Strengthening intelligence oversight

Legislation introduced today will for the first time see all ten of the intelligence and security agencies that make up Australia’s National Intelligence Community subject to the same statutory and parliamentary oversight.

Strong effective safeguards and oversight strengthen our democracy by ensuring we strike the right balance between the protection of Australia’s essential security interests and the preservation of essential rights and freedoms.

The Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 will strengthen and expand the oversight responsibilities of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) and Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) to include the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the intelligence functions of the Australian Federal Police, AUSTRAC and the Department of Home Affairs.

This legislation ensures all security and intelligence agencies are now subject to the same statutory and parliamentary oversight, commensurate with their powers and responsibilities.

The Bill also:

  • strengthens the relationship between the IGIS, the PJCIS and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor;
  • enables the PJCIS to review, on its own motion, proposed reforms to counter-terrorism and national security legislation, and all such expiring legislation; and
  • requires the Inspector-General and the Director-General of the Office of National Intelligence to provide annual briefings to the PJCIS.

Strong and effective oversight mechanisms are an essential part of advancing and protecting Australia’s national security interests.

Oversight ensures agencies are accountable and that the public can have confidence in their activities and that their powers remain reasonable and proportionate.

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