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Detect, disrupt and deny: Optimising Australia’s counterterrorism financing system

By Simon Norton and Paula Chadderton

Detecting, disrupting and denying terrorist financing is vital to efforts to degrade terrorist organisations. This paper examines the nature of terrorist financing and the system used to counter this. Using examples, the paper analyses how terrorist organisations raise, move and use funds. While the focus is currently on Islamist terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), historical examples demonstrate how terrorism and terrorism financing are neither new phenomena nor dominated only by groups in the Middle East.

The paper examines the international and Australian systems for targeting terrorism financing.

Australia’s overall counter-terrorism financing (CTF) system is robust but could be enhanced and strengthened. The 84 recommendations in the government’s recent Review of Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism legislation is a good start to improving the CTF system but doesn’t go far enough in some cases.

This paper sets out recommendations on how the Australian Government could enhance Australia’s CTF system.