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Thursday, 4 July 2019
Page: 295

Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Home Affairs) (11:03): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Australian government is committed to ensuring the safety and protection of the Australian community. Law enforcement and security agencies must have access to the tools and capabilities that they need to manage the ever-evolving terrorist threat.

To this end, this bill ensures that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) retains its strong counterterrorism capabilities while the government progresses more detailed reforms to ASIO's questioning and detention powers, following reviews of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) and the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor (INSLM).

The bill will extend the sunset date of the ASIO's questioning and detention powers in division 3 of part III of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 for 12 months until 7 September 2020.

This will enable the government adequate time to progress legislative reforms to ASIO's questioning and detention framework in light of the PJCIS and INSLM reviews, while ensuring that ASIO will continue to have access to these important tools in its efforts to gather critical intelligence to enhance Australia's counterterrorism efforts.

Importantly, the extended regime will continue to be subject to the extensive safeguards and oversight mechanisms that are appropriate.

Concluding remarks

By way of conclusion, I would note that this bill ensures security agencies continue to have the capabilities to deal with the changing national security and threat environment while also protecting individual rights, including through transparency and oversight measures.

The PJCIS and INSLM have comprehensively examined ASIO's compulsory questioning and detention powers and I acknowledge and appreciate the extensive and continuing work of the PJCIS and INSLM.

I also appreciate the ongoing partnership with states and territories in our joint effort to keep the Australian community safe.

To this end, this government is unwavering in its commitment to ensuring Australia's counterterrorism and national security framework continues to be as robust and responsive as possible.

Debate adjourned.