“The brigades are a highly capable terrorist organisation who are committed to the use of terrorist tactics targeting Israel. As a consequence they remain a security concern to ASIO and we support the listing.”

Labor MP Anne Aly questioned Mr Burgess on the practical implications listing Hamas as a terror group would have on pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Australia, potentially those supporting Hamas.

Mr Burgess responded it could be “problematic” for some groups, as it would make it illegal to support Hamas under Australian counter-terrorism laws.

“It would be unlawful for people to support Hamas if they were listed entirely,” he said. “I’m not the expert … but of course I can recognise that being Palestinian is actually different to supporting Hamas.”

Mr Burgess did note that listing Hamas as a terrorist organisation was beyond his authority.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Home Affairs also appeared in front of the committee, claiming a ramp-up of security for Australian missions and posts in the Middle East would need to occur if Hamas was added to the list.

Home Affairs representative Richard Feakes said the “multifaceted” structure of Hamas prompted careful consideration due to the anti-association laws invoked by a terror listing.

“[It] requires more careful consideration because of the implications and the consequences of that, particularly in regards to the association offence,” Mr Feakes said.

Both governmental bodies said Hamas being listed as a terrorist organisation would be determined by the Home Affairs Minister.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of a pro-Israel group known as the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said the idea of “wings” within Hamas was fiction.

Dr Schanzer said the Home Affairs Minister should list the entirety of Hamas under the Criminal Code.

“There is no separating the Izz-Add brigades (the paramilitary) from the broader organisation,” he said on Friday.

“This is a fiction perpetuated by those who wish to engage with elements of the terrorist group.

“The entry of Hamas should be listed as a terrorist group in Australia and around the world.”

Sources: Canberra Times & PerthNow

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