Legal issues and the Attorney-General's portfolio - National Security Legislation Monitor


Budget Review 2009-10 Index

Budget 2009 10: Legal issues and the Attorney-General's portfolio

National Security Legislation Monitor

Monica Biddington

The Government will provide $1.4 million over four years to establish the Office of the National Security Legislation Monitor in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, to review the operation of counter‑terrorism and national security legislation. The legislation required to establish the Office is likely to be introduced in the Winter Sittings.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of the Attorney‑General's portfolio, with the funding being transferred from that portfolio to Prime Minister and Cabinet.[1] As a comparison, the establishment of this Office is not a significant financial output when compared with the Office of the Information Commissioner which is to be $20.1 million over 4 years.[2]

The establishment of the Office of National Security Legislation Monitor will also coincide with a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) review of the operation of terrorism-related laws that were introduced in 2004.[3] If COAG proceeds with this agreement, this review would therefore be scheduled to start in December 2010 and would cover the laws in the Crimes Act 1914 and the Criminal Code Act 1995 allowing broader police powers, control orders, preventative detention orders, as well as the definition of terrorist organisation and terrorist financing provisions. Depending on how any comprehensive review of terrorism laws might progress, the Government might choose to delegate the undertaking of this review to the new Office of Security Legislation Monitor.



[1].    Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2009-10, budget related paper no.1.15A: Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio, p.25, viewed 18 May 2009, http://www.dpmc.gov.au/accountability/budget/2009-10/pbs/pbs_2009-10.pdf

[2].    Australian Government, Portfolio budget statements 2009-10, budget related paper no.1.15A: Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio, p.25.

[3].    Council of Australian Governments, Special Meeting on Counter-Terrorism, Communiqué, 27 September 2005, viewed 14 May 2009,  http://www.coag.gov.au/coag_meeting_outcomes/2005-09-27/index.cfm


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