Law and Society Assessment task- Terrorism

21st March 2006

  a) Brief outline of the issue of terrorism, and why individual countries need to respond

The word terrorism is derived from the French word terrorisme, and has been used frequently since the 9/11 attacks on the WTC. Despite its frequent use, Terrorism is generally used to refer to the committing of criminal acts by organised groups, designed to provoke fear in the general public or a group of people in order to achieve political objectives.   [1]
The key features of terrorism are violence, the use of civilian targets, a political or religious objective, and the group will usually claim responsibility. The largest and most well known terrorist group is Al Qaeda, responsible for the 2001 attacks on New York.
Terrorism has a historical backdrop, but modern weapons allow small terrorist “cells” to do great damage with just a small number of participants.
The most notable examples of modern terrorism were the 9/11 attacks on the world trade centre, the first and second Bali bombings, the 2004 attacks in Madrid and the London train bombings.
These catastrophic events brought modern terrorism to the forefront of western politicians minds, and highlighted the need for individual countries to respond to terrorism through public education and the creating of legislation to deal with terrorists.
Terrorism is fast becoming a global problem, and international bodies do not have the capacity to deal with it. Therefore, the responsibility lies with individual countries to assess appropriate ways of responding whilst considering the unique needs of their people.

  b) Compare and contrast the response of the Australian government and one other country’s government to this issue.
The response of the Australian government to the issue of terrorism is similar in nature to that of the United Kingdom.
Unlike London, Australia has not experienced a terrorist attack within its borders.