Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Intelligence Services Bill 2001

Part 1 Procedure

   

1   Committee must not require certain information to be disclosed

                   The Committee must not require a person or body to disclose to the Committee operationally sensitive information or information that would or might prejudice Australia’s national security or the conduct of Australia’s foreign relations.

2   Power to obtain information and documents

             (1)  The Chair or another member authorised by the Committee may give a person written notice requiring the person to appear before the Committee to give evidence or to produce documents to the Committee.

             (2)  The notice must specify the day on which, and the time and place at which, the person is required to appear or to produce documents. The day must not be less than 5 days after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

             (3)  The notice must also specify the nature of the evidence or documents to be provided to the Committee, and in the case of documents, the form in which they are to be provided.

             (4)  A requirement under this clause must not be made of:

                     (a)  an agency head; or

                     (b)  a staff member or agent of an agency; or

                     (c)  the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security; or

                     (d)  a member of the staff of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

             (5)  A requirement under this clause may only be made of a person if the Committee has reasonable grounds for believing that the person is capable of giving evidence or producing documents relevant to a matter that the Committee is reviewing or that has been referred to the Committee.

             (7)  The Commonwealth must pay a person who has been given a notice requiring the person to appear before the Committee such allowances for the person’s travelling and other expenses as are prescribed.

3   Provision of information to Committee by ASIO, ASIS and DSD

             (1)  The Chair or another member authorised by the Committee may give a written notice to an agency head requiring him or her to appear before the Committee to give evidence or to produce documents to the Committee.

             (2)  The notice must specify the day on which, and the time and place at which, the agency head is required to appear or to produce documents. The day must not be less than 5 days after the day on which the notice is given to the agency head.

             (3)  The notice must also specify the nature of the evidence or documents to be provided to the Committee, and in the case of documents, the form in which they are to be provided.

             (4)  A requirement under this clause may only be made of the agency head if the Committee has reasonable grounds for believing that the agency head is capable of giving evidence or producing documents relevant to a matter that has been referred to the Committee.

             (5)  The evidence is to be given by:

                     (a)  if the agency head nominates a staff member to give the evidence—the staff member or both the staff member and the agency head; or

                     (b)  in any other case—the agency head.

4   Certificates by Minister

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a person is about to give or is giving evidence to the Committee or is about to produce a document to the Committee (whether or not required to do so under clause 2 or 3); and

                     (b)  a Minister responsible for an agency is of the opinion that, to prevent the disclosure of operationally sensitive information:

                              (i)  the person (not being an agency head) should not give evidence before the Committee; or

                             (ii)  the person should not give evidence before the Committee relating to a particular matter; or

                            (iii)  in a case where a person has commenced to give evidence before the Committee:

                                        (A)  the person should not continue to give evidence before the Committee; or

                                        (B)  the person should not give, or continue to give, evidence relating to a particular matter before the Committee; or

                            (iv)  the person should not produce documents to the Committee; or

                             (v)  the person should not produce documents of a particular kind to the Committee;

the Minister may give to the presiding member of the Committee a certificate in relation to the matter stating the Minister’s opinion.

             (2)  The Minister’s certificate must also specify:

                     (a)  in a case to which subparagraph (1)(b)(ii) or (v) applies—the matter in relation to which the Minister is satisfied that the person should not give, or continue to give, evidence, or specifying the kind of documents that the Minister is satisfied the person should not produce, as the case requires; and

                     (b)  in a case to which sub-subparagraph (1)(b)(iii)(B) applies—the matter in relation to which the Minister is satisfied that the person should not give, or continue to give, evidence.

             (3)  The Minister must give a copy of a certificate under subclause (1) to the President of the Senate, to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and to the person required to give evidence or produce documents.

             (4)  A decision of the Minister under subclause (1) must not be questioned in any court or tribunal.

