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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 7713


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I present a response to a recommendation, which relates to the responsibilities of the Presiding Officers, of the report of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on annual report of committee activities 2007-08.

With the concurrence of the Senate, I ask that the response be incorporated in Hansard.

The response read as follows—

Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security: Annual report of committee activities 2007-08

Response by Presiding Officers The report contains the following recommendation:

The Committee recommends to the Presiding Officers the need for additional staff to have security clearances.

Response

The Presiding Officers are aware of the need for staff of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security to have appropriate security clearances as stipulated in the Intelligence Services Act.

Due to staff movements at the commencement of the 42nd Parliament, for a period of several months the staff dedicated to the committee included only one suitably cleared staff member. Clearances for other staff were completed by August 2008. Currently there are six employees of the Department of the House of Representatives which supports the committee with the required level of clearance and one in the process of upgrading an existing clearance to the required level. All staff dedicated to this committee currently have the required security clearances.

It is considered that this is sufficient to support the foreseeable needs of the committee and reasonable contingencies. The Clerk of the House advises that the situation will he monitored and, if necessary, action taken to ensure the work of the committee is not inhibited. In particular, steps will be taken to ensure that staff to serve the committee in the next Parliament are identified as early as practicable and any necessary security clearance processes arc commenced at the earliest practicable date.