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Monday, 26 February 2018
Page: 1842


Mr HASTIE (Canning) (15:13): On behalf of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, I present the committee's report entitled Advisory report on the Home Affairs and Integrity Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2017.

Report made a parliamentary paper in accordance with standing order 39(e).

Mr HASTIE: I ask leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with the report.

Mr Burke: Leave is granted. And I should state that the committee I referred to earlier in my question to the Speaker does not draw a monetary allowance. So I should advise the House of that immediately.

The SPEAKER: I thank the Manager of Opposition Business for that correction.

Mr HASTIE: I am pleased to present the committee's advisory report on the Home Affairs and Integrity Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2017.

This bill is one component of the establishment of the Home Affairs portfolio that commenced on 20 December 2017. Substantive changes to government have already been implemented to date through amendments to the administrative arrangements order and a substituted references order. This bill addresses several specific matters that could not be dealt with administratively.

The bill will amend four existing acts: the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor Act 2010, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1986 and, finally, the Intelligence Services Act 2001. The amendments proposed in the bill are intended to give to the allocation of ministerial powers, including a heightened and strengthened role for the Attorney-General as announced by the Prime Minister in July 2017.

The committee has made four recommendations in its report. Firstly, upon considering evidence from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security the committee has recommended that the bill be amended so that only the Prime Minister has the power to direct the inspector-general to undertake an inquiry under section 9 of the IGIS Act. In making this recommendation, the committee has supported changes that will allow the Attorney-General to request the inspector-general to undertake such an inquiry. The committee has also supported amendments that provide for the inspector-general's reports to be provided to the Attorney-General.

Secondly, to more clearly reflect the government's intent concerning a strengthened oversight role for the Attorney-General, the committee has recommended that the bill be amended to replace references to the minister in the INSLM and IGIS acts to the Attorney-General where such references refer to the minister administering the act. The committee considered that explicit reference to the Attorney-General on the face of the legislation assists in providing public assurance about the government's intentions.

The committee noted that, in addition to the four acts addressed in this bill, 33 other acts will be amended to implement the Home Affairs portfolio. The committee was informed that drafting of these legislative amendments is well advanced, and considered the amendments should be brought forward as soon as possible. In particular, the committee has recommended that amendments to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act and the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Act to facilitate the Attorney-General's ongoing role be introduced to the parliament prior to the conclusion of debate on this bill.

Finally, the committee has recommended that, subject to implementation of these recommendations, the bill be passed. I commend the report to the House.