The Bill aims to enhance oversight of the national intelligence community by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS) and this Committee (PJCIS). The Bill would amend the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 and the Intelligence Services Act 2001 to:
- Expand the jurisdictions of the IGIS and the PJCIS to oversee the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), and the intelligence functions of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Department of Home Affairs.
- Provide that the PJCIS may, at its own initiative, review proposed reforms to counter-terrorism and national security legislation, and all such expiring legislation.
- Enable the PJCIS to request that the IGIS conduct inquiries into the legality and propriety of particular operational activities of the agencies within the IGIS’s jurisdiction; and if the IGIS undertakes an inquiry at the request of the PJCIS, require the IGIS to provide a report to the PJCIS or notify the reasons why a report is not provided.
- Require the Inspector-General and the Director-General of the Office of National Intelligence (ONI) to provide annual briefings to the PJCIS.
The Bill also contains technical amendments to the Intelligence Services Act 2001 to clarify the role of subcommittees, clarify the categories of information the Committee cannot disclose, and to amend the level of security clearance that needs to be held by members of the secretariat. Finally, the Bill contains consequential amendments to related legislation to give effect to Schedule 1 of the Bill.
Submissions are invited by Monday 31 August 2023. Further information about making a submission to a parliamentary committee is available here.