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Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has today presented its report

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Committee supports amendments to national security legislation

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The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security has today presented its report on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014.

The Committee’s bipartisan report includes 16 recommendations intended to provide greater clarity and strengthen the safeguards and oversight mechanisms in the Bill. The Committee has also recommended that the Bill be passed.

Key recommendations include:
• Reporting requirements for ASIO in any instance of use of force against a person, and close oversight by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (recommendations 6, 7 and 8)
• The Attorney-General’s approval of any Special Intelligence Operation (SIO), including variation of an SIO or its extension beyond six months (recommendation 9)
• Enhanced oversight of the SIO scheme by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (recommendation 10)
• Exemptions under proposed section 35P to allow disclosure of information about an SIO in particular circumstances (recommendations 11) and improved clarity about potential prosecution (recommendations 12 and 13)
• Budget supplementation for the Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (recommendation 15)
The Committee has also sought to enhance reporting requirements and obtain greater clarity in provisions relating to ASIO affiliates, secondment arrangements, computer access warrants and disclosure of information to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Committee Chair, Mr Dan Tehan, said “I am very pleased to present this bipartisan report today. The Committee has sought to ensure that the Bill achieves an appropriate balance between national security requirements and the necessary safeguards that the community expects.”

‘The Committee has tabled its report out of session to facilitate debate on this important legislation when Parliament returns.”

Referred by the Attorney-General on 16 July 2014, the Bill implements many of the bipartisan recommendations made by the Committee in Chapter 4 of its 2013 Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation. During its inquiry, the Committee received more than 30 written submissions and conducted public and private hearings.

A full copy of the report and further information about the inquiry can be accessed via the Committee’s website at http://www.aph.gov.au/pjcis.

For media comment, please contact the Office of the Chair, Dan Tehan MP, on 6277 4393 (Parliament House) or 03 5572 1100 (Electorate).
For inquiry information, please contact the Committee Secretariat on 02 6277 2360 or email pjcis@aph.gov.au.

Media release date of issue: 17 September 2014

Henry Sapiecha