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Committee to review Strengthening Information Provisions Bill

Issue date: Monday, 24 May 2021

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The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced a review into the Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020. The bill review was referred to the Committee by the Hon Alex Hawke MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

The Migration and Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Information Provisions) Bill 2020 amends both the Migration Act 1958 and the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. The Bill amends the Migration Act to protect disclosure of confidential information provided by gazetted intelligence and law enforcement agencies where the information is used for decisions made to refuse or cancel a visa on character grounds, or revoke or set aside such decisions (Protected Information).

The Bill amends the Migration Act to introduce a Protected Information framework, which will:

  • provide that the High Court, the Federal Court or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (the Federal Circuit Court) may order the Minister to produce or give in evidence Protected Information where the Court is satisfied that it is Protected Information and the production of it is for the purposes of substantive proceedings related to a decision to refuse or cancel a visa on character grounds, or revoke or set aside such a decision.

The Bill also amends the Citizenship Act to introduce provisions in order to protect Protected Information where the information is used for decision such as:

  • decisions to refuse to approve an application for citizenship;
  • to cease a person’s Australian citizenship if the person has engaged in specified conduct;
  • to make a determination by the Minister to cease a person’s Australian citizenship if the person has been convicted of a specified offence (and sentenced to at least 3 years’ imprisonment); renunciations of citizenship by conduct; and,
  • cessation of citizenship for service outside Australia in armed forces of an enemy country or a declared terrorist organisation.

Chair of the Committee, Senator James Paterson said that “The Committee will be interested to hear from various Government and non-government submitters on the importance of protecting certain information as well as the balance between such protection and transparent government.”

The Committee requests submissions to the inquiry by 4pm, Friday 25 June 2021.

Prospective submitters are advised that any submission to the Committee’s inquiry must be prepared solely for the inquiry and should not be published prior to being accepted by the Committee.

Further information about making a submission to a committee inquiry can be found at the following link.

Media inquiries

Chair, Senator James Paterson via Deborah Seccombe, 0451 255 891 or deborah.seccombe@aph.gov.au

For background information

Committee Secretariat, Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, (02) 6277 2360 or pjcis@aph.gov.au.

For more information about this Committee, you can visit its website here. On the site, you can make a submission to an inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

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