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Wednesday, 9 May 1984
Page: 1853


Senator MISSEN(5.35) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the papers.

I realise that there is very little time to discuss this matter at this stage, but I want to draw attention to the fact that this is the first occasion on which the annual report of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation has been tabled in Parliament. It has been done in accordance with the Government's decision. It must be noted that the report is a rather slim volume. Information relating to sensitive intelligence matters has been excluded so that the report can be made public. It is an interesting report. It lacks a great deal of detailed information but there are a number of interesting factors that are worth observing and certainly worth debating in this chamber.

The report gives figures of the number of telephone interceptions which have occurred each year. It is interesting that over the last 10 years there was an average of 85.6 telephone interceptions a year. This compares with the average for the previous 10 years of 90.9. there appears to be very little change in that area over the years. The report also has interesting statistics and details in respect of security assessments and the way in which we can assess the extent to which this system is working under the Act. A considerable amount of assessment work takes place. If one looks at the report, one will see that it runs to substantial figures. In the last financial year security assessments amounted to 20,075 cases. Immigration checking is also a very substantial part of ASIO's work and amounted to 39,200 cases. Though it is not possible to determine the results, there have been a considerable number of appeals to the new Security Appeals Tribunal, which I think is operating successfully. At this stage it is not possible to tell the results of the appeals. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.