late 2017.
On 7 April 2020, an individual was found guilty at retrial of acts in preparation for a terrorist act. This concluded a JCTT investigation that commenced in Sydney in 2016 with the arrest of two 16-year-olds who were detected carrying knives in a public place and later charged with terrorism offences.
On 5 December 2019, Melbourne- based Philip Galea was found guilty of ‘acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act’, and attempting to make a document likely to facilitate a terrorist act. These offences related to a plot to attack various sites linked to left-wing causes in Melbourne. This marked the first time that an individual with an extreme right-wing ideology had been convicted under Australia’s counter-terrorism laws.
On 29 November 2019, three individuals, who had been convicted of engaging in a terrorist act after conducting an arson attack on a Shia mosque, received lengthy sentences. In consideration of additional terrorism offences for a separate plot to conduct an attack on or around Christmas Day 2016 in Melbourne’s central business district, Ahmed Mohamed and Abdullah Chaarani were each sentenced to 38 years in prison and Hamza Abbas was sentenced to 22 years. A fourth individual, Ibrahim Abbas, who pled guilty for his involvement in the Christmas Day plot, was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment.
Joint Counter-Terrorism Teams (JCTT) are multi-agencyDepartments. JCTTs operate in all Australian jurisdictions. They were established to conduct counter-terrorism operations, with the intention of disrupting terrorism and/or bringing criminal prosecutions for breaches of terrorism legislation. Each JCTT is a critical tool for managing the investigation, disruption and prosecution of terrorist activity in Australia. bodies made up of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), ASIO and state-based police agencies, supported by other Commonwealth and state-based agencies such as Australian Border Force, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and state Justice ↩