Australian spies would be able to arrest and question 14-year-old suspects under new laws introduced to Parliament on Wednesday.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation could also place tracking devices on cars or in people’s bags with only internal approval, rather than a warrant.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the legislation was about ensuring intelligence officers had the powers they needed to tackle terrorism, espionage and politically motivated violence.
“The Director-General recently noted in his annual threat assessment the number of terrorism leads ASIO is investigating has doubled since this time last year,” Mr Dutton told Parliament.
Previously the lower age bracket for questioning was 16, but minors would require a lawyer to be present.
“The minimum age has been lowered from 16 to 14 as a response to the increased threat posed by minors,” the bill’s explainer says.
ASIO would also be able to deprive adults of a lawyer in limited circumstances, including if they thought particular lawyers would alert other people participating in an illegal activity.