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Thursday, 14 February 2019
Page: 10304

Senator MOLAN (New South Wales) (16:21): On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, I present two reports of the committee as listed at item 14 on today's Order of Business. I move:

That the Senate take note of the reports.

I seek leave to have my tabling statement incorporated into Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows—


Advisory report on the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Bill 2018

Review of Administration and Expenditure No. 16 (2016-2017)—Australian Intelligence Agencies

14 February 2019

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Police Powers at Airports) Bill 2018 seeks to ensure that the aviation network is safe and secure for all Australians, and addresses advice from the Australian Federal Police that the current powers available to police to check evidence of identity at airports are no longer 'fit for purpose'.

Consequently, the Bill makes several amendments to the Crimes Act to provide additional powers for police at airports. These proposed powers include

empowering constables and AFP Protective Service Officers to direct individuals to 'move-on' from an airport,

enabling officers to direct an individual not take a flight to or from a major airport for a specific period of up to 24 hours, and

providing police with new grounds to issue a direction, based on safeguarding 'aviation security'.

During its review of the Bill, the Committee examined whether the new powers were proportional to the threat posed to aviation security, and considered whether oversight and accountability mechanisms were sufficient and appropriate.

The Committee received seven submissions to its inquiry and four supplementary submissions. It held a public hearing on 17 October 2018 in Canberra.

The Committee made nine recommendations in relation to the Bill.

The first recommends a change to the definition of 'aviation security' to specify the scope of activities to which the term applies.

The second introduces a savings provision to ensure the new laws do not interfere with the right to peaceful protest or assembly.

The third introduces annual reporting obligations on the Australian Federal Police to inform the public on how often the powers are used.

The fourth provides for expedited judicial review in certain restricted circumstances.

The fifth recommends that the term 'senior police officer' be defined in the Bill.

The sixth introduces further additional annual reporting obligations on the Australian Federal Police on the use of the powers.

The seventh requires police officers to ensure that all authorisations given orally are documented in writing as soon as practicable.

The eighth recommendation is to ensure that obligations for police to provide information, if requested, apply equally to uniformed and plain clothes officers.

The ninth and final recommendation is that subject to implementation of these recommendations, the Bill be passed.

The second report I have tabled today fulfils the Committee's statutory oversight responsibility to review the administration and expenditure of the six Australian intelligence agencies, including

the Australian Security-Intelligence Organisation (ASIO),

the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS),

the Office of National Assessments (ONA), and

the three Defence Intelligence Agencies.

Through its review, the Committee received comprehensive submissions and conducted private hearings with each of the agencies. The Committee also took evidence from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

The Committee is satisfied that agencies are overseeing their administrative functions effectively.

Agencies have continued to respond to the changing security environment, and with the support of funding have invested in a range of new programs and capital projects to enhance their future capacity.

The Committee carefully scrutinised each agency's financial management arrangements, including their internal controls.

On the basis of the evidence provided, the Committee was satisfied that agencies appropriately managed their expenditure in 2016-17.

While this review relates to the 2016-17 financial year, the report recognises that the intelligence community is currently undergoing a period of significant change.

This change has been largely driven by the recommendations of the 2017 Independent Intelligence Review, conducted by Mr Michael L'Estrange and Mr Stephen Merchant, as well as the machinery of government changes following the creation of the Department of Home Affairs.

As the report notes, these changes will also affect the role of the PJCIS and that of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

The Committee took the opportunity during its private hearings to discuss some of the implications of these changes with the Inspector-General and affected agencies.

The Committee considered it essential that as these changes occur within the intelligence community, a corresponding and effective level of oversight be maintained.

The Committee therefore welcomed the increased funding for the office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

Noting the legislative and machinery of government reforms that have already occurred, the Committee considered that amendments to expand the Inspector-General's remit, and other oversight mechanisms, should be brought forward without delay.

The Committee looks forward to continuing to engage closely with the intelligence agencies as the administrative arrangements within which they operate are revised.

I commend both reports to the Senate.

Senator MOLAN: I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.