             (5)  Where the Minister gives a certificate under subclause (1) in relation to a person:

                     (a)  if the certificate states that the person should not give, or continue to give, evidence before the Committee—the Committee must not receive, or continue to receive, as the case may be, evidence from the person; or

                     (b)  if the certificate states that the person should not give, or continue to give, evidence before the Committee relating to a particular matter—the Committee must not receive, or continue to receive, as the case may be, evidence from the person relating to that matter; or

                     (c)  if the certificate states that the person should not produce documents, or documents of a particular kind, to the Committee—the Committee must not receive documents, or documents of that kind, as the case may be, from the person.

5   Evidence

             (1)  The Committee may take evidence on oath or affirmation.

             (2)  The member presiding may administer an oath or affirmation to a witness appearing before the Committee.

             (3)  The oath or affirmation is an oath or affirmation that the evidence the person will give will be true.

             (4)  To avoid doubt, the Committee is not to be taken to be an Australian court for the purposes of the Evidence Act 1995 .

6   Publication of evidence or contents of documents

             (1)  Subject to this clause, the Committee may disclose or publish, or authorise the disclosure or publication of:

                     (a)  any evidence taken by the Committee; or

                     (b)  the contents of any document produced to the Committee.

             (2)  If the evidence is taken, or the document is produced, in a review conducted in private, the Committee must not disclose or publish, or authorise the disclosure or publication of the evidence or the contents of the document without the written authority of:

                     (a)  if the person who gave the evidence or produced the document is a staff member of an agency—the agency head; or

                     (b)  in any other case—the person who gave the evidence or produced the document.

             (3)  Subclause (2) does not apply:

                     (a)  if the evidence, or the contents of the document, have already been lawfully disclosed or published; or

                     (b)  in relation to a matter of which the Committee has become aware otherwise than because of the giving of any evidence before, or the production of any document to, the Committee.

             (4)  The Committee must not disclose or publish, or authorise the disclosure or publication of, the evidence, or the contents of the document, if the disclosure or publication would disclose a matter that the Committee is not, under clause 7, permitted to disclose in a report to a House of the Parliament.

             (5)  The Committee may obtain the advice of the responsible Minister or responsible Ministers concerned as to whether the disclosure or publication might disclose a matter of that kind.

             (6)  This clause has effect despite section 2 of the Parliamentary Papers Act 1908 .

             (7)  If the evidence, or the contents of the document, are disclosed or published under this clause, section 4 of the Parliamentary Papers Act 1908 applies to the disclosure or publication as if it were a publication under an authority given under section 2 of that Act.

7   Restrictions on disclosure to Parliament

             (1)  The Committee must not disclose in a report to a House of the Parliament:

                     (a)  the identity of a person who is or has been a staff member of ASIO or ASIS or an agent of ASIO, ASIS or DSD; or

                     (b)  any information from which the identity of such a person could reasonably be inferred; or

                     (c)  operationally sensitive information or information that would or might prejudice:

                              (i)  Australia’s national security or the conduct of Australia’s foreign relations; or

                             (ii)  the performance by an agency of its functions.

             (2)  An agency head may determine that paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) do not apply to the identification of specified staff members or agents of his or her agency, and the determination has effect accordingly.

             (3)  The Committee must obtain the advice of the responsible Minister or responsible Ministers concerned as to whether the disclosure of any part of the report would or might disclose a matter referred to in subclause (1).

             (4)  The Committee must not present a report of the Committee to a House of the Parliament if a responsible Minister concerned has advised that the report or a part of the report would or might disclose such a matter.

8   Continuance of evidence

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  any evidence or document about a matter has been taken by or produced to the Committee as constituted at a time; and

                     (b)  the Committee as so constituted has ceased to exist before reporting on the matter;

the Committee as constituted at a later time, whether during the same or another Parliament, may consider the evidence or document as if the evidence or document had been taken by or produced to it.

             (2)  Clause 9 applies to each member of the later Committee as if the evidence or document had been taken or produced to that Committee.