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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Access to and retention of internet 'metadata'

On 5 August 2014, the Government announced its intention to update Australia’s telecommunication interception laws. This is part of broader efforts to enhance powers available to security agencies ‘to combat home-grown terrorism and Australians who participate in terrorist activities overseas’. This includes developing a mandatory ‘metadata’ retention system. Whilst having a period of mandatory metadata retention would be new, the collection of metadata by telecommunications companies and government access to it is not new and is governed by the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act 1979 (TIA).  Whilst the need for such a scheme was linked to c... Read more...

ASIO security assessments of asylum seekers

Recent media reporting and questioning in the May Budget Estimates hearings have again focused attention on security processes relevant to the processing of asylum seekers, with one particular case leading the Prime Minister to direct an Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security inquiry into ‘the management of [by] Australian government agencies of persons seeking asylum who present complex security issues’. ASIO’s security assessment role The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) performs security assessments for other Australian Government agencies for several different purposes: visa security assessments, which assess whether an appl... Read more...

High Court holds security risk provision invalid

There has been extensive reporting on the recent High Court decision concerning the impact of an adverse ASIO assessment on an asylum applicant. In its decision of 5 October 2012 in the matter of Plaintiff M47-2012 v Director General of Security [2012] HCA 46, the High Court ruled public interest criterion 4002, contained in Schedule 4 to the Migration Regulations 1994, to be invalid. This criterion provided:4002 The applicant is not assessed by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to be directly or indirectly a risk to security, within the meaning of section 4 of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979.The plaintiff is a Sri Lankan asylum seeker with an adver... Read more...

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