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Govt wants more powers for airport cops

People acting suspiciously at Australian airports could be forced to hand over identification, under proposed laws before the federal parliament.

Federal police would also be given greater powers to force people to leave an airport, even if it means missing their flights.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday re-introduced the legislation after it was scrutinised by parliament's powerful intelligence committee earlier this year.

The bipartisan committee recommended the powers be legislated, with safeguards.

The recommendations include requiring police to publicly report how many times the powers are used and how many people miss flights as a consequence.

Affected people would also able to request urgent judicial reviews, and protections should be enshrined so the laws don't interfere with the right to peaceful protest and assembly.

Police can already approach people at airports and ask for identification, but only if they suspect a person has or is about to commit an offence punishable by at least 12 months behind bars.

The proposed new powers allow officers to carry out identity checks where there are "reasonable grounds" such as safeguarding public order or preventing an offence punishable by a year or more in jail.

Officers can also direct a person to leave an airport, or not take a flight, for up to 24 hours.

Mr Dutton said the laws would ensure Australian aviation networks were among the safest in the world.

The powers would be used at all major airports in Australia, including in Alice Spring and Townsville.

Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $4200.

The proposed powers target people taking photos of secure areas or cargo entry and exit points, and those loitering around luggage carousels or public areas with no clear purpose, the government said.

© AAP 2019