Annual reports of agencies
The annual reports of the following agencies in the Attorney-General's portfolio
were referred to the committee for examination and report during the period
1 May 2018 to 31 October 2018:
Administrative Appeals Tribunal;
Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity;
Australian Human Rights Commission;
Australian Law Reform Commission;
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions;
Family Court of Australia;
Federal Circuit Court of Australia;
Federal Court of Australia, including the report of the National
Native Title Tribunal;
Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security;
National Archives of Australia and National Archives of Australia
Office of Parliamentary Counsel; and
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
One annual report from an agency in the Home Affairs Portfolio was
received during the reporting period. This report was the annual report of the
Australian Federal Police, including reports on assumed identities, the
National Witness Protection Program and unexplained wealth investigations and
The list of agencies that did not table their annual reports in the Senate
during the period 1 May 2018 to 31 October 2018 is provided in the preface
of this report. The committee will consider those annual reports in the Report
on Annual Reports (No. 2 of 2019).
On this occasion, the committee has examined in more detail the reports
of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, as it has not been
examined by the committee since its incorporation into the Legal and
Constitutional Affairs portfolio, and the Australian Law Reform Commission, which
the committee last examined in Report on Annual Reports (No. 2 of 2016).
Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security
The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (the
Inspector-General) is a statutory office holder appointed by the
Governor-General under the Inspector-General of Security and Intelligence
Act 1986 (IGIS Act).
The role of the Inspector-General is to 'assist Ministers in overseeing
and reviewing the activities of the Australian intelligence agencies for
legality and propriety and for consistency with human rights'.
The Inspector-General is also required to assist the Australian Government in
providing advice to Parliament and the public, and demonstrating that
intelligence and security matters regarding Commonwealth agencies are open to
The Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS)
is an agency that resided within the Attorney-General's portfolio prior to its
shift to the Home Affairs portfolio as a result of machinery-of-government
changes in 2018.
The IGIS is responsible for: monitoring and conducting regular
inspections of the operations of Australian security and intelligence agencies;
conducting inquiries, either self-initiated or at the request of the Australian
Government; investigating complaints made about agencies; and making
recommendations to the Australian Government.
The IGIS annual report for 2017–18 was prepared in accordance with
section 35 of the IGIS Act and section 46 of the Public Governance,
Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act).
It was tabled out of session in the Senate on 19 October 2018.
The Inspector-General, the Hon Margaret Stone, opened her review of the
2017–18 period with a recognition of the importance of a strong
accountability entity to maintain oversight over Australia's security and
intelligence agencies which hold 'significant human and technical capabilities
and some extraordinary legal powers and immunities'.
Key elements of the IGIS's core work discussed by the Inspector-General
included: two inquiries commenced during the previous reporting period which
were finalised, in addition to two more initiated during 2017–18; development
of an inspection program to target high risk areas with a focus on in-depth
investigations; inspections of ASIO's activities; oversight of agencies
governed by the Intelligence Services Act 2001; responding to complaints
from the public or from members of the intelligence agencies; developing links
with international counterparts, including those within the Five-Eyes
community; and additional oversight responsibilities of four agencies within
the Home Affairs Portfolio as a result of the 2017 Independent
The Inspector-General also made note of the support IGIS received from
all agencies, which were reported to have engaged with the agency regularly on
matters such as briefing requests, self-reporting compliance breaches, and
prospectively briefing IGIS regarding proposed operations.
Annual performance information for the IGIS was generally well-presented
and provided a 'clear read' when cross-checked with the Portfolio Budget
Statement (PBS) and Corporate Plan. The presentation of performance criteria
results closely matched the format recommended by the Department of Finance in Resource
Management Guide No. 135,
clearly listing each criterion with its source, and providing detailed
discussion of how it was or was not achieved.
The IGIS achieved most of its performance criteria set for 2017–18.
It worked to the performance criteria of both the PBS and Corporate Plan,
reporting on these performance criteria in the annual report.
The IGIS provides an exemplary model of performance reporting, providing
a high level of detail under each Activity and performance indicator. It
details the investigations and inspections conducted by IGIS and the outcomes
of the work conducted. It also details information about responses to public
interest disclosures, advice provided to parliamentary committees and others,
and engagement with intelligence agencies and the public.
