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Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 7259


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister for Arts and Attorney-General) (21:18): I move:

That this bill be now read a third time.

Might I take the opportunityof making some brief third reading remarks to thank those who have contributed to the outcome that the Senate has accomplished this evening. This is the most important reform of the powers of our national security agency since the 1979 ASIO Act based on the report of Justice Hope was enacted by this parliament. As I said in my second reading remarks, what we have achieved tonight is to ensure that those who protect us, particularly in a newly dangerous age, have the strong powers and capabilities they need but we have also achieved the outcome that those strong powers are protected and balanced by strong safeguards.

This has been a work of admirable bipartisanship, and I want to pay particular tribute to Mr Anthony Byrne, who chaired the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security throughout the 43rd Parliament and who crafted the report on which this legislation at least in part was based. I should also acknowledge Mr Dan Tehan who chairs the committee today who made a number of other recommendations which, as I have said, the government has adopted.

I want to thank those officers of the Attorney-General's Department and of ASIO who have worked so hard on this legislation, in particular Annette Willing, Christina Raymond and Jamie Lowe from the Attorney-General's Department; along with the officers of ASIO, DFAT, Defence and the Office of National Assessments for their contribution; and my own adviser Justin Bassi, who has engaged with so many senators in answering or seeking to address their concerns.

It was on the Sunday before last that David Irvine retired as the 12th Director-General of Security. This legislation was largely inspired and driven by him. David Irvine was a great Director-General of Security. I feel a little sorry for him, because the two great legacies that he left the organisation—the new building which he never had the opportunity to occupy as Director-General and this legislation which did not quite pass on his watch—will nevertheless stand as testaments to him. This legislation and the greater safety to our people, which it will enable, are very much David Irvine's legacy.