Australia faces a wide-range of global intelligence and security threats. The passing through Parliament of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) Amendment Bill 2020 is an important mechanism to modernise ASIO’s powers, giving it the framework it requires to combat terrorism and espionage in an increasingly volatile security environment.
During the 32 year history of Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), all of its members have shown a strong dedication to robust debate and a commitment to mutual respect in discussion. The focus of the PJCIS has always been on the security of all Australians, while balancing that with our nation’s commitment to its international human rights obligations. While considering this legislation and the critical role of ASIO to fulfil its security mandate, the PJCIS has sought to give assurances to the Australian public and the parliament that it is fit for purpose and proportionate in the evolving security landscape.
All members of the PJCIS are in strong agreement that ASIO needs the powers conferred on it by this Bill. Where members have differed it has been in the details of safeguards that are provided within the legislation.
With this report, the PJCIS seeks to provide the Australian Government with guidance and recommendations to create a piece of legislation that will set a global standard for effective and responsible safeguarding of national security.
Mr Andrew Hastie MPHon Anthony Byrne MP
Chair Deputy Chair
December 2020December 2020