Of the performance criteria set for 2017–18 in the PBS and Corporate
Plan, the IGIS failed to achieve two targets:
For the performance criteria range of inspection work
undertaken in Activity 2: Inspections, the relevant KPI is: inspection
of at least 75 per cent of each agency's activity categories. The categories
are determined by the Inspector-General and are based on the underlying
functions of the agency laid down in the relevant legislation. While the IGIS
successfully inspected five agencies to the required standard, its examination
of the Office of National Assessments (ONA) did not meet the required target.
The annual report explains that the target was missed due to staffing
constraints, also noting that the IGIS considers ONA's activities as an
assessment agency are less likely to intrude upon the personal affairs of
Australians than those of the other intelligence agencies which were thus given
For the performance criteria timeliness of complaint
resolution in Activity 3: Responding to Complaints, the relevant KPI
is: 90 per cent of complaints acknowledged within five business days and 85 per
cent of visa-related complaints resolved within two weeks. The IGIS did not
meet its KPIs in relation to visa-related complaints, resolving 82 per cent of
complaints within two weeks.
The IGIS notes that the number of visa-related complaints has more than doubled
since the 2015–16 reporting period.
It further reported that it received an increased number of complaints in
relation to citizenship applications, rising from five per cent of all
visa-related complaints in
2016–17 to 37 per cent in 2017–18. The IGIS stated that it would investigate
the reason behind the sharp increase in complaints in the 2018–19 reporting
The committee notes that the results for a number of the performance
indicators set for the IGIS are indicative of factors external of the agency's
control. For example, the IGIS's KPI in relation to timeliness of complaint
resolution in reference to visa-related complaints was impacted by the high
number of complaints received by the IGIS, which had risen significantly in the
previous three years. The committee also notes with approval, the IGIS's
commitment to identifying the reason for the increase in complaints during the
2018–19 reporting period.
Notwithstanding the missed KPIs identified, the committee commends the IGIS
for its excellent reporting and its otherwise strong results.
The IGIS operated within its available resources in 2017–18, and reported
a surplus of $3.664 million.
Funds in the reporting period were increased significantly as a result of
additional departmental funding provided in the Portfolio Additional Estimates
Statements (PAES). This extra funding totalled $3.662 million, provided in
order to implement the recommendations of the 2017 Independent Intelligence
Review which included an expansion of the office and a change in the IGIS's
Expenses for the IGIS were higher than expected as a result of
increasing staffing levels associated with the additional funding.
Net equity increased significantly from $3.161 million in 2016–17 to
$18.406 million in 2017–18.
The IGIS reported that as at 30 June 2018 it had 23 ongoing
Australian Public Service (APS) employees, five of which worked part-time. The
report stated that no employees identified as indigenous. The IGIS provided
details regarding its gender balance, which showed that the agency was
predominantly staffed by female employees at the OIGIS Broadband 2 (APS4–6) and
OIGIS Broadband 3 (EL1) levels, but that men and women were equally represented
at the OIGIS Broadband 4 level and positions at higher levels than that
were held by men.
The committee acknowledges the IGIS's efforts in providing a well-presented
and accessible report. In particular, the IGIS's provision of highly detailed
information in relation to its operations was exemplary among other agencies'
annual reports, and set a high standard for others to follow.
The committee finds the annual report of the IGIS to be 'apparently
Australian Law Reform Commission
The Australian Law Reform Commission (the ALRC) is an independent
statutory agency established under the Australian Law Reform Commission
Act 1996 (ALRC Act). Its role, in accordance with the ALRC Act
and the terms of reference provided by the Attorney-General for each inquiry,
is to review Commonwealth laws and make recommendations for reform.
The ALRC annual report for 2017–18 was prepared under Division 6, section 46
of the PGPA Act, and includes reporting under the Freedom of Information Act
1982. The report was tabled out of session in the Senate on 19 October 2018.
The President of the ALRC, Justice Sarah Derrington, began the review by
acknowledging her predecessor Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher AM and the
work of the ALRC's other Commissioners.
