Controversial terror laws clear parliament

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Authorities will soon be able to impose control orders on children as young as 14 after controversial counter-terrorism laws cleared parliament.

A bill that included a suite of measures passed the lower house on Tuesday after changes were made in the Senate earlier this month.

Aside from reducing from 16 the age a person can be subject to a control order, the legislation creates a new search, telecommunications interception and surveillance regime for those under the orders.

Courts will be required to appoint a lawyer to act for minors under 18 if they don't already have one in proceedings relating to a control order.

It also makes advocating genocide illegal.

"It does do things that are relatively difficult, particularly control orders for people as young as 14, but sadly events in Australia have shown us that these powers are required," Justice Minister Michael Keenan told parliament.

He said the security situation in Australia was vastly different to the one faced a decade ago, when radicals returned from Afghanistan and planned large terror plots on Australian soil.

Now, often young men are radicalised online in the basement of their family home without their parents even knowing.

Mr Keenan said the measures were needed to deal with such situations.

"I hope they are never used, but if our agencies need them, if the circumstance call for it, if our national security demands it and they need to take action to keep us safe, then we do need to make sure that they have the tools at their disposal to do that."

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