Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security reviews proposed intelligence reforms

Interested parties are invited to submit their views on the proposed reforms by February 2, 2024

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security reviews proposed intelligence reforms

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has initiated a review of proposed intelligence reforms embodied in the National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures No.3) Bill 2023.

PCJIS has commenced the review at the request of the Minister for Home Affairs. The bill addresses twelve recommendations stemming from the 2020 Comprehensive Review of the Legal Framework of the National Intelligence Community, also known as the Richardson Review. It also seeks to implement additional amendments deemed necessary by the intelligence community.

Among the key amendments proposed by the bill are measures to enhance the protection of the identities of employees of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), and Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). The bill also aims to empower ASIO in communicating information while providing increased safeguards for individuals transmitting specific information.

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Furthermore, the proposed changes include updates to approval processes for certain intelligence activities to enhance operational flexibility and clarify provisions related to the authorisation of such activities. The new legislation will also require the ASIO to notify the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security when certain security assessments, security clearance decisions, and security clearance suitability assessments have not been made or furnished within 12 months.

The bill specifies that only the Attorney-General, and not junior ministers, can exercise certain powers relating to ASIO and telecommunications.

Peter Khalil MP, Chair of the PJCIS, emphasised the importance of receiving input from stakeholders, stating, “The Committee looks forward to receiving the views of interested parties on the reforms proposed by the bill, which aim to further refine and enhance the legal framework governing Australia’s intelligence agencies.”

PJCIS has invited interested parties to submit their views on the proposed reforms by Friday, February 2, 2024. Additional information on the inquiry can be found on the Committee’s website.

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