Justice Derrington also noted that the reporting year had brought
significant change to the ALRC as a result of its move to a shared services
model under which some of the ALRC's corporate and financial management will be
provided by the Attorney-General's Department (AGD). Justice Derrington stated
that while a number of these functions would be provided by the AGD, 'the
leadership of the Commission by a statutorily appointed President and
Commissioners will ensure the independence, rigour and integrity of the ALRC's
reports is maintained and strengthened'.
Justice Derrington provided an overview of the work planned for the year
ahead, including completing the ALRC's review into class actions and
third-party litigation funders and also its review of the family law system.
Annual performance information for the ALRC provided a 'clear read' in
the overview section when cross-checked with the PBS and Corporate Plan. The
presentation of performance criteria results closely matched the format
recommended by the Department of Finance in Resource Management Guide No.
The ALRC's annual performance statement also provided an overview of how
it measures its performance, including: implementation rates of its
recommendations; the number of citations of ALRC reports; visitor numbers to
the website; the number of submissions provided to the ALRC's inquiries;
presentations and speaking engagements; and media mentions.
These Performance Criteria are sourced from the Corporate Plan and the PBS.
During the reporting period, the ALRC achieved the following major
outcomes: three inquiries conducted; 216 stakeholder consultations held;
611 submissions received; one Final Report, one Issues Paper and two
Discussion Papers produced; and presentations given at 28 conferences and
The ALRC met each of its performance criteria targets during the 2017–18
The performance statement provided a detailed explanation for how each
performance criteria was met for the period.
The ALRC performed exceptionally well in the following KPIs:
Citations or references: of a target of 50 citations or
references, the ALRC achieved 138 citations or references to its reports,
including at least 39 mentions of ALRC reports in the judgments of
Australian courts and tribunals (including one citation in the High Court of
Australia and 11 citations by the Federal Court of Australia) and 26
references to ALRC reports and recommendations during Parliamentary
Visitors to the ALRC website: of a target of in excess of 250,000
visits, the ALRC achieved a total of 1,184,073 visits to the ALRC website
during the reporting period.
In comparison to the 2016–17 reporting period, these results represented a
three per cent increase in visits to the website, a four per cent increase in
page views, and a two per cent increase in the number of unique visitors
accessing the website. The ALRC also provided information in relation to the
top five reports accessed by PDF downloads, including: Recognition of
Aboriginal Customary Laws (ALRC Report 31), published on 12 June 1986;
Essentially Yours: The Protection of Human Genetic Information in Australia
(ALRC Report 96), published on 30 May 2003; and Grey Areas – Age Barriers to
Work in Commonwealth Laws (DP 78), published on 2 October 2012.
Submissions received: of a target of 150 submissions received to
inquiries, the ALRC received a total of 611 submissions to its inquiries.
In its performance review, the ALRC explained that while this measure is used
to indicate the level of public engagement with the agency's work and the
extent to which the consultation papers have stimulated debate, the number of
submissions received to an inquiry is highly dependent on the nature and topic
of the inquiry.
The ALRC noted that the Review of the Family Law System had generated
particular interest, receiving nearly 500 formal submissions in addition to
over 900 contributions to the ALRC's confidential 'Tell us your story' portal.
The committee commends the ALRC on meeting all its targets.
The ALRC reported an operating deficit of $0.722 million for the
The agency's operating revenue was reported as $2.740 million, comprising of
revenue from government ($2.701 million), revenue from sales of goods such as
publications ($0.004 million) and other revenue such as audit remuneration
($0.0035 million). Total operating expenses were reported as $3.511
million, which was $0.760 million more than the previous reporting period in
2016–17. This was determined to be as a result of the ALRC working on three
major inquiries, as opposed to two in the previous reporting period.
The ALRC's depreciation and amortisation expense decreased by
$0.023 million. In addition, the ALRC's total assets increased by
$0.103 million, and total liabilities also increased by $0.859 million.
The committee considers the annual report of the ALRC to be 'apparently
Senator the Hon Ian
Navigation: Previous Page | Contents | Next Page