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Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Page: 2391


Mr FRYDENBERG ( Kooyong Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister ) ( 11:07 ): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to repeal the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010and to abolish the Office of the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor.

This is part of the government's strong commitment to reduce bureaucracy and streamline government. The government is working to remove, as far as possible, duplication of responsibilities across Commonwealth agencies and between different levels of government.

The government remains firmly in support of independent oversight of counter-terrorism and national security legislation, however, multiple independent oversight mechanisms already exist which perform this role. These include the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, the joint parliamentary committees on law enforcement and intelligence and security, and the parliament itself. The executive also has powers to appoint ad hoc reviews.

The position of the monitor was created in 2010 and Mr Bret Walker SC was appointed the first monitor on 21 April 2011. He has published three annual reports, which were tabled in parliament on 19 March 2012, 14 May 2013, and 12 December 2013, and is proposing to publish another report before his term expires on 20 April 2014.

Together these four reports are expected to cover the extensive list of key issues in Australian national security laws that the monitor indicated in his first annual report would be considered and reviewed during his term. The end of the monitor's term brings to an end this thorough review and the government would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Bret Walker SC for his service.

The government considers the best way forward is to work through the large number of recommendations made by the monitor and to continue engaging with the extensive range of existing independent oversight bodies.

The Attorney-General's Department leads the development of the government's response and ensures a coordinated response to overlapping recommendations of the COAG Review of Counter-Terrorism Legislation.

A number of counter-terrorism provisions will sunset in 2015 and 2016, which will also provide further opportunities for review of the relevant provisions.

Together, there has been, and will remain, a comprehensive body of independent reviews of the government's counter-terrorism and national security legislation.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.