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Tuesday, 8 May 2018
Page: 3306


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs and Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) (17:16): I thank all of the members for their contribution to the debate on the Home Affairs and Integrity Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2017. As the Prime Minister announced in July 2017, the establishment of the Home Affairs portfolio is part of the most significant reforms to Australia's national intelligence and domestic security arrangements in many decades—in fact, since the Hope royal commissions of the 1970s and 1980s.

The Prime Minister introduced this bill into the House in December 2017 and immediately referred it to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. The portfolio itself was stood up later in December with the creation of the Department of Home Affairs and the transfer of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the Australian Federal Police and AUSTRAC into the portfolio. This new arrangement enhances the government's ability to respond to emerging threats—including terrorism, organised crime and foreign interference—through comprehensive policy development, consolidated and better integrated strategic coordination and the targeted allocation of resources to ensure a safer, more secure Australia. It is a direct response to the evolving and dynamic security environment we face.

This bill implements two key elements of the reforms relating to the Home Affairs portfolio—namely, it facilitates the transfer of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation into the portfolio and enhances the integrity and oversight role of the Attorney-General in relation to our security and intelligence agencies. The bill clarifies the role of the Attorney-General in relation to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, which will transfer to the Attorney-General's portfolio, subject to the agreement of the Governor-General.

I intend to introduce amendments to the bill which will reflect recommendations made by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in its two reports tabled on 26 February and 28 March this year. These amendments include measures to implement the three recommendations in the committee's first report as well as introduce further amendments proposed by the government which the committee scrutinised in its second report.

On behalf of the Prime Minister, who referred the bill for inquiry, I again thank the committee for its comprehensive, timely and bipartisan efforts in scrutinising this bill and the further amendments proposed by the government. Together with the amendments that I intend to move shortly, the bill ensures that the ministerial and departmental functions and powers effected by the change in national security arrangements to establish the new Home Affairs portfolio and strengthen the Attorney-General's oversight role are clear on the face of the Commonwealth statute book. This strengthened bill will enhance the government's ability to respond to emerging threats through the integration of national security functions and reinforce the integrity of our national security systems, and I commend the bill to the House.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Vasta ): The question is that this bill be now read a second time.

A division having been called and the bells having been rung—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: As there are fewer than five members on the side for the noes in this division, I declare the question resolved in the affirmative in accordance with standing order 127. The names of those members who are in the minority will be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings.

Question agreed to, Mr Bandt and Mr Wilkie voting no.

Bill read a second time.