Many updates

In November I said that I would be blogging less to focus on finishing my PhD. To my surprise, I stuck to that, and only published one post since.

I’m nearing the end of the PhD, and successfully passed the pre-submission seminar in early March. There’s a lot to do over the next three months, so blogging will still be rare. But there’s a bunch of terrorism and security updates from the past few months I want to share, so this is another post of resources that may interest regular readers.


The Independent National Security Legislation Monitor James Renwick has been reviewing Australia’s encryption legislation, and the public hearings provide the most informative discussions I’ve ever seen on the topic. See:

Renwick also published his latest annual report.


The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security held public hearings as part of its review into Australia’s data retention legislation. Stilgherrian wrote an interesting piece about the social license implications and you can read the full transcripts here:

The 28 February transcript is particularly worth reading for Mark Dreyfus and Anthony Byrne’s contributions, seeking answers as to why so many more agencies are about to access the data than was initially suggested when the legislation was introduced.


On 24 February the new Director-General of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Mike Burgess, gave a public speech to deliver his first Annual Threat Assessment. The speech highlighted the threat of extreme-right terrorism and foreign interference, along with longstanding concerns about the threat posed by jihadist movements such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda as well as traditional espionage.

He then testified at a Senate estimates hearing on 2 March 2020.


Federal Member of Parliament Tim Watts, from the Australian Labour Party, gave an important speech to the National Press Club on 27 February about disinformation and democracy. Watts plays an extremely valuable role in Australia’s national security debates and is worth following on Twitter. On this topic it’s also worth reading:


There’s also been some new security-focused journals and outlets released:


Most importantly, it will soon be the one year anniversary of the Christchurch massacre, when an Australian white supremacist carried out a mass shooting attack against worshippers at two mosques, murdered 51 people and injured nearly 50 more.

The attack should be considered the most significant development in Australian terrorism in recent years. I will discuss it more in my next AVERT post, but in this post I want to share some resources focused on the victims.

The 7am podcast has released a 3-part series on the massacre, hosted by Osman Faruqi, which I highly recommend:

The New Zealand Journal of Psychology published this special issue in 2019, with every article examining the massacres, its context, and the aftermath.

The Guardian published this valuable article on 8 March:


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