Australia bans extremists from coming home for 2 years

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian Parliament on Thursday passed laws that enable the government to prevent suspected extremists from returning home for up to two years despite some lawyers concerns that the new power breaches the constitution.

The Senate passed the laws with the center-left Labor Party supporting the conservative government's bill even though the opposition party worried that the law gave Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton too much discretion to decide who was banished.

The Law Council of Australia, the nation's leading advocacy for lawyers, has questioned whether the proposed law was constitutional and urged senators to refer the bill to a parliamentary committee for review rather than vote for it.

Rex Patrick, a senator from the minor Center Alliance, proposed a motion that would have prevented the Senate considering the legislation until the government revealed its own legal advice. But the Senate was evenly split on the motion — 36 voted for and against — so it failed.

The government refused to disclose its legal advice from the solicitor-general, but said it raised no constitutional concerns.

"The government has clear advice that this legislation is constitutional," Defense Minister Linda Reynolds told the Senate